Study Engineering in the UK

According to figures published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, UK universities are among the best in the world in terms of efficiency rates and achieving degree success for their students, with an average of 82% of undergraduates completing their courses.

Study Engineering in the UK

There are a number of advantages to studying engineering in the UK, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. In particular, the education received is of a very high standard, and a professional engineering qualification from the UK is accepted and recognised internationally. International students also have an opportunity to develop their working and spoken English skills, and to experience British culture. The universities and professional engineering institutions are also structured to provide help, support and guidance to international students, ensuring their stay is both beneficial and enjoyable.

The universities offer a huge variety of engineering courses, either in one of the major disciplines, such as civil, mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering, or in a specific branch of engineering, such as aerospace or automotive. A modular course is particularly appropriate for students who do not want to specialise too early, or who want the freedom to combine study in specific fields of engineering. In addition, many UK universities now incorporate 'soft' business skills into the curriculum. These are becoming an essential part of most jobs, and include economics, management, communication and accountancy modules.

Some years ago, the professional engineering institutions set up a Diploma in Engineering Management. This has now been transformed into a series of courses, which enable the student to gain an MBA, MSc or Doctorate in Engineering Management, and is ideal for leading research engineers who aspire to key managerial positions in industry.

At graduate level, there are two main programmes of study in the UK. The Masters programme takes one-to-two years and usually involves a mix of taught courses and research on a substantial project. This is highly valued by those wanting a chance to specialise. A Masters degree can also be done entirely through research. Called an MPhil, this is most suited to those with a high level of training in a specific field. A PhD programme involves three or four years spent researching in great depth a single topic of your choice.

Many university courses now involve study in continental Europe. The MEng course at Bristol University, for example, has exchange partnerships set up with France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands. The university also runs an aerospace integrated graduate development (IGDS) scheme, a modular programme that can be done as individual short courses or combined to form part of a Masters degree. International applicants must have three-to-five years of postgraduate experience and a suitable level of English. Delegates on current courses come from as far afield as South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, Singapore and other EU countries.

In the UK, work experience is now considered a valuable part of the learning process. The British Government introduced a number of changes designed to make it easier for international students to combine study with work during term time and vacations. As a result, restrictions on international students taking paid employment have been eased, and visa arrangements for students in countries where there are problems have been streamlined.

Now international students who have their passports stamped to show they cannot work without the consent of the Secretary of State for Employment can work part-time while studying or during vacation, undertake work placement as part of a 'sandwich course', or take up internship for up to three months without seeking permission, provided they are registered as a student at a UK institution.

It is important to bear in mind that international students applying for a visa or seeking entry to the UK have to show they can afford to support themselves. Paid work that is carried out as part of the higher or further education is taken into account in such calculations.

The UK government and other UK organisations provide a number of scholarships and awards to help international students, but these do tend to be limited. Most grant makers in the UK have strict policies about whom they will and will not support, and an offer at a UK university does not automatically mean you will get a grant. International students are advised to contact the Ministry of Education or Education Department in their own country first.The British Council can provide details of various scholarship schemes offered by the UK government, and by academic departments at colleges and universities.

There are also a small number of charitable trusts that offer limited financial support, which allow students to register for a related higher degree. European funding is also available under the European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students - the Socrates Erasmus Scheme. All UK universities and every country in Europe (apart from Switzerland) are part of the scheme. Students who have completed their course but want to stay on for practical training, work experience or a graduate training programme in the UK, may do so under the Training and Work Experience Scheme (TWES). This scheme allows employers to apply for a permit to employ a person, usually for a maximum of three years.

comments powered by Disqus