5 benefits of studying engineering

A student in an engineering lab on the University of Surrey's campus

Every year, thousands of students around the world decide to study engineering at a UK university, but why? Read on and discover the top five benefits of studying engineering.

What is engineering?

Engineering is the combination of mathematics and scientific knowledge to solve problems.

Engineers could be inventors, designers, builders, or mechanics. This exciting mix of talent and ingenuity makes engineering one of the most innovative fields to work in. An engineer is at the forefront of technological developments and helps to make the world a better place for everyone.

At the University of Surrey, there are plenty of undergraduate engineering degrees to choose from, including:

BEng Aerospace Engineering

This field of engineering develops aircraft and spacecraft.

BEng Automotive Engineering

Automotive engineers design and create the vehicles of the future.

BEng Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers develop, maintain or improve the process that converts raw materials, such as oil, into more useful products.

BEng Civil Engineering

The field of civil engineering works to design and construct our physical environment - civil engineers will help to create new roads, bridges, and airports among other key infrastructure.

BEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering

An electrical engineer could work on electrical components, such as microchips, to a nation’s power infrastructure.

BEng Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineers use maths and physics to create, maintain and manufacture machinery.

Progress to an undergraduate engineering degree

You can progress to any of these degrees from the International Foundation Year in Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Surrey International Study Centre.

Why study engineering?

1. Job opportunities

Engineers are in demand around the world – this means you’ll be employable after you graduate. Whether you choose to take advantage of the Graduate Immigration Route, and stay in the UK for two years after graduating, or go elsewhere in the world, you are likely to find a job. According to jobs website Michael Page, over 182,000 people with engineering skills will need to be hired to meet the UK's engineering demand in 2021 and 2022.

An engineering degree will teach you plenty of transferable skills, so even if you decide that an engineering career isn’t right for you, you can easily change industries. You’ll develop strong maths skills, as well as improve your problem solving and project management abilities, meaning you could move to operations and logistics management, or even procurement.

Two students smiling at a robot on the University of Surrey's campus

2. High salary potential

According to career website TargetJobs, an engineering graduate at a well-known UK employer can expect to earn a salary of £26,000 to £29,000. Smaller companies may pay less, but you can still find plenty of roles offering salaries above the average graduate salary of £22,000.

If you decided to complete a postgraduate degree or other qualifications, your salary would reflect your increased knowledge and specialism. After you gain workplace experience, your pay will continue to increase - according to Office for National Statistics data the average salary for an engineering professional was £44,164 per year, while Glassdoor estimates the average base pay for a Senior Engineer is nearly £54,000.

3. International opportunities

As we mentioned, engineers are sought after across the globe, but even when you do decide on where to start your career, there may be opportunities for you to travel for work. As part of your job, you may be asked to take part in projects overseas or travel to the sites and facilities you’re working on, such as mines or travelling to cities to develop their infrastructure.

A career in engineering is a great way to see the world.

4. Creativity

Though maths, physics, and science aren’t usually considered creative pursuits, as an engineer, you can express your creativity through your work. Being able to identify an issue and creating an idea on how to fix it is a key skill across engineering. Innovations, inventions, and new designs are crucial in advancing the field, so having a creative flair is an important skill to have.

At the University of Surrey, creativity is encouraged – for example, on BEng Aerospace Engineering, you will complete a module dedicated to designing components in your first year.

5. Improve the world

At its simplest, an engineer's job is to make the world a better place. Be that through more sustainable production, safer cars and roads, or creating new ways to make life a bit more comfortable. By studying engineering, you’re choosing a path that will offer you a high level of job satisfaction as you improve people’s lives.

Reasons to study engineering in the UK

There are plenty of reasons you might choose to study engineering at a UK university, especially one as career-focused as the University of Surrey.

1. Globally recognised degrees

The UK’s higher education institutions have a strong reputation for academic excellence, so a degree from a UK university will be recognised around the world. The University of Surrey is particularly well known for its engineering teaching facilities and is ranked 6th in the UK for Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Guardian University Guide 2021).

2. Professional experience

The University of Surrey has been ranked as the top university in the UK for placements for three years in a row by the National University Employability Awards (2019-2021).

All undergraduate degree programmes at the University offer a Professional Training Year - meaning you can gain valuable professional skills for when you complete your studies. The University of Surrey has over 2,300 employment partners, including Airbus, IBM, McLaren, Microsoft, and Nissan.

By choosing to study at Surrey, you’re choosing to become a highly employable graduate.

3. An engineering nation

The UK has a long, storied history with engineering and many great engineers were born here. Some of the UK’s most famous engineers include:

  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel - a key figure in the industrial revolution
  • Alexander Graham Bell - inventor of the telephone
  • Tim Berners-Lee - credited with inventing the World Wide Web

The UK continues to be an engineering hub, with Airbus, Aston Martin, Jaguar Land Rover, and McLaren all having manufacturing plants here. The UK’s engineering industry is continually growing, with engineering contributing £486bn to the UK’s GDP in 2015 – over a quarter of the country’s total GDP.

By living and learning in the UK, you can visit the museums and heritage sites that have been designed and influenced by engineers, and immerse yourself in the history of engineering while studying to become an engineer of the future.

Pathway to a career in engineering

International students often choose to begin their studies in the UK at the University of Surrey International Study Centre. Here, you’ll get extra support in adjusting to UK life while you develop your English language and study skills and prepare to start at the University of Surrey. You will also benefit from an international community of likeminded students, and dedicated support staff and tutors.

Learn more about studying engineering at the University of Surrey here.

Undergraduate pathway to engineering

The International Foundation Year in Computing, Engineering and Life Sciences will give you an introduction to engineering, and you’ll have the opportunity to improve your maths and physics knowledge. Upon completion of this programme, you’ll progress to the first year of your chosen degree at the University of Surrey.

Postgraduate pathway to engineering

The Pre-Masters Programme in Engineering is a great way of building upon what you have learnt at undergraduate level. Over the course of the programme, you will take modules designed to boost your English language skills alongside study skills and engineering-focused modules.

Read student stories

On our blog, read how Ryanne, from the USA, built a community at university. Find out more here.

Find out more about starting your studies or check the latest COVID-19 information.