Study engineering at university

What is engineering?

Engineering involves the design, construction and maintenance of different structures, materials and technologies. Engineers use science, maths and specialist skills to develop new ideas and find solutions to real-world problems, like transport issues, global warming and clean water.

Engineering plays a vital role in almost every aspect of modern life. It is important to a wide range of industries, from building construction to pharmaceuticals and food processing. To prepare you for a particular industry, most engineering courses allow you to specialise in specific fields.  

There are many areas of engineering you can specialise in, including: 

  • Civil engineering – design and construction within the built environment.
  • Mechanical engineering – a focus on machines, such as engines, turbines and fridges.
  • Electrical engineering – concerned with electricity, electronics and electromagnetism.
  • Chemical engineering – the design and operation of industrial chemical plants.

Why study engineering?

Engineering degrees are a popular choice for undergraduates. The benefits include:

Engineers help to solve and manage real-world problems, like energy shortages and natural disasters. You could be building better machinery, improving structures or inventing new products that improve people’s quality of life.

Job prospects are excellent for engineers in the UK and worldwide. You’ll gain specialist engineering knowledge, and transferable skills in maths, science and design. Engineering courses also equip you with communication, teamwork and management skills which are relevant to a wider range of career options.

Studying engineering is very hands-on. During your degree, you’ll experience the same standard of materials and machinery that are used in the industry. This means you’ll graduate with practical skills you can apply directly to a job.

Why study engineering at Durham University?

Durham’s engineering department is a leading centre of research. The University's undergraduate engineering degree is ranked 5th in the UK (Guardian Good University Guide 2019 & Complete University Guide 2020).

Teaching involves lectures, problem-solving tasks, laboratory work, computer-based classes and research projects. The teaching staff are experts who have strong partnerships with industry leaders such as Rolls Royce and BP.

Engineering students at Durham University enjoy a large amount of flexibility and choice. You’ll learn how to tackle traditional and modern engineering problems, and you’ll study advanced engineering topics. There will also be group design projects which teach you how to work in a team using sophisticated analysis and design tools

Extracurricular activities and student-run societies are an important part of life at Durham. These give you an opportunity to try new activities, gain new skills and develop your interests. For example, the DUEM society (Durham University Electric Motorsport) design, build and race solar-powered cars across the globe.

5th in the UK

for General Engineering in the Guardian Good University Guide 2019 and Complete University Guide 2020

1st (joint) in the UK

for ‘internationally excellent’ and ‘world-leading’ research in the Research Excellence Framework 2014

Key skills from studying engineering

Engineering courses give you specialist skills that you can apply to the workplace after graduating. These include:

  • Project management
  • Creative thinking
  • Logical thinking
  • Statistical analysis
  • Investigative research
  • Data processing
  • Problem-solving
  • Verbal and written communication
  • CAD (computer aided design)
  • Technical writing
  • Budget management

What engineering degree can I study at Durham University?

Durham’s BEng General Engineering is a three-year degree course which gives you the skills and knowledge you need to enter a career as an engineer. Years 1 and 2 cover a broad base of engineering education. In your third year, you can choose to specialise in mechanical, civil or electronic engineering. It is also possible to transfer to the MEng (Masters programme) in Year 3, depending on your grades.

Degree preparation at the International Study Centre

Our International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering prepares you for an undergraduate engineering degree at Durham. Focussed engineering modules give you the subject knowledge you need for success in your degree. You will learn about physics and engineering concepts, and you’ll develop confidence in problem-solving. You will also study core modules in English, maths and chemistry.

The Pre-Masters in Science and Engineering prepares you for an engineering related Masters degree. The course lasts for 2 or 3 terms and includes designated modules in computational mathematics and advanced applied mathematics. You will also study core modules that include laboratory skills, experimental design, and advanced writing skills for science and engineering.  

Engineering career opportunities

Graduates from Durham’s top-ranked engineering school are in demand. Your degree will prepare you for a wide range of engineering and non-engineering careers, as well as further education.

  • Aerospace engineer
  • Contracting civil engineer
  • Automotive engineer
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Electrical engineer
  • CAD technician
  • Mining engineer
  • Water engineer
  • Environmental consultancy
  • Industrial research
  • Manufacturing and production
  • Technical writer