Mechanical engineering is the study of maintaining, analysing, designing and manufacturing machinery. This ranges from designing the tiny parts of machines, as well as the handling of large-scale machinery. There is often overlap with aerospace engineering, or the chance to study it as a joint honours degree. Aerospace engineering is the design, construction and maintenance of aircraft, spacecraft, missiles and weapons systems. Main areas covered include flight safety, fuel efficiency, operating costs and environmental impact.
The study of mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) covers a wide range of topics: computer applications, electricity, structures, mathematics, physics and drafting. It is considered to be one of the most challenging undergraduate degrees. The field is changing so rapidly, that you may find that when you come to specialise or complete a personal research project in your final year, the topic may not even have existed in your first year.
Like most other strains of engineering, you will be taught through lectures, seminars, tutorials and laboratory sessions, with design classes and practical workshops. You will be assessed continuously through reports, computer exercises, lab work and essays, as well as exam-based testing.
Graduate knowledge of MAE is vital in the solving of challenges faced by industry and society alike. This may be in the research, development, testing or maintenance aspect of the professions and aerospace or mechanical engineers will be tasked with calculating project costs and timescales, writing manuals and upgrading and progressing new technologies. It is worth pointing out that mechanical engineering is one of the most expansive and lucrative fields – partly due to the growing population and constant demand for housing.
An essential guide to what you will learn on a mechanical engineering course, what you should study to get your place on a degree, and what jobs you can get once you graduate
The essential guide to what you study on an aerospace engineering degree and what careers the degree can lead to