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Student pathways to The University of Sheffield

Why study engineering in the UK?

Posted 21 May 2015
University of Sheffield is 18th in the UK

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, John Logie Baird, Frank Whittle, Alexander Graham Bell – the UK has a knack for producing engineering heroes. The skill and creative thinking of Britain’s engineers and inventors has helped to shape our world. Television, the telephone, the steam engine, radar, the jet engine, the internet – these are just some of the transformative British engineering breakthroughs that have had an immeasurable impact on our lives. 

Being a part of the UK’s strong engineering heritage is one of many reasons to study engineering in the UK. Thousands of international students choose to do so each year – so what is it that makes the UK so enticing?

 

An engineering nation, with exciting opportunities

According to an independent study by Technopolis, engineering research in the UK is the world leader in productivity and second in terms of technical excellence.

Each year businesses invest about £9.5bn a year on engineering research and development in the UK, with the Government spending about £1.5bn to £3.1bn. Investment in engineering in the UK is significant.

And the country’s engineers deliver a staggering return on this investment. Engineering’s role in Britain’s economic success is substantial.

Engineering in the UK is responsible for £280bn of the country’s gross value added – a fifth of the UK’s total. This level of return on investment shows that Britain runs one of the most efficient and effective research operations in the world.

 

Quality of teaching 

The UK has a reputation for academic excellence. Three of the top ten universities in the world for engineering and technology teaching are in the UK. Facilities here are world-class, with sophisticated engineering departments allowing you to specialise in every area of the broad engineering spectrum.

The University of Sheffield houses a dedicated Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, which is renowned for its Control System courses.

 

UK learning style

The method of teaching in the UK allows students to mix theory with practise, for a more in-depth, better-rounded education. Students can tailor courses to suit them with specialist modules that allow them a deeper understanding of particular areas of engineering that interest them.

In the UK’s universities and international colleges, the focus is not just on theory, but on real-world applications as well. Hands-on experience and the kind of tailored teaching that enables student creativity not only results in a more exciting and engaging learning experience, it also prepares students fully for the practical demands of the post-grad workplace.

 

Welcoming to international students

Almost 20% of students in the UK come from overseas. One of the reasons that studying engineering in the UK is so appealing to international students is the significant level of support available here for students facing the challenges of studying far from home.

You’ll find a wide choice of international colleges in the UK, like the University of Sheffield’s, that have been set up specifically to address these unique challenges. They ensure that international students are supported every step of the way – from applying and preparing for undergraduate or postgraduate degree programmes, to finding employment or research opportunities once their course is over.

The University of Sheffield Students’ Union launched the award-winning We Are International campaign. This collaborative project has been set up to showcase the fantastic contribution international students make to the UK, as well as improving support for international students across the country’s universities, colleges and language centres.

In short, the UK is dedicated to helping, welcoming and encouraging students from overseas make a success of their studies here.

 

The advantages of learning in English

Studying engineering in the UK gives you the opportunity to fast-track your English language learning. You’ll be studying in English, living in an English-speaking country and your English language skills will develop at a rapid pace.

English is adopted all over the world as the language of business so employers are keen to find candidates with excellent English language skills. Possessing a strong grasp of English stands engineering graduates in good stead for future employment and research positions, opening up their career pathways on a global scale.

 

Engineering career prospect

In the UK, engineers are in high demand, creating a wide range of employment opportunities for international students. By studying a degree in engineering, you will have excellent career prospects after graduation.

As a graduate of engineering, you will have a variety of career paths to choose from. Depending on the type of engineering you want to specialise in, you could work in many different roles. 

You could follow a graduate scheme and, depending on the structure of the company, progress to more senior roles, including management and consultancy roles. There is also the option to continue your studies and work towards certified roles such as a chartered engineer. These qualifications could allow you to progress to top positions within a company, such as chief engineer. 


Typically, an engineering career path will see you start as a junior engineer, before progressing to more senior roles. You will most likely become an engineer, followed by a senior engineer, principal engineer and finally a director of engineering. However, this could vary depending on your specialism.

 

Types of engineering

The four main types of engineering you could follow are:

  • Chemical engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Electrical engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

There are also a range of other engineering specialisms which are usually a combination of the main areas of engineering. Some of these specialisms include:

  • Aerospace engineering

  • Biological engineering

  • Nano engineering

  • Nuclear engineering

  • Satellite engineering

 

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