Why choose to study mechanical engineering?

Mechanical engineering student

Mechanical engineers design and build solutions to a range of problems, improving efficiency across a wide range of industries. By studying mechanical engineering, you can look forward to good job prospects, high salaries, and varied work.

Benefits of studying mechanical engineering

Transferable skills

Mechanical engineering skills are transferable, meaning they will be useful across a variety of industries and help you to become more employable. A degree in mechanical engineering will give you a range of skills including:

  • problem solving – engineering is about finding better, more efficient ways of doing things
  • teamwork – working in teams means you can share expertise and develop faster and more robust solutions
  • advanced technical skills – specialising in mechanical engineering means you will build a strong knowledge of mechanical engineering theory, and how to put it into practise practically
  • academic writing – you will be able to present your findings and ideas in a compelling way in written reports
  • decision making – mechanical engineers have to be willing to take risks and to have confidence in their decisions under pressure.

Gain a broad range of knowledge

Mechanical engineering is a broad field, which has more impact on people’s daily lives than you may realise, from manufacturing the clothes they wear, to building the apps on their phones. You will study a range of interesting subjects during the course of your degree programme. This may include:

  • computer applications – computer technology continues to evolve at an incredible pace, stretching its impact into almost every part of life
  • mathematics and physics – having a good grounding in pure mathematics and physics is vital, as they are the basis of all engineering
  • electricity – study the science behind electricity and how it can further change the world
  • design and manufacture – learn how to draw designs digitally and how manufacturing processes work
  • robotics and artificial intelligence – study the mechanics of robotics and the influence that this relatively new technology is having across a number of industries.

A wide range of career options

Depending on your interests and career ambitions, you can choose from a range of engineering sectors, including:

  • aerospace – help to design the next generation of planes, rockets and satellites
  • automotive – work on everything from Formula 1 cars to buses, from their wheels to how they are fuelled
  • biomedical – improve lives by designing high-tech medical equipment including artificial limbs and pacemakers
  • energy – find greener, more efficient alternatives to power industry and homes
  • manufacturing – streamline machines and equipment to create the most efficient manufacturing processes possible.

Global opportunities

Every country in the world needs mechanical engineers to create and maintain infrastructure. This means you may have an opportunity to work abroad. You may want to spend some time working in developing countries, where your specialist knowledge could make a real impact.

Graduate opportunities

Mechanical engineering graduates are always in demand. There is currently a skills gap for trained engineers, and in 2018, 98.35% of mechanical engineers were in employment according to Careersmart. If you would like to continue your studies, some masters programmes and PhDs in this field are funded. Whether you want to be an academic, move into a managerial role, or to be as qualified as possible to help you stand out in the workplace, further study could be a rewarding option.

Play a role in developing new technologies

Mechanical engineers discovered electricity. They invented the printing press, the train, and the mobile phone. As a mechanical engineer, you could develop new technologies knowing that they will improve lives for years to come. If you work in the rail industry, you will review designs and work on improving lines to make them as reliable and cost-effective as possible. In the marine industry, you could be designing and ensuring the safe running of ships, developing cleaner technologies for the future. Or you might work in power generation and play a part in finding reliable alternatives to fossil fuels.

Top salaries

Mechanical engineers are highly valued and for that reason, they enjoy good salaries. Starting salaries for mechanical engineers are in the range of £20,000 to £28,000, compared to an average starting salary for UK graduates of £19,900 (UK Government Official Statistics). With experience, you could earn £35-40,000. At a senior level, you could earn £60,000 or more.

Think creatively

Although engineering is a science, it can also require a high level of creativity. As a mechanical engineer, you will learn how not to rely on the way things have been done before, and to think independently so that you can create new solutions to problems. The first wheel, the compass, the aeroplane: all of these were engineering solutions which advanced human progress. A degree in engineering gives you the tools to make a difference.


Why is mechanical engineering important?

Mechanical engineering plays a large role in our everyday lives. This includes coming up with solutions for any issues within health care, energy, transportation, climate change and more. Without mechanical engineers, we would not be able to create effective solutions to these problems. 

Is mechanical engineering a good career?

A career in mechanical engineering allows you to build a better future for the world. It is an industry with high job security and plenty of opportunities for promotions and high salaries. 

How many years does it take to study mechanical engineering?

The typical engineering degree in the UK takes three years to complete at undergraduate level. If you wish to develop your skills and knowledge further you can do so with a postgraduate degree, which will take an additional year to complete.

Note: Salary information is sourced externally. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the salary ranges.