Mechanical Engineering MEng

Undergraduate degree course Mechanical Engineering MEng H301:

Mechanical Engineering is a professional discipline as important as medicine - for which it supplies many solutions in terms of life saving equipment, life enhancing artificial limbs, pacemakers, micro-scale pumps, incubators, etc. Mechanical Engineers design, analyse and manufacture machines that move using gears: giant earth moving machines, huge turbines in power stations, all types of road and rail vehicles and space rockets and satellites. We design tiny micro gears that power medical equipment, handheld computers and mobile 'phones. We also make industrial robots; the machines that make other products.

Mechanical Engineering at Birmingham produces graduates who are creative, highly numerate and skilled at solving problems and delivering results. We are a friendly community of self-assured professionals, determined to guide you to wherever your engineering talents will thrive. All our programmes are accredited and reflect the strength and longevity of our industrial partnerships.

Antoinette Torgbi

Antoinette Torgbi

“Having always enjoyed math and physics, I chose to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Birmingham to gain the theory and practical skills needed to find solutions to technical problems. When I attended the Open Day, I found that the department had strong links with industry and the staff and students were friendly and welcoming. I also liked that the course had a practical element from the outset. The university has a great deal of societies and sports clubs on offer, as well as an amazing campus that is close to Birmingham City Centre. ”

This is a four-year accredited course. It has been designed to be relevant to the needs of modern industry and to produce graduates who have the personal and intellectual qualities to be successful in their chosen careers. By the end of the course, you will be equipped to play leading roles in a professional capacity in both industry and academia, and thus able to deal with issues at the forefront of our discipline. 

The programme is organised into integrated modules covering core mechanical engineering subjects that are designed to develop your learning progressively. You will consider the movement of mechanisms, the strength of the individual parts, the efficiency and environmental impact of your designs, and the methods that can be employed to make your product profitably.

The opportunity is also open to you to get involved in work on UBRacing – our own Formula Student racing team, which competes throughout the world.  

First and second years

The first two years are common to all Mechanical Engineering programmes.  Our first year has been under review to allow development of a contemporary and flexible educational model that builds upon essential engineering fundamentals to develop students’ broader understanding of behaviour, policy, entrepreneurship, and global perspectives and kindles the passion necessary to address the societal challenge agenda.

It will be a shared first year across the disciplines of Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering.

Subsequent years

In the years 3 and 4, these fundamentals of engineering are used to explore advanced engineering topic areas, with a more problem solving based focus, within the context of a broadly based programme of study. A group design study project is undertaken in year 3, exploring the associated commercial, legal and safety aspects of developing a new product. In year 4 students are also given options to pursue their personal engineering interests providing the opportunity to develop deep understanding and competence in their chosen specialism. Strong links are formed with our research programmes, through the range of options available, to ensure that students benefit from developments at the leading edge of their chosen field. You will be given the opportunity to choose from options including Advanced Mechanics, CAE Integration, R&D in Manufacturing Processes and Micro Electro Mechanical Systems; amongst others.

For all programmes:

In your final year you work with engineers based in one of the Mechanical Engineering research centres on a major individual project linked to your chosen field of specialisation.

For the first two years of the degree, all of our undergraduates follow an integrated BEng or MEng route. Once you’ve finished your second year, you’ll then choose whether to complete a BEng or MEng degree. Progression onto an MEng degree is dependent upon excellent end of year examination results. 

The option exists, at the end of your second year, to take a year off to work in industry before returning to complete your final year.   If you decide to follow the MEng route, the work in industry option can be taken in your third year. For a list of modules and their credit values, see ‘Modules’ below.

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Why study this course

At Birmingham, we provide diverse, yet balanced, courses, enabling our graduates to gain employment in a wide range of industries. Teaching is provided by lecturers who are global experts in their field, with multi-million pound investment providing leading-edge teaching facilities and laboratories. We produce graduates who can function in today's fast-changing marketplace, and your career prospects will be excellent.

Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends.


Programme organisation

All Mechanical Engineering programmes are organised into integrated modules of learning that are developed over the first two years. The overall structure of the Mechanical Engineering programme is illustrated in diagrams included in these notes. Our course design aims to avoid the fragmentation of knowledge, which is a drawback of the modular approach. Each major topic is taught as an integrated flow of learning that provides students with a framework into which they can place new concepts or techniques. The goal is to ensure a smooth, well-organised accumulation of knowledge as each module proceeds.

The Mechanical Power module provides a good example of this approach. Starting from concepts established at A level, lectures are used to present the fundamental laws governing the flow of fluids and energy. These are illustrated by engineering applications that often link-up with laboratory experiments. For example, in the early weeks of study, students acquire the theoretical tools to make a first, rough estimate of engine performance. They go on to test real engines in the laboratory, so that they can compare and contrast results. Building on such fundamental concepts, students progressively expand their knowledge to encompass more advanced topics, such as heat transfer, combustion, fluid flow and aerodynamics. Thus, by the end of the module, they will have acquired a firm understanding of the theory, design and operation of a wide range of equipment that involves the generation, use or transmission of power.

