What A-Levels do you need?
Like most engineering degrees, electrical engineering courses are competitive and you’ll need some pretty impressive grades to get a place at the top unis – the University of Birmingham, for example has a minimum requirement of AAB on all of its electrical engineering courses, while University College London asks for AAA. It’s worth shopping around though, as the University of Liverpool accepts students with ABB grades, and Teeside University asks for 280 UCAS points, which is equivalent to BBB. A lot of courses will require you to have maths and/or physics at A-Level, but this varies between courses and unis so be sure to do your research.
What are your study options?
You can study for your BEng full or part time, but due to the practical nature of electrical engineering degrees you won’t be able to study online or through distance learning as you’ll need to spend lots of time getting your hands dirty in the workshop. You can finish an electrical engineering degree in three years, but doing a sandwich year in industry is strongly encouraged and will look great on your CV. Plus, you can combine a sandwich year with a year abroad as there are lots of opportunities to work in other countries. You can study straight electrical engineering, but you’ll also find lots of combined courses, such as electrical and electronic engineering, or electric and mechanical engineering.
Why study Electrical Engineering?
Because it’s awesome! Who wouldn’t want to dream up a new electrical gadget knowing you can make it a reality? As an electrical engineer you’ll be at the forefront of modern technology, with the chance to develop life changing new devices and systems as well as making sure the technology we use every day keeps in tip top shape. There are also some great career opportunities, with benefits ranging from excellent pay, opportunities to work abroad and no shortage of employers looking for graduates with your exact skill set.
After your Electrical Engineering degree…
You’ll have plenty of options after your degree is over. Lots of students, for instance, choose to spend an extra year at uni getting an MEng, which will allow you to become a chartered engineer (particularly useful if you’re interested in going into the maintenance and repair side of electrical engineering). Electrical engineering graduates are always in demand from employers because it’s known to be a tough course that you have to work hard to do well in. It’s well worth the effort though, as just a few of the industries you could end up working in include aerospace, defence, construction, maritime, rail, and telecoms. Some typical jobs for electrical engineering graduates include a broadcast engineer, a systems analyst or even an IT or management consultant.
Q&A With an Electrical Engineering lecturer
Dr Manuchehr Soleimani is a senior lecturer in Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Bath University...
Why should students study a degree in electrical engineering?
Electronic and electrical engineering is a key component of the modern technologies; it is like a common speaking language for all cutting edge technologies. One could arguably measure the level of technological competitiveness of a country directly by the level and quality of their electrical engineering education.
What kind of skills will students learn on the course?
Electrical engineering is a creative discipline that also requires advanced technical skills, and these skills are generously rewarded. Having a solid grounding in mathematics, science and analysis, combined with a creative approach to real problems, makes the graduate electrical engineer employable in a wide range of industries and businesses. They will learn advanced electric system design, a wide variety of computer programming language, control engineering and, more importantly, they will learn the design process and the business aspect of design. They also learn to work both in a team and on individual tasks.
What key modules can students expect to study in their first year?
For first year they will learn about circuit theory, digital and electronic programming, engineering design, energy and environment and micro-processing and micro-controlling, as well as of course mathematics.
What kind of careers do students typically go into after they graduate?
Graduate electronic and electrical engineers are highly sought after, typically command high salaries, and are often involved in cutting-edge projects. They find jobs in a host of high technology industries including electronics, power, aerospace, communication, automotive, robotics, and manufacturing. They also find employment in IT, financial services, accountancy, the armed forces and management.
Q & A with an Electrical Engineering student
Lorraine Choi is studying Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Imperial College London...
What are you enjoying most about your course?
Problem solving in a practical (or cool) way! In the past I might come up with crazy ideas but be unsure how to implement them. Doing an engineering degree gives you all the support you need to turn your creativity into reality! In my second year, my team has come up with the idea of an auto-braking system for unconscious drivers. It might sound like a big thing to start with, but after all the research and help from professors, we proved that it is feasible to make such a product.
What key modules did you study in your first year?
Circuits, analogue and digital electronics, signals and communications, power engineering… basically anything electricity related, from nano-volts to mega-volts.
What are you hoping to do after you’ve graduated?
In general, I hope to digitalise or automate things. Therefore I would like to be a consultant, focussing on digital strategies and the technology sector. But I am also considering financial technology.
How has the course helped you achieve your ambitions so far?
My course has not only taught me technologies and theories, but also trained me to be analytical and think logically. These are the important skills that most employers and industries are looking for. So far, I have experienced the engineering, finance and consulting industries. Without my course, I would not be that well-equipped and prepared for such a wide range of jobs.
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