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Mechanical engineering courses

Mechanical engineers design and manufacture a diverse range of products from cars, trains and turbines in power stations through to space rockets, satellites, mobile phones and the components that power medical equipment. Courses involve combining physics, maths and computing to analyse engineering systems and learn the skills to design, make and test the products you have built.

Studying mechanical engineering at university

Example course modules

  • Circuit theory
  • Solid mechanics
  • Thermofluids
  • Mathematics and control
  • Engineering concepts
  • Materials and manufacture
  • Dynamics and control
  • Materials under stress
  • Systems modelling

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

More on studying and contact hours at uni

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 12%
    Male : 88%
  • Mature : 15%
    School leaver : 85%
  • Full-time : 90%
    Part-time : 10%

What students say about mechanical engineering

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Maths

Useful to have

  • Further maths
  • Design technology

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
Graduate employment in this field has been affected by the recession, although things have improved this year. Nevertheless, engineers are in demand across multiple industries, but most stay in engineering, particularly in the oil industry, and in the car industry, in design and manufacturing. Jobs are all around the country, with Scotland and the South East the most likely places for a new mechanical engineer to find work at the moment – starting salaries for mechanical engineers in Scotland are actually higher there than in London, thanks to the oil industry, and only bettered by a handful of courses. Bear in mind that a lot of courses are four years long, and lead to an MEng qualification – this is necessary if you want to become a Chartered Engineer.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Engineering professionals

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Design engineer
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Aeronautical engineer

Other real-life job examples

  • Manager in manufacturing
  • Investment advisor
  • Quality control engineer

What employers like about this subject

A mechanical engineering degree will help you gain specific technical training, knowledge of environmental and safety issues and the ability to plan, prioritise and solve problems under pressure and to deadlines. You can also gain a number of useful transferable skills, like numeracy, problem-solving, team-working and the ability to work with people from a wide range of backgrounds. These skills are in demand from employers in the oil and gas industry, aerospace, car industry, electricity generators and suppliers, technical consultancy, defence and the Armed Forces.