Links are formed between modules so as to emphasise the holistic nature of engineering. In this respect, the Design modules occupy a central role by providing projects that draw upon the full range of theoretical and practical knowledge. A range of group and individual projects is offered, many involving problems suggested by our industrial collaborators.

In later years students elect a programme that suits their interests. This provides students with the opportunity to follow their personal interests, within the context of a broadly based programme of study.  Strong links are formed with our research programmes through the range of options available, to ensure that students benefit from developments at the leading edge of their chosen field. MEng students will be given the opportunity to choose four modules from a list of eight optional course modules in their final year.  

The final year project is the highlight of the programme for most students; it provides an opportunity to focus onto one particular subject area of interest and allows them to show their ability & initiative. A broad range of project titles are offered related to the research areas of the members of staff.

Programme structure

Our first year has been under review to allow development of a contemporary and flexible educational model that builds upon essential engineering fundamentals to develop students' broader understanding of behaviour, policy, entrepreneurship, and global perspectives and kindles the passion necessary to address the societal challenge agenda. It will be a shared first year across the disciplines of Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering.

Year 1
Title Credits Semester
Electrical Engineering 1
In this module, the fundamentals of electronic and electrical engineering are covered. It will begin with analogue circuits describing the fundamentals of circuit analysis and the design of analogue devices. The fundamentals of digital systems will then be covered using Boolean algebra and related techniques to analyse digital circuits up to an introduction to flip flops. Finally electrical power and machinery systems will be introduced.
20 1 & 2
Engineering Materials
The aim of the module is to introduce the range of materials and their key properties used in engineering in order to allow them to select the appropriate materials for a given application. The module also introduces fundamental science that determines the electrical or mechanical properties of materials, such as atomic / molecular structures. In addition students will also be introduced to software which will allow them to model the properties and behaviour of engineering materials and analyse the results of experiments.
10 2
Engineering Mathematics 1
The module aims to enhance student knowledge and understanding of the mathematics used in engineering and to develop the skills of its use.
20 1 & 2
Fluid Mechanics and Energy Conservation
In this module, the fundamentals of fluid mechanics and energy conservation, and introduce associated engineering applications.
20 1 & 2
Integrated Design Project 1
The aim of the module is to introduce students to the design process and the skills employed therein, within an engineering context.
20 1 & 2
Introduction to Computing for Engineers
The aim of this module is to introduce engineers to computers and computer programming using an important modern programming language which has applications from small embedded systems to supercomputers.
10 2
Mechanics 1
In this module, the mathematics and scientific principles related to mechanics in the context and application in engineering. The module covers: general principles, the mechanical properties of material and the basic principles of analysis, all underpinned with essential mathematics. Where relevant, historical examples are embedded into the module in order to provide context for the taught material.
20 1 & 2

Module information listed below is for 2015/16 and may be subject to change for 2016/17.

Stage 2
Year 2 Intermediate Level
Engineering Mathematics 2
Industrial Skills
Manufacturing Systems Engineering
Mechanics 2
Mechanical Design A
Thermodynamics and Fluids
Stage 3
Year 3 Higher Level
Mechanical Design B
Powertrain and Vehicle Engineering
Design and Professional Skills 3
Control Engineering
Sustainable Energy and the Environment
*MEng: Turbo-machinery and compressible flows
*MEng: Engineering Mathematics A+B (semester 1&2)
BEng: Individual Engineering Project (30 credits)
Stage 4
Year 4 Masters Level only
Computational Geometry** Advanced Mechanics**
Biofuels and Combustion** Advanced thermal systems**
Advanced Vehicle Engineering** R&D in Manufacturing Processes**
Process modelling** Micro and Nano technologies**
Biomedical Engineering** Machining Support Systems**
Synoptic Mechanical Engineering
Individual Engineering Project (60 credits)

* BEng - two modules dropped to enable students to take a 30 credit project
**optional modules (shared modules are compulsory for the automotive programme)

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are as follows:
£9,000 (Home/EU students)
£19,020 (International Students)
Funding opportunities are available.

Learn more about fees and funding.

Please view scholarships and awards offered by Mechanical Engineering.

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
Required subjects and grades:
A level Mathematics (Further Mathematics and Physics are not required but are advantageous).
General Studies:
not accepted

Additional information:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,6,6 at Higher Level to include Mathematics with a minimum of 32 points overall. 

Students who just miss the grade requirements for MEng study will be automatically considered for a place on the BEng programme.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements

International students:

Standard English language requirements apply. 
Learn more about international entry requirements.

International students applying for this programme will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office before the University can issue you with a Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS). We recommend that you apply for your ATAS certificate as soon as you receive an offer from us. More information can be found here:

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at  
Learn more about applying

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. At Birmingham we advocate an enquiry based learning approach, from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).

To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we?ll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.

Personal Tutor: At the start of your degree, you will be assigned a Personal Tutor who will remain with you throughout your studies to help you in three important areas: supporting your academic progress, developing transferable skills and dealing with any welfare issues.

Delivery of the course
In your first and second years, the course is delivered as lectures, small group workshops, laboratories, computer-based activities, enquiry-based learning and tutorials.  A strong emphasis is placed on design and research project work in your third and fourth years respectively.

