20 May 2021

The top five universities to study general engineering in the UK

The UK’s technology and engineering schools are some of the finest in the world, with over 50,000 international students moving to the UK to study Engineering. When it comes to this massively popular discipline there is no shortage of options, with chemical, aeronautical, and bioengineering being among some of the most popular specialisms to study.


While the topics and curriculum of engineering subjects will vary with their niche applications, overall, where is the best place to study? If you’re a UK student or an international resident looking to come to study in the UK, here are the top five best places to study general engineering according to The Complete University Guide

1. Cambridge

Established in 1209 Cambridge is the fourth oldest surviving university in the world and has an international reputation for excellence in all fields of study. Simply put, Cambridge is one of the best universities in the world, but also one of the hardest to secure a place in.

While Oxford usually pips it for the overall number one slot in the University League Tables, Cambridge has long been considered the better option for studying sciences. Cambridge’s Engineering course allows students to spend two years developing general engineering experience before getting to specialise in one of nine fields in their third and fourth years.

Cambridge is a collegiate university (composed of 31 colleges) with Peterhouse being a popular choice among engineering students due to the building’s proximity to the Engineering Department, as well as the fact that the great Frank Whittle (inventor of the turbojet engine) is among the college’s illustrious alumni: the college’s common room even has a real jet engine on permanent display in his honour.


2. University of Bristol

Home of the great Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, it is perhaps no surprise to find the University of Bristol ranking highly on this list. Bristol is recognised as a leader in engineering research with a particular focus in fields such as transport, the built environment, energy, and advance healthcare.

The University of Bristol offers nine engineering specialisations, with its Mechanical Engineering course currently taking the top spot on the Guardian’s subject table.


3. Oxford

The oldest English-speaking university in the world, and generally considered to be the UK’s finest educational institution, it was inevitable to find the University of Oxford on this list.

Like Cambridge, Oxford offers a four-year MEng with a common first two years followed by specialist study for the final two.

As with its sister university, the Oxford selection process is incredibly rigorous, with less than half of applicants being granted an interview and just 15% being offered a place on the undergraduate degree.


4. Imperial College London

Established in 1907 as part of Prince Albert’s vision to transform South Kensington into an area of enlightenment and culture, Imperial is the leading place to study Engineering in the nation’s capital. Unlike the other institutions on the list, Imperial is not a general provider of education, but instead exclusively caters for the study of Science, Technology, Medicine and Business.

Imperial is a great choice for students who want to be truly emerged in the world of engineering, as all your peers will be studying a similar subject. Be warned, however, Imperial’s Engineering course has a reputation among undergraduates for having a considerably higher workload than at other places. In return for your hard work, Imperial offers excellent links with business meaning many alumni find themselves going straight into work or an internship.


5. Durham

Established in 1832, the University of Durham is the only institution in the north of England to make the list. Durham’s accredited four-year degree is like the Oxbridge options in that students are given the option to specialise in their third and fourth years, however they only offer four specialisms: Civil, Electrical, Electronic and Mechanical Engineering, rather than nine.

Durham lauds one of the UK’s best employment records for graduates, with its General Engineering course having an employment rate of 85%. Graduates also earn £1000 more per annum than the national average salary for engineering jobs.


Studying Engineering

No matter what side of engineering interests you, engineering overall offers fulfilling careers that are both mentally and financially rewarding. While these are the best places to study engineering in the UK, Engineering is offered by hundreds of universities around the world and graduates from many of these universities go on to do great things. Are you graduate looking for your first engineering job? Click here to see if we can help you find the right position.