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What A-levels do you need to become an engineer?

An aspiring engineer? If you’re planning to study engineering at university, whether chemical, mechanical or civil, make sure your A-level line-up ticks admissions tutors’ boxes...

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If you want to study engineering at university, then it’s crucial that you pick the right A-levels. Maths is a must-have subject whatever type of engineering you want to study; but there are certain other essentials or preferred subjects depending on the course you apply to.

The following requirements also apply to degrees in ​​​aeronautical engineeringchemical engineeringcivil engineering and mechanical engineering.


A-level subjects for engineering

What A-levels do I have to have to study engineering?

First and foremost, you must have maths, whatever area of engineering you want to study. 

A science A-level is generally needed too. Some courses ask for chemistry and maths, some ask for physics and maths. Some will ask for all three. 

At the end of the day, always check the entry requirements for your chosen uni course. Search for a course now to see what requirements universities are asking for.


What A-levels are useful to have if I want to study engineering?

Some unis also ask for further maths. Further maths is an AS or A-level which broadens and deepens the maths syllabus. It acts as an add-on to your maths qualification – you can’t take it unless you’re already taking maths.

Design technology might also be helpful, to help further your literacy in design.

What can you study at university with your A-levels? Pop them in our Explorer tool to see...

Watch now: How to choose your A-levels


University entry requirements for engineering

Below are a range of Bachelor of Engineering courses offered by different universities and the A-level entry requirements they ask for for September 2018 entry (as of 22 January 2018).

Use this as a rough guide, but search for courses to see what specific universities look for.

University of Liverpool: 'AAB. Including Mathematics and a second science Applicants not offering A level Physics or A level Further Mathematics as a second science must have one Mechanics unit at Grade B in A level Mathematics. Acceptable second sciences: Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Economics, Electronics, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology Human Biology, Statistics, Further Mathematics and Physics. For applicants from England: Where a science has been taken at A level (Chemistry, Biology or Physics), a pass in the Science practical of each subject will be required.'

University of Warwick: 'A*AA. To include Mathematics and Physics. Offers exclude General Studies and Critical Thinking.'

Heriot-Watt University: 'BBC. Qualifications should include Mathematics and Physics (or Technological Studies).'

What about if I want to do an engineering apprenticeship? What qualifications do I need then?

Apprenticeships are also a valid route into the engineering industry. A higher level apprenticeship will give you the opportunity to learn and be paid – your time will usually be split between being an employee and learning on the job, and going to uni or college to study. There aren’t specific entry requirements to these generally, but having maths or science A-levels will help. 


​A design engineer gives his tips… 

Adam chose to take an engineering apprenticeship after school. He says:

The key is to learn where best to apply what you have learned. For example, when should I be using this form of stress calculation? Or when during the design phase should I organise a team meeting? I think that's a key skill that most people overlook.

Learn more about studying (general) engineering at degree-level, or start browsing engineering courses now.

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