UK engineering degree - is it the most coveted?
A degree in the discipline of engineering can open up a world of opportunities. And, if that degree is secured from a top-notch higher education provider such as the UK, then sky is your limit. Keeping pace with the latest in the field, engineering students from the UK universities not only have a global edge, they are also quite popular with the international recruiters.
The high teaching standards, excellent infrastructure, strong focus on research and dissemination of industry-relevant knowledge make engineering courses from the UK an attractive option. Students from across the globe apply to the UK engineering colleges in thousands at both the undergraduate as well as graduate and research level.
A good grade in Mathematics, Physics and/or Chemistry is a must for those seeking admissions to the undergraduate courses. Barry Sullivan, International Development Manager, Cardiff School of Engineering, advises students to “have a solid academic background in Mathematics and be prepared to work hard to earn a good degree.”
Students applying to the UK immediately after completing class 12 should apply through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) which is the central body for processing applications for entry into higher education. Here, you will have the option of applying to six universities. An undergraduate degree in engineering is of four-year duration, while a Master’s degree takes just one year. In any case, you have to prove your proficiency in the English language and a good score of English language competency tests such as TOEFL or IELTS is necessary.
Do your research well
Before applying, students are advised to do their research regarding the overall reputation of the university, its ranking, location, facilities available and the courses it offers. Most of the universities have an international office dedicated to providing information to overseas students and an email to them should give you most of the necessary admission information in your inbox. It is best to visit the university’s website to figure out more about admission criteria, eligibility and deadlines as it may vary with each course.
UK universities also provide generous scholarships and you can find out more about them by consulting the British Council. However, it must all be done three to six months in advance to avoid any last-minute panic.
The UK universities offer specialisations in a wide range of fields from Aeronautics, Bioengineering, Civil and Environment Engineering to Mechanical, Electrical and so on.
Professor Alan Murray, Head of the School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh, says: “Engineering has always has been at the forefront of many global challenges. Here in Edinburgh, we offer both research-driven Master’s degrees in renewables, carbon capture, bioelectronics and fire safety and more general Master’s in Electronics and Signal Processing. They are all taught by world leaders in their fields.”
What is new
New courses have also been introduced to keep pace with the changing demands of the industry. For instance, Imperial College London launched new Civil Engineering courses to fill the skills gap in the industry. The hot and new programmes at the University of Edinburgh which will be starting from September 2011 include MSc in Sensor Networks offered in partnership with The University of Glasgow, Heriot-Watt University, The University of Strathclyde and the Institute for System Level Integration.
Apart from this, there are some current courses which are already huge in demand by the Indian students coming to the UK.
Naomi Allum, International Officer with responsibility for India, University of Edinburgh, says: “Our University offers a variety of Master’s programmes in engineering which have proven popular with Indian students due to their industrial relevance and excellent career prospects after graduation.” For instance, the Master’s courses highly popular with the Indian students at this university include MSc in Sustainable Energy Systems; MSc in Signal Processing and Communications; MSc in Electronics: Analogue System Design; MSc in Bioelectronics; MSc in Carbon Capture and Storage; MSc in Science and Technology Policy and Management; MSc in Biomechanics and MSc in Structural and Fire Safety Engineering.
One of the major attractions of the UK engineering courses is the close collaboration and connection with the key industry players. Not only is it that most of the universities perceive industry demand and design courses aiming to cater to the emerging market trends, they also have a robust placements system. “We place great importance on our close industrial links and their involvement in the development of our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes - our students leave Cardiff with the latest skills and knowledge in the industry, and as a result are in high demand by employers,” says Sullivan. Industry giants such as Corus/Tata Steel, Halcrow, Rolls Royce, Motorola, Siemens, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Nokia and Bosch are only some of the many employers interested.
The recent fee hike to £9,000 in the UK has created a furore everywhere and many have debated that it may discourage overseas students from choosing UK as their first option.
However, it must also be mentioned that the fee changes happening in the UK relate only to the undergraduate level and not much change will happen to the postgraduate courses. Currently, a Master’s degree in engineering costs a student anywhere from £13,000- £17,000 and even more in some cases, depending on the course and the university they have chosen to study in. This is way more than the proposed £9,000 at the undergraduate level. And, students are happy to pay it for the quality of education they are getting.
Saurabh Sood, who is currently pursuing MSc in Construction Project Management from Loughborough University, says, “UK universities are considered as some of the top universities in the world. Doing a degree from the UK makes people take notice of you and see you in a favourable light.”
Aspirants who wish to pursue an engineering degree from the UK are in for it for the quality of education provided. So whether you intend to have a global career or go back to your home country, an engineering degree from a UK university will surely make the recruiters take notice of you.
*Kanika Tandon is an education journalist currently based in London.
Educational Qualifications: B.Eng (Mechanical Engineering), currently pursuing MSc (Sustainable Energy Systems) from The University of Edinburgh
I chose to do my Master’s from the UK only after careful consideration of the University of Edinburgh’s overall high rankings and a better perception gained by discussions with my friends and relatives about life in the UK. And I must say, it has been an extremely satisfying experience with the university as well as the course. I truly believe that it has been an investment which is worth it. It has not only given me the opportunity to expand my career options, but also provided me with an immensely strong foundation to build my career on.
I believe that anybody who wishes to get admission in a UK university should first do an in depth research about the choice of course, college and the city they wish to study in. I would also suggest that they read through the entire subject list of the course to be sure that this is exactly what they want.
Doing a second degree (Master’s) from the UK has helped me gain maturity and an in depth understanding of my subjects. The exhaustive technical knowledge that you gain by the end of the course is unbeatable! Also, I feel that having done my engineering from a foreign university, not only have I been able to imbibe co-operation, I have also got a better insight into other cultures. I have been better able to adapt to a global mindset and attitude, which is a prized quality when it comes to being hired in a multinational company.
Some of the best universities in the UK for Engineering
Imperial College London
University of Cambridge
University of Oxford
University of Edinburgh
University of Manchester
University of Southampton
University College London (UCL)
University of Glasgow
University of Leeds
University of Cardiff
University of Nottingham
University of Warwick