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Published: 13 August 2015

Why study mechanical engineering at Surrey?

From designing the car of the future to helping scientists explore the furthest reaches of the solar system, a degree in mechanical engineering offers students a diverse range of career opportunities. But with so many options, why choose the University of Surrey?

Of course, the location of the University is important for many students. Not only is it a short ten-minute walk from the historic centre of Guildford, but it boasts a campus surrounded by lush green lawns, a tranquil lake and shady trees to study under or where you can sit to simply clear your mind.

The University’s academic credentials are also extremely competitive, helping it rank fourth in the Guardian University Guide 2016. So what is it that gives Surrey the edge when it comes to academic achievement?

A choice of degrees

The University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences offers a choice of four undergraduate degrees - Mechanical Engineering, Automotive Engineering, Aerospace Engineering and Medical Engineering. One of the biggest attractions of Surrey is that the first year is the same across all four degrees, giving students a taste of each subject and the opportunity to switch programmes before they commit to one.

Professor Julie Yeomans, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences at the University of Surrey, says the shared first year allows students who may not have had much prior knowledge of the subject to move freely between the different disciplines. Students can then continue their degree, confident that they have chosen the right subject.

Professor Yeomans adds that the Department’s approach to teaching is also critical to academic success. While there are still traditional lectures, teachers also offer attention and support through small group tutorials.

One of the key features of the second year is a project-based programme where students can put into practice what they have learned in class. Undergraduates work in groups to design a product. This emphasis on teamwork means students will naturally gain in confidence and be more prepared for work once they finish their degree.

Salaried work placements

Also key to giving students a head-start after graduation is the University’s Professional Training placement scheme. Taking place during the penultimate year of the degree, Professional Training placements are usually salaried and offer students real experience of the working world. Many placements are in the UK with prestigious companies such as GE, Rolls-Royce, or BAE Systems. Some students also go to continental Europe – with Airbus in Toulouse, for example –  or even to another European university working in a research lab. Others have even taken up positions in Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.

With almost all of the University’s mechanical engineering sciences students securing a job within six months of graduation, job prospects are bright. But Professor Yeomans claims it is the expertise that Surrey offers the industry as a whole that really sets it apart from rival universities.

“We have experts here who are world leaders, doing research that is highly sought after,” she explains. “These people are not only working at the cutting edge of their disciplines but are able to bring that into our student activity.

“When undergraduates do their individual projects with us in their final year, they have the opportunity to be part of research that is internationally leading. Our Department is somewhere where people can shine and that is what we want our students to do.”

Learn more about Mechanical Engineering Sciences at Surrey.