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Best engineering universities in the UK

The UK is renowned for the quality of its higher education institutions. This includes high rankings for universities in many subject areas including engineering. We look at the UK’s best universities for the subject.

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If you have designs on becoming an engineer, then you’ve probably considered studying engineering in the UK. Question is, do you know which universities are most highly ranked for engineering? That’s why we’re here. We’ve got the rundown of the best engineering universities in the UK, including where they rank globally and why they’re considered so prestigious.

 

How did we compile this list you ask? We took inspiration from the highly reputed Complete University Guide Subject Rankings 2022 (CUG), the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021. Some universities you’ll recognize immediately, while others may surprise you.

 

University of Cambridge

 

One of the world’s most famous university’s and widely considered a jewel in the crown of higher education is the University of Cambridge. The university is both highly ranked globally and for specific degree subjects. CUG rank Cambridge as the number one university for engineering in the UK. It is also placed third in the world for engineering in the QS World University Rankings by Subject.

 

The Department of Engineering at Cambridge was established in 1875 and is the largest department at the university. At any one time, you’ll find an average of 1,200 undergraduate students and 900 postgraduate students studying at the department. Cambridge is also considered to be a notable hub of engineering research. The most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) in the UK rated Cambridge as having the highest amount of world-leading research in the field.

 

We won’t lie. Getting into Cambridge isn’t easy. There are some stringent entry requirements with the university looking for students with excellent academic credentials. However, if you do make the cut you could find yourself studying towards an engineering degree in several specialisations including:

 

 

Interested in studying engineering in the UK? Explore the institutions in the UK where you could study.

 

University of Oxford 

 

You would have been expecting it. Yes, that’s right, just like in the world-famous boat race, the University of Oxford is hot on the heels of their perennial rivals Cambridge. When it comes to engineering degrees Oxford occupies the 2nd spot on the CUG League Tables 2022. The QS World University Rankings 2021 place the university 6th overall for engineering and 5th globally. However, Oxford did trump Cambridge on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 taking the number one spot in the world.

 

The university’s Department of Engineering Science offers an undergraduate MEng in engineering, of which the first two years focus on the core fundamentals of the subject. For your third year, you get to specialise in an area of engineering science including:

 

 

MEng degrees are advanced bachelor’s degrees and designed to prepare graduates for professional practice. This is especially important if you wish to become a Chartered Engineer and work in the UK. Oxford also offers postgraduate degrees in the form of MSc, DEng and DPhil qualifications.

 

Get more information on what to expect when studying for an engineering degree.

 

University of Bristol                                                                

 

Located in the west of England and a member of the prestigious Russell Group, the University of Bristol is ranked in the top five for engineering in the UK by the CUG League Tables 2022. With 25,000 students studying at the institution and a quarter of those from overseas, the university is also a top 10 rated institution for student employability in the UK by QS.

 

The Faculty of Engineering at the university is made up of two schools and six departments. Some of the state-of-the-art facilities for engineering students include aerodynamics and aeroacoustic laboratories, a robotics laboratory, and a dynamics and vibration laboratory. This level of innovation is recognised by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021, which have the university rated in the top 100 worldwide and 7th in the UK for engineering.

 

Want to know what traits aspiring engineers need to have?

 

Durham University 

 

Another top-performing engineering institution in the UK is Durham University. The university is one of the oldest in the UK and is home to 18,000 students. Durham is ranked as a top 100 institution worldwide by the QS World University Rankings 2021 and within the top 150 globally for engineering by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021. This pre-eminence is cemented by a top-five ranking for engineering by the CUG League Tables 2022.

 

Engineering has been part of the curriculum at Durham since 1838 and the university conducts ground-breaking research in areas such as future energy systems, sustainable infrastructure and advanced materials. The university is also home to a wind tunnel, clean rooms for controlled experiment environments, and a geotechnical engineering laboratory.

 

If you end up studying at Durham you’ll have the chance to pursue several qualifications at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. This includes a BEng, Meng, MSc and PhD degree in the subject. The university also has a comprehensive range of engineering specialisations from civil to electrical engineering.

 

Trying to decide which engineering specialisations could work for you? Why not read our take on biomedical engineering versus biotechnology.

 

University of Sheffield 

 

Completing our list of the best engineering universities in the UK is the University of Sheffield. The university enjoys a favourable reputation and is placed 5th in the UK for engineering by the CUG League Tables 2022. The standing of the university is underlined by the QS World University Rankings 2021 that rates Sheffield as a top 100 global institution and in the top 200 on the planet for engineering.

 

It’s not only university rankings that hold the institution in high esteem. It was also the recipient of the silver medal for Student Satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2019. The Faculty of Engineering has over 6,700 students studying towards an engineering-related degree and 93 per cent of the research produced by the faculty is considered ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ by the Research Excellence Framework.

 

At the University of Sheffield, you study in one of ten departments, each of which specialises in a particular area of engineering, including systems engineering and bioengineering. The university offers a three-year BEng degree and a four-year Meng degree at the undergraduate level. At the postgraduate level, you can pursue an MSc, EngD or a PhD. There is also a specialised engineering pathway programme if you’re looking to get up to speed for degree study.

 

With a better sense of which institutions are best for engineering in the UK, it might be time to find out more about studying in the UK. You could also review which universities are ranked as the best in the UK. If you’re about ready to start looking for your ideal course then our course matcher can help.

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