Find your focus
Narrow down your interest to two or three industries you'd be keen to work in, be as specific as possible. This will help you pick a course that contains the right modules to set you on your path. If you know someone who is an engineer, ask what they recommend, first hand advice is always a plus.
Remember, courses differ from one to another, even if they have the same title and qualification. Be sure to look beneath the surface, to exactly which modules they offer and the amount of lecture hours per week, so you can be sure the course is exactly what you had in mind. Which? University has some useful guides on subjects including mechanical, electronic and electrical engineering.
Give yourself time
Start your research at least one year ahead of applying. Universities are always happy to answer questions on their courses and send out helpful material. Looking through university league tables to help your research, the National Student Survey also offers independent support and guidance.
Practice makes perfect
Look at the practical work experience opportunities offered by each course. Are placements involved? Is there a year in industry option? Adding practical experience to your degree is highly valuable to your career. Getting into a relevant company before you finish your degree not only bolsters your CV, it also provides on-the-job training alongside experienced engineers that gives you an edge when sitting exams.
Go for accreditation
When a university or college programme is accredited by the IET, it means it reaches a high standard and offers the best possible education. It’s not just a case of ticking some boxes; the criteria the programme has to meet are based on requirements of the Engineering Council UK.
The IET examines all areas including projects, staffing, resources, quality assurance, student support and most importantly the programme's structure and technical depth.
If you’re wondering why this should matter to you, here are the top reasons:
- You can be sure that the course is on par with others within the UK and internationally.
- Attending an accredited course is the foundation for achieving professional registration (ICTTech, IEng, EngTech or CEng status).
- Accredited courses are looked upon favourably by employers and can improve your career prospects overall.
It's not too hard to find an accredited course – there are currently over 1,000 programmes in the UK alone.