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What can I do with my degree?: Mechanical engineering

The numerical content of a mechanical engineering degree opens up a variety of opportunities in the finance and management sectors...

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. To find out what jobs would suit you, log in to My Prospects.

Work experience

Employers value pre-entry work experience that relates to the career you want to enter. Some degree courses offer a year in industry, which is valuable as it can provide evidence of skill development and commercial awareness.

If you want to get into engineering and your course does not offer a placement try to secure one yourself during the summer vacation. Many large engineering employers offer opportunities so get in touch with them directly. The work is often hands-on and provides a good insight into the engineering environment. It can also be a good idea to shadow different engineers so you can choose the area you would like to work in.

Work experience for other careers is also useful and provides good networking opportunities. Try to make contacts that may be valuable for future job prospects.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Mechanical engineering deals with the design, development, installation, operation and maintenance of anything that has moving parts. Because of this, you will find relevant opportunities in a range of sectors, including:

  • aerospace;
  • automotive;
  • construction;
  • energy;
  • manufacturing;
  • medicine;
  • railway;
  • sport.

Generally speaking, as a mechanical engineer, you will have plenty of opportunities to work abroad if you wish.

You will also have the skills required for careers in business and management, IT, finance and law.

Find information on employers in engineering and manufacturing, energy and utilities and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

A mechanical engineering degree is a combination of maths, science, technology, business and management. Courses are designed to ensure graduates are:

  • able to solve problems using both logic and creative and innovative approaches;
  • numerate and highly computer literate, with excellent analytical skills;
  • able to plan and prioritise, work to deadlines and under pressure;
  • cost/value-conscious and aware of the necessary social, cultural, environmental, health and safety, and wider professional responsibilities;
  • capable of careful attention to detail, exercising good judgement and accepting responsibility;
  • able to communicate with others and work in multidisciplinary teams.

Most courses have a strong focus on preparation for professional practice but also provide you with skills that are suitable for a range of careers.

Further study

Many students enrol onto MEng programmes for their first degree. These are integrated four-year Masters courses, recognised as offering extended and enhanced programmes of study. Others complete a separate Masters after their first degree.

An EngD is essentially an industry-based PhD, combining Doctoral-level research with training in practical skills. Research engineers are usually placed with industrial (or sometimes academic) sponsors, and there is a possibility that you may be employed by your sponsor at the end of the programme.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses.

What do mechanical engineering graduates do?

Over a quarter of graduates employed in the UK are working as mechanical engineers and the top four professions are all related to engineering.

These include jobs such as mechanical engineer, design and development engineers, engineering technicians, production and process engineers and aeronautical engineers.

Just over 10% of mechanical engineering graduates are in full-time study, with a further 3% studying while working.

Graduate destinations for mechanical engineering
Destinations Percentage
Employed 75.2%
Further study 10.3%
Working and studying 3.4%
Unemployed 7.0%
Other 4.2%
Types of work entered in the UK
Engineering and building 64.9%
Technicians and other professionals 7.7%
Retail, catering and bar work 5.8%
Business, HR and financial 4.4%
Other 17.2%

For a detailed breakdown of what mechanical engineering graduates are doing six months after graduation, see What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Written by AGCAS editors
October 2015

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