Laboratory-based practical work forms an integral part of the School's degree programmes. Laboratory classes not only develop your experimental practical skills, but also reinforce concepts introduced in lectures or explore a particular phenomenon. Practical sessions, typically, last three hours.

Small-group tutorials/personal tutorials run alongside the lecture course, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate the lecture material, as well as test your understanding through problem-solving exercises. Your Personal Tutor is assigned to you at the start of your course and remains with you until graduation, helping you in three important areas: supporting your academic progress, developing transferable skills and helping with welfare issues.

Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) provides an environment where your learning process is driven by enquiry.  The lecturer's role is purely as a facilitator. Typically a group activity, this requires working in a team and you can be assessed in a variety of ways: in either a group or individually, by written reports and sometimes as a presentation. EBL will give you a research-orientated approach to a problem, and has a synergy within research-led institutions like the University of Birmingham.

Project work: The range of projects in your final year includes practical work in the laboratory, computer-based projects, or theoretical studies. You can choose the topic of your project from a pool of titles and work with your project supervisor to tailor it to your particular research interests. Many projects are directly linked to supervisor's current research projects and many have industrial links.  Students are also free to propose their own projects, so long as a suitable supervisor can be identified.

Assessment methods

Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.

You?ll be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will be assessed through coursework which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations, laboratory-based work (depending on your chosen degree) and formal exams. Nearly 64% of the assessment of this course is by written examination, which compares favourably with many other universities, who range from 42%-70%.

Each module is assessed independently.  Assessment methods used include end-of-year examinations, written assignments, oral and poster presentations, computer-based tests, class tests and laboratory and project reports. Some modules are completely assessed by coursework. Examinations are taken in May and June.

Credit is awarded under three headings:

  • Examinations for lecture courses.
  • Continuous assessment for various kinds of project work.
  • Laboratories.

Early years are dominated by examination as you concentrate on the underpinning engineering principles. As you move into later years, the increased emphasis on project work shifts the balance towards continuous assessment.

We place strong emphasis on providing prompt and informative feedback on all pieces of work that you submit during your studies. Feedback comes in a variety of forms, including written feedback on pieces of assessment, class feedback sessions and one-on-one discussions with your tutors. In all cases, the feedback will highlight the good points as well as those areas that require more attention.

During your first year the University will require you to undergo a formal 'transition' review, mentioned above, to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in the School and can help with any academic issue you encounter. Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre?s aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions with support with mathematics and statistics based problems provided by experienced mathematicians, to workshops on a range of topics including note taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed for your particular programme of study. You will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build upon what you have done. You will be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.

Feedback shows that 90%-95% of our students go on to work or study on graduation. Of those in employment, 95%-100% gain graduate-level jobs and are earning salaries in the region of £24,000-£32,000 pa six months after graduation.

As one of our Mechanical Engineering students, a huge and exciting array of career opportunities will be open to you when you graduate - both at home and abroad. You could pursue a career in one of the major manufacturing industries (the UK has the 6th largest manufacturing base in the world); or you could work in other areas of science and technology, such as sustainable energy. Other areas that favour the problem-solving skills you will acquire are finance, law and marketing as well as teaching and/or research.

Superb opportunities exist for you to gain industrial experience before you graduate. You can opt to add a year to your programme and spend this time with one of our industrial partners; usually between your second and third study years. You will gain relevant work experience, and earn money putting into practice the skills and knowledge gained from your degree.  Students on placement get involved in serious projects that ask difficult questions that require good scientific/engineering answers - and which often lead to sponsorship and/or the offer of a graduate job.

A rich vein of expertise will be available for you to tap into, not only through the University's Careers Network for more details see below, but from the School's own industrial liaison officer. From these professionals you will gain the skills to help you secure any of a range of placements from summer jobs to industrial years and, eventually, your graduate job.

Career destinations of previous graduates include:

  • BP, Aberdeen
  • Rolls Royce, Derby
  • Delcam,  Birmingham
  • Jaguar-Landrover, Coventry
  • Lotus,
  • Mercedes-Benz,
  • PA Consulting, London
  • MultiMetal Works, Malaysia
  • Atomic Weapons Establishment, Berkshire
  • Oxford Technologies, Oxford
  • RBCCM Banking, London
  • RBS, London
  • MOD
  • BAE Systems, Barrow in Furness
  • IBC Solar, Malaysia/Germany
  • Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia
  • Ball Packaging Europe, Wreham
  • Parsons
  • Vehicle Certification Agency, Birmingham
  • Porterbrook Railway Co - Rosco, Berkshire
  • AMEC, London
  • RAF
  • Petronas oil & Gas Company
  • British Army, Sandhurst
  • Zener Company, Iran
  • DFM Medical, Germany

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge. 

And once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs, interview practice and job applications will further help to give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed, award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises you extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects. 

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Visit the careers section of the University website for further information.

Professional accreditation

This programme is fully accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

This course is recognised by the Engineering Council for the purposes of meeting in full the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.

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