Engineering expectations vs reality


Faculty: Science and Engineering
School: Engineering and the Built Environment
Course: BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering
Category: Engineering

6 November 2020

Mechanical Engineering student Eduvie - and her course mates - consider how their degree course has met their expectations, and how it's differed in some surprising ways.

Throwback to A levels/BTECs, deciding what we want to spend the next few years studying. When making this decision we have an idea of what we think those next few years are going be like. These expectations vary for everyone depending on what you’re looking for, but speaking to current engineering students highlighted a few thoughts that we all had in common.

Start by learning entirely new content


As it's a course name you do not necessarily have any practice in, most people expect it to be like completely learning a new subject.


You are not going to be lost! The first year at university is not that different from the last few years. It builds on what has been learnt before - linking what you’ve learnt previously to its application in engineering such as mechanics and maths.

Predominantly hands-on


Everyone expects to be involved in manufacturing processes because it is what engineering is advertised as.


It's theory-based, too. We do get involved in manufacturing and physical application. However, we learn a lot of theory as we need to understand why things work the way they do and be able to predict behaviour which would help us in application.

Opportunities in your field


We'll be made aware of the job possibilities in their specific field (mechanical, civil, medical engineering...) and work towards those, as that is what you are studying.


There are opportunities across a number of fields. During your course you learn a bit of engineering across all the specifics. The connection is needed to fully understand applications. This gives rise to a wider range of job opportunities, as the skills you learn can be applied more broadly.

The course may be easier or harder than expected

This will probably change throughout your course. There my be some modules, perhaps in first year, that feel like a breeze and others that will test you.

My advice? Be open to the possibilities engineering has to offer and enjoy every bit of it.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.