British Council

Each year, thousands of students decide to come to the UK from overseas to study engineering. Careers in engineering include roles such as engineering designer, builder, mechanic and inventor. It's a rewarding and highly innovative sector to work in, and you will need to have strong skills in science and mathematics to solve complex problems. Engineers are in demand right across the world, and graduate employability is high both in the UK and in other countries. Engineering degrees offer transferable skills that can be switched across different industries. A career in engineering is well-paid, and according to Talent.com, a starting salary for a graduate in the UK is around £26,000. An engineering role will also take you to various places across the globe, as engineers are in high demand, and you may be required to travel overseas to various facilities and sites, which makes for an exciting career! But what makes a good engineering course of study? What should you look out for when deciding on a course? This guide should help you decide.    

Innovative research from world-leading engineering professionals (University of Sheffield) 

The University of Sheffield has a passion for coaching and mentoring the next generation of world-leading engineering professionals. If you are thinking of studying engineering at degree-level, finding a course that has strong connections to innovative and industry-led research is very important. The University of Sheffield's teaching programme mixes scientific engineering knowledge with creative thinking and problem-solving skills, to create outstanding engineers of the future. There are plenty of study options at Sheffield across all engineering disciplines, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Courses are led by engineering professionals who are considered outstanding in their field. 

At undergraduate level, you can choose either a three-year (BEng) or four-year (MEng) course, and there are opportunities to study abroad, to spend a year working in industry, or to develop your management and enterprise skills. Sheffield also offers a wide range of one-year taught MSc courses, designed for graduates who want to continue their education.  

Sheffield's PhD and EngD research degrees allow you to get involved in innovative and industrially relevant research in an encouraging and inspiring academic environment. The university is one of the biggest and best providers of engineering research and education in the UK, with over 6,700 students and an annual research income of over £150m. It boasts seven academic departments and three interdisciplinary programme areas, covering all engineering principles. World experts undertake research, and teach their cutting-edge discoveries to their students. This is underpinned by a firm commitment to growth and excellence, delivering the best facilities for students to become the world-class engineers of tomorrow. 

Sheffield has strong partnerships with large companies such as Siemens, Boeing, Rolls-Royce and Airbus, as well as with local enterprises. Engineers work on research problems that matter, and Sheffield is renowned for the excellence, impact and distinctiveness of its research and research-led teaching. 

For instance, the university has recently embarked on a new research project that could help hospitality venues improve their ventilation systems in order to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 over winter. The project is being led by Dr Abigail Hathway from the University’s Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, in collaboration with Dr Chantelle Wood from the Department of Psychology and Sheffield City Council. 

Having academics who are making a difference (Queen Mary University of London) 

Queen Mary University of London is home to world-class engineering academics who are making large strides in research-led progress. As a student, you will learn how engineering theory can be applied to real-life situations, solving present-day problems, while bringing engineering concepts to life. Queen Mary focuses on student learning, laboratory work, case studies, design, building and testing in its engineering courses. 

Queen Mary has a long, proud history of teaching engineering, and has maintained a passion for innovation and discovery. Academics are at the forefront of their field, with research feeding into the curriculum. Throughout its history, the School of Engineering and Materials Science (SEMS) has brought together pioneering minds from the scientific community to make significant impacts and progress. Queen Mary was the first institution in the UK to teach Aeronautical Engineering, and the first to establish a materials department.    

Queen Mary is a hub of ground-breaking, world-changing research. Led by a team of diverse and passionate academics, its rigorous approach to learning and innovative multidisciplinary research has the power to lengthen life spans, improve quality of life and tackle some of the most serious challenges facing our planet. Sustainable energy and mechanical engineers from Queen Mary are currently working with Wave Energy Scotland to improve wave energy efficiency off the UK coastline. Bioengineers are also developing a complex in vitro model of human tumours, and robotics engineers are making progress in the field of soft robotics. 

For instance, Dr Karin Hing’s development of a synthetic bone graft made it into the six stamp set marking innovations in British engineering from the last 50 years. Her team at Queen Mary engineered materials that encouraged bone growth when used in complex orthopaedic surgeries, and have improved the outcomes for hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide. 

Industry engagement and collaboration, University of Dundee 

Engineering students at the University of Dundee are part of a generation that will create and shape the future. Courses at Dundee encourage hands-on learning, working with others and collaboration within the engineering industry, which is important when identifying which course is right for you. You will develop relevant and transferable skills while studying their degrees. Course programmes focus on problem solving, and include practical sessions, group and project work. Innovation and enterprise are at the heart of all Dundee courses. Students will gain industry-relevant skills and use equipment found in the workplace. Graduates become critical, ethical leaders with the ability to apply their scientific knowledge and transform lives. 

In the Complete University Guide 2021, The University of Dundee was ranked No.1 in the UK for Medical Technology, and No. 1 in Scotland for General Engineering. The university has a long history of engaging with various sectors of the engineering industry. From supporting transformative research, to product and business development in engineering, and even developing pioneering laparoscopic surgery (also known as keyhole surgery), both local and national companies have already benefited directly from Dundee's research. Dundee also works with organisations through ad-hoc consultancy and more structured, funded research partnerships. 

The university is one of nine UK research organisations which have embarked on a £26million project to help upgrade the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, on the French/Swiss border near Geneva. Technology developed in Dundee for modelling the surface of planets has also been used in European Space Agency studies, and in development projects. 

The UK offers world-leading courses in various aspects of engineering, and is a great place to embark on a career in the industry. If you love coming up with big ideas that break the mould, solve problems and make a difference to people's lives, a career in engineering is worth a lot of thought. A job in engineering can mean weeks or months travelling abroad, especially if you are an environmental or marine engineer. Other roles, like that of a software engineer, are more desk-based, but could be conducted remotely from anywhere in the world. Even if you take a degree in one aspect of engineering, you may find that you discover other opportunities and niche skills that will lead you to loving the job that you do every day. The first step is to enrol in the right engineering course for your career goals, and we hope that this guide was helpful in pointing out what to look for in an excellent engineering course.   

For more information, you can visit the University of Sheffield, Queen Mary, University of London, and University of Dundee websites. 

University of Sheffield: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ 

Queen Mary, University of London: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/ 

University of Dundee: https://www.dundee.ac.uk/ 


The Univeristy of Sheffield


Queen Mary University London


University of Dundee