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Why United Kingdom is the Best Place to Study Engineering?

n this article, we shall examine some of the top-ranking institutions in the UK, which offer engineering courses.

Mahesh Ramani

State-of-the-art research and learning facilities across all major institutions in the region make UK one of the finest countries to study engineering in.

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Engineering is a vast field of study; a generic name given to the various categories that it encompasses. Civil, mechanical, computer science, aeronautical, electrical, electronics; there are many streams and allied fields of study in the vast ocean of ‘engineering’. Traditionally the UK has been known for its top-notch courses in civil, mechanical and aeronautical engineering. With the progress of technology and communication, institutions are also offering courses in electronics and communications and computer science engineering. In this article, we shall examine some of the top-ranking institutions in the UK, which offer engineering courses.

The Top Three:

The top three institutions to study engineering in the UK as per the QS World Rankings are:
• University of Cambridge (ranked third in the world)
• Imperial College London (ranked sixth in the world)
• University of Oxford (ranked ninth in the world)

University of Cambridge:

One of the most respected universities in the world; the University of Cambridge has been at the forefront of academic excellence for over 800 years; celebrating the epic milestone in 2009. The Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge offers a variety of undergraduate, postgraduate and research courses across diverse subject categories. The Department received a grant of GBP 21 million to set up new ‘Centres for Innovative Manufacturing’.

Imperial College London:

Established in 1907, Imperial College London has climbed steadily across various educational rankings over the years. Imperial College London offers one of the largest and most vibrant engineering faculties in Europe. With over 5,000 students, courses are offered in subjects ranging from aeronautical engineering to earth and material sciences engineering.

University of Oxford:

The University of Oxford is credited to be the oldest University in the English-speaking world. The Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford is the only unified department in the UK which offers accredited courses in all the major branches of engineering. Research at the Department covers a number of subject areas ranging from electronics and chemicals to energy and turbo-machinery.

Average Costs:

As an international student studying engineering in the UK; living and tuition costs will amount to between US$ 35,000 and US$ 42,000 a year based on the course and institution. Most institutions offer limited scholarships for international students and students are advised to check with the institution on scholarship eligibility criteria. Postgraduate research fellowships are also offered for research in specific areas of study.

Admissions and Eligibility Criteria:

Applications for all undergraduate courses in the UK are through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). To apply for a postgraduate course; students are instructed to visit the institutions’ website and apply online or send the completed application form by post with all necessary documents. Some institutions have their own department-specific admissions test to screen applicants as well.

Eligibility Criteria:

Each course and institution has a specific set of entry requirements. Based on a generic pattern of these requirements; applicants should ensure that they meet the following requirements:
  • IELTS - an overall score of 7.5, with at least 7.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL iBT (internet-based) - an overall score of 110 with minimum component scores of: Listening (22), Reading (24), Speaking (25) and Writing (24).
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) Grade B
Applicants to postgraduate courses should ensure that they meet the subject-level admission requirements as mandated by the institution where they are applying. Details of any engineering project completed as part of the applicant’s undergraduate studies play a major role in the postgraduate application screening process. Students are advised to verify the last date of sending application forms and apply well in advance.

Course Duration:

Undergraduate courses are usually for four years; postgraduate courses range from a year to 18 months and some courses are also for two years; doctoral research courses are of varying length.

Advantages of Studying an Engineering Course in the UK:

  • Courses are taught in English.
  • Some institutions offer twinning courses with an option to secure a dual degree.
  • Comparatively less expensive than studying an engineering course in the USA.
  • State-of-the-art research and learning facilities across all major institutions.
  • Ample research grants offered by the government and private agencies to boost research.
  • Job-opportunities in leading firms in Europe and the USA.
  • A strong Asian community exists in the UK and students can explore the UK and rest of Europe in their free time.
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