Top Engineering Degrees In The UK Entry Requirements

With so many different Engineering degrees available to choose from it can be difficult to work out what is required to apply for them. We'll cover everything you need to know.

Author: Chloe Hewitt

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Demand for good engineers is high. In the finance, mechanical, IT and electronics sectors in particular, there are shortages of chartered and incorporated engineers.

For anyone looking for a rewarding future with a wide variety of employment prospects, there has never been a more exciting time to embark on an Engineering degree.

Knowing the entry requirements to the top courses will ensure you craft the best application and secure your place.

Types Of Engineering Degree

There are two types of Engineering degrees offered at UK universities: BEng (Bachelor of Engineering) and MEng (Master in Engineering).

A BEng is a standard three-year degree in Engineering, those who complete a BEng have the appropriate training and experience to apply to become an Incorporated Engineer. Those wishing to become a Chartered Engineer, it is mandatory to follow degree studies with advanced study equivalent to the final year of a MEng programme.

While the majority of degrees focus on a particular discipline, there are some General Engineering courses that enable the decision about which specialism to study to be taken at a later date.

Universities in the UK offer courses in the following areas:

What Are The Top Engineering Degrees In The UK?

To learn more about the best Engineering courses in the UK, The Guardian has ranked the top ten universities for the most popular disciplines.

General Engineering

  1. University of Cambridge
  2. University of Oxford
  3. University of Bristol
  4. Imperial College London
  5. Durham University
  6. University of Warwick
  7. University of Leeds
  8. Loughborough University
  9. Bournemouth University
  10. Coventry University

Chemical Engineering

  1. University of Cambridge
  2. Imperial College London
  3. University of Nottingham
  4. Lancaster University
  5. University of Birmingham
  6. University of Bath
  7. University of Edinburgh
  8. University of Sheffield
  9. Aston University
  10. Loughborough University

Civil Engineering

  1. University of Bristol
  2. University of Leeds
  3. Imperial College London
  4. University of Southampton
  5. University of Bath
  6. University of West London
  7. University of Bradford
  8. University of Liverpool
  9. University of Glasgow
  10. Heriot-Watt University

Electrical Engineering

  1. University of Southampton
  2. Imperial College London
  3. Queen’s University Belfast
  4. London South Bank University
  5. Loughborough University
  6. University of Exeter
  7. Manchester Metropolitan University
  8. University of Leeds
  9. University of Strathclyde
  10. Lancaster University

Mechanical Engineering

  1. Imperial College London
  2. University of Bath
  3. University of Bristol
  4. University College London
  5. Solent University
  6. University of Leeds
  7. Coventry University
  8. University of Strathclyde
  9. University of Exeter
  10. University of Sheffield

Materials Engineering

  1. University of Oxford
  2. Loughborough University
  3. University of Exeter
  4. University of Birmingham
  5. Imperial College London
  6. University of Manchester
  7. University of Sheffield
  8. Swansea University
  9. Queen Mary, University of London
  10. University of Leeds

These are only a few of the courses that you can apply to in the UK, and the more prestigious of degrees will have similar expectations of applicants.

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Engineering Entry Requirements

All of these universities and the courses will require different entry requirements, but we can still look at what offers applicants typically receive.

GCSEs

Applicants must demonstrate a broad general education of at least five GCSEs at grades 9-4. English Language and Mathematics are required with a minimum of grade 4 – English Literature will not be accepted in lieu of GCSE English Language.

As well, you will be expected to have Science which is compulsory at GCSE level anyway.

Choice wise, there is really no bad option. It could be valuable to have a subject that is related to technology or a business subject, or even a language.

For anyone considering applying to study Engineering at Oxbridge, we can look at how the two universities consider GCSEs in different ways.

There are no specific GCSE requirements for entry to Engineering at Cambridge. GCSE results are looked at as a performance indicator, but within the context of the performance of the school/college where they were achieved.

There are also no specific GCSE requirements for Engineering at Oxford, but they will be taken into account when the Admissions Tutors consider your application. Higher grades at GCSE can help to make your application more competitive, and successful applicants typically have a high proportion of 7, 8 and 9 grades. 

A-Levels

If you want to study Engineering at university making sure your A-Level subjects are suitable is essential.

To get into an Engineering degree you will usually require a minimum of two A-Levels – but for the most popular courses, three A-Levels at A/B grade are commonly needed.

Entry requirements range from CCC to A*A*A, with universities commonly offering applicants ABB.

A-Level Mathematics is usually essential, with many universities requiring or preferring a second A-Level in Physics.

Keep in mind your preferred area of Engineering and any requirements that may be associated with it. For example, if you are interested in Chemical Engineering, Chemistry will usually be preferred over Physics.

For the more competitive courses, Further Maths is also a preferred subject and would place you in an advantageous position by having it.

Subjects such as Computing, Design Technology and Science (Biology and Chemistry, if not pursuing Chemical Engineering) are also seen as helpful.

However, if you are considering applying for Civil Engineering at UCL – for example – applicants typically receive offers of A*AA but in no specific subjects. UCL does have a general preferred subject list though which can be referred to.

Admissions Tests

Some courses will also require you to sit an Admissions Test which will be considered alongside your application. 

Oxford

Students applying to Engineering at Oxford will have to sit the Physics Aptitude Test. The test is designed for candidates who have studied the first year of A-Level (or equivalent) Mathematics and Physics, and covers similar material to that of the GCSE and A-Level syllabus. 

Calculators are permitted.

Cambridge

All applicants are required to take the pre-Interview Admissions Test, the ENGAA. It is made up of Maths and Physics questions randomised in order. The Admissions Test includes multiple-choice questions covering Advanced Physics. 

Calculators are not permitted. 

Non-Oxbridge

The University of Edinburgh uses the Global Select Pathway which is to be sat by international students to assess they meet the required standards of English and identify any knowledge gaps there may be. 

International students applying to Liverpool John Moores University will also have to sit an Admissions Test.

Conclusion

If you are considering applying to study Engineering at university the opportunities available to you are endless.

With so many different areas to pursue, there is a field out there that will be perfect for you, and if not you can always choose a General Engineering course and look into specialising later on. 

It is essential though, that if you do have a specific area of Engineering in mind that the A-Levels and subjects you study reflect this. There is no point wanting to study Chemical Engineering if you do not study Chemistry at A-Level. 

With these considerations in mind, you will be able to craft the perfection Engineering application. 

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