Why choose the UK for your engineering studies?

The UK is a popular destination for studying engineering due to its quality courses and opportunities. According to Engineering UK's 2016 Report "the UK at all levels of education does not have the current capacity or the required rate of growth needed to meet the forecast demand for skilled engineers and technicians by 2022." In short, there is a demand for engineers in the UK which is not currently being met, which means that a degree in engineering from a UK institution should put you in good stead for a wide range of jobs in an ever expanding field. The Engineering Professors' Council tells i-studentglobal why the UK is a great place to study Engineering.

We can't function as a society without engineering. Engineering is behind everything we depend on:

  • roads
  • cars
  • buildings
  • hospital equipment
  • mobile phones
  • laptop computers
  • systems that run buildings and save energy

Studying Engineering in the UK

The first step on the road to joining this profession is, for many, an engineering degree, and an engineering degree gained in the UK is strongly sought-after by employers worldwide. 

Some of these courses last for three years, leading to a bachelor's degree, but many last for four years, leading directly to a master's qualification (MEng). 

This is a particular advantage for graduates wanting to move directly into the engineering profession, since a master's degree is the normal academic requirement around the world for gaining, after relevant on-the-job experience, professional recognition as a Chartered Engineer. An alternative route to becoming a Chartered Engineer is to study for a bachelor's degree and then take a one-year MSc course afterward in a specialised area of engineering e.g. Professional Engineering or Engineering Management. 

You can study any area of engineering, and at the cutting-edge of engineering research, right across the UK. A few courses offer one or more years of general engineering before specialising, but the majority concentrate on one specific engineering discipline from the start. 

There's something for everyone with an interest in engineering. And you will be able to get more information by going to universities' own websites. Editor's note: You can also use UCAS to search for Engineering courses in the UK or compare department rankings in The Guardian's UK University League Tables.

Nearly all UK engineering courses are accredited by the engineering professional bodies to guarantee that they meet national standards – but the way in which engineering is taught and courses are delivered varies from one university to another; some may focus more on problem-based learning, others on more traditional teaching methods. Again, you should look closely at how courses are structured and taught, so you can apply for the type of course that best suits you.

Many international students are interested in the chance given by many universities to spend a period of study, up to a year, on an exchange program elsewhere in continental Europe, with the added advantage of being able to operate in a second European language.

The UK attracts many international students - for the quality of courses, and the opportunity to master the international business language of English in the country of its origin – and this is particularly the case for engineering; nearly a quarter of engineering students come to the UK from outside the EU, and UK universities work to ensure that overseas students are made to feel welcome, and are helped to make the most of their time in the UK. 

Top-quality engineering faculty are also drawn to research and teach in the UK from all over the world, adding to the international dimension of the British university environment.

And engineering is not just a man’s world. As a female Professor of Engineering, I see engineering as a wonderful career for women to go into as much as for men, with good earning power and potential for progression, while in addition being intensely creative and people-orientated.

Editor's note (September 2016): The current president of the EPC and the incoming President (April 2017) are both women too, so the future is definitely bright for female engineers. 

Professor Helen Atkinson
Former President
Engineering Professors' Council