A MEng degree is one of the most important qualifications a student can study if they hold aspirations of one day becoming a Chartered Engineer. The degree is both an undergraduate and a postgraduate degree.
The degree can be studied as a normal four year course or as a five-year course, if students decide to do it as part of a sandwich course.
What is an MEng degree?
MEng stands for Master of Engineering and is considered to be the highest possible distinction an Engineering student can achieve at university.
It can be a little confusing as to what level of qualification the MEng is, as it is considered to be both an undergraduate and a postgraduate qualification. Traditionally, the MEng is considered to be a Masters degree, however, it is possible to begin the degree at an undergraduate level and run for four years (which is the equivalent of a Bachelors degree and a Masters degree).
As an MEng is so essential for those looking to become Engineers, the MEng programmes that are offered by universities are often accredited and monitored by professional and official bodies within the engineering sector.
The MEng is usually offered by a specialised institution or by a specialised faculty in a larger institution. The degree is often considered to be a terminal degree and although there is no such thing as a Doctorate in Engineering, it is seen as an equivalent.
The MEng is sometimes known under different names, such as the Diploma in Engineering (this is usually in Europe) or as the MTech (usually in India or other Asian countries).
What is the difference between BEng and MEng?
A BEng is a three-year programme and a MEng is a four-year programme. For the first two years of study, the two qualifications are pretty much the same, however, from the third year onwards, the courses cover different subjects and topics.
Both courses include a wide array of group work, however, the final year of the MEng has a number of multi-disiplinary group projects, which total up to 25% of the final year.
How to change from BEng to MEng
It is not uncommon for students to wish to change their course halfway through, in fact, it happens far often than you think.
Obviously, changing from the BEng to the MEng is dependent on the university and their admissions criteria and policies, however, it is generally recommended that you request the change before the third year.
For many universities, you will need to have achieved a certain mark by the end of year two, usually around 50%.
Can you only achieve an MEng if you study Engineering?
As the name suggests, the Master of Engineering is traditionally awarded to students that are studying Engineering, however, it is possible to earn a MEng in other subjects as well.
The subject still needs to be closely related to the field of Engineering, however, Engineering is such a broad term that many other subjects are therefore included. As a result, subjects such as Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Construction Engineering and Molecular Engineering are considered for study in the MEng as well.
Should I study a MEng or an MSc?
This is a common worry for university students as both degrees have their merits and both are very high levels of qualifications.
For those beginning university and know that they want to become an Engineer of some kind, then it would make sense to study an MEng over an MSc, as a MEng will prepare you more for a career as a Chartered Engineer in the UK.
However, those that have already completed a Bachelors degree, then you do not have much of a choice, as an MSc is already a postgraduate degree and is the only option that you can take up and the most efficient way of gaining a qualification rather than enrolling as an undergraduate all over again.
What are the entry requirements for a MEng?
The university entry requirements for a MEng depend on the university you're applying to and their admissions policies. Some universities, such as the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London will only allow students to study an MEng degree.
Universities such as Brunel University, Coventry University, Swansea University, the University of Greenwich and the University of Surrey allow students to read for the BEng and MEng courses and allow students to actively alternate between the two.
It is possible to study the course as part of the Open University, however, while the degree is recognised as a postgraduate qualification by the university, it must be studied within four years of completing a BEng honours degree beforehand.