With the increasing cost of higher education shackling students across the globe, the question of whether postgraduate study is worth it is one that many students have to face. In the case of postgraduate engineering studies, however, the answer appears to be a very definite ‘yes’.
Engineers are in high demand across every sector; organisations need them to develop innovative and creative solutions that will make a product more advanced or efficient. And few disciplines offer such a diversity of employment opportunities, with graduates going on to work in medical treatment, aircraft design, or even as far as space.
The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education is an independent global organisation that conducts research into cross-border higher education programmes. In 2013, its newsletter emphasized a significant demand for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) skills within the US and Europe, saying this has prompted talk of making US visas available to immigrants who hold PhD or Masters degrees in STEM subjects.
The Observatory states: “Imported talent is necessary to meet increasing demand for STEM skills…the number of STEM graduates will have to increase by 20-30% by 2016 to meet the projected growth of the US economy. Overall, STEM employment grew three times more than non-STEM employment over the last twelve years, and is expected to grow twice as fast by 2018.”
Image via the Seoul National University
Similar situations have been reported in countries across the world. The UK’s House of Lords published a report acknowledging the “significant” role STEM postgraduates play “in driving innovation, undertaking research and development, and providing leadership and entrepreneurship,” and that the British government should, “articulate how they intend to convey to students the benefits of STEM postgraduate study”.
Furthermore, in a report from The Times of India, Mr Shekhar Sanyal, head of the Institution of Engineering and Technology said: “MTech [Master of Technology] graduates are in high demand and much sought-after by technical industries, not just in India but worldwide…If you are good and technically sound, MTech can open up various opportunities for you.”
With the prediction that, in the UK alone, there will be demand for 100,000 new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) professionals per year from now until 2020, the dominant message of a recent report from the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) was: “Demand for graduate engineers exceeds supply.”
Anyone beginning postgraduate engineering studies in the UK in the next couple of years will have a wealth of well-paying job opportunities available to them on graduation. The UK Engineering Council’s Survey of Registered Engineers 2013 found that chartered engineers can expect to earn £63,000 per year, with around 14 percent earning more than £100,000.
Image via the University of Warwick
This year, the University of Manchester ranked 4th in the UK for Engineering and Technology in the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings. The University is internationally renowned for its top-quality graduates and excellence in teaching and research, running a broad range of undergraduate courses in mechanical, aerospace and civil engineering, as well as a number of specialist MSc courses.
Adrian Harwood, a former undergraduate student of Manchester’s School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, is now working towards a PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the same institution. He is a perfect example of the advantages postgraduate study in this field can present.
He says: “My [undergraduate] degree included a year-long work placement with Rolls-Royce in Derby… On completion of my degree, I passed on the offer of a graduate position with Rolls-Royce to train as a researcher through completion of a PhD.
“As a Research Impact Scholarship award holder my study is supported by the Friends and Donors of the University of Manchester. So far my work has produced an award-winning research paper at the 2012 Internoise Conference held in New York City with additional material under review for publication.”
Image via the University of Manchester
With the global demand for skilled engineers continuing to swell, Adrian hopes his experience, credentials and extensive CV of specialised qualifications will make him employable anywhere in the world.
“This University and the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering gave me the education and opportunities I needed to allow me to achieve my potential and establish the skills required for a wide range of careers,” he says.
According to the RAE, the highest demand is for graduates in the aerospace and systems engineering sectors, while Forbes reports a significant rise in opportunity in the mechanical and industrial engineering sectors. Georgetown University forecasts the greatest demand in the petroleum, aerospace, chemical and electrical engineering sectors.
Professional engineers are highly sought after, but a number of reports have also confirmed that engineers who have completed postgraduate study can earn significantly more than their undergraduate counterparts. Engineering graduates in the US earn an average of US$75,000 per year. This figure rises to US$99,000 for those with a postgraduate degree.
With excellent salary potential, and plentiful and exciting career opportunities, a Masters in engineering offers an excellent return on investment for graduates who want to take their careers to the next level.
Image via Carleton University
Read on for more information about the top international universities offering the highest quality postgraduate courses in engineering…
SCHOOL OF MECHANICAL, AEROSPACE AND CIVIL ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER – UK
The University of Manchester is part of the prestigious Russell Group of universities, with outstanding facilities and a wide range of courses. The School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester has over 100 members of academic staff, supported by dedicated administration and technical support groups. Graduates of MACE obtain a thorough understanding of engineering principles coupled with excellent practical and personal transferrable skills. The University of Manchester ranks 4th in the UK for Engineering and Technology, meaning all graduates are held in high regard by industry, and can find rewarding work in every sector of engineering.
COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING, SEOUL NATIONAL UNIVERSITY- SOUTH KOREA
SNU consistently ranks amongst the leading universities in the world and is within the Top Ten universities in Asia. The institute is rated as world-standard for research, employability of its students, teaching, facilities, innovation and inclusiveness, representing a fantastic choice for students throughout the world. SNU’s College of Engineering (CoE) is regarded amongst the world’s best engineering schools, renowned internationally for its technological innovations, outstanding research and ability to produce exceptional global leaders from its students. Students are prepared for success within their professional fields and are given the skills and knowledge to be able to contribute meaningfully to improving society within Korea and the wider world.
SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK- UK
The University of Warwick is one of the UK’s leading universities, holding the prestigious accolade of the Times and Sunday Times University of the Year. The University is known for excellence in research and teaching, for innovation, and for its strong links with business and industry. The School of Engineering consistently achieves a Top Ten position in the UK subject league tables and was recently ranked by the Times and Sunday Times the 4th best general engineering School in the UK. The breadth of engineering topics the school offers ensures graduates are equipped to meet the challenges in modern industry or in further studies.
FACULTY OF ENGINEERING AND DESIGN, CARLETON UNIVERSITY- CANADA
From its very beginnings, Carleton University has welcomed the world, explored it in many fields of study and embraced the obligations of national and international citizenship. Carleton University’s research-intensive Faculty of Engineering and Design is recognized as a leader within Canada and beyond, offering one of the most extensive ranges of engineering and design programs in the country. As one of the Canada’s leading institutions in the study and research of engineering, architecture, industrial design, and information technology, the Faculty of Engineering and Design’s comprehensive platform of programs provides a challenging and diverse experience to more than 5,700 students.
FACULTY OF ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD – UK
The University of Sheffield’s outstanding performance for research, as a member of the Russell Group of leading UK universities, is consistently confirmed by independent assessment internationally. The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Sheffield is one of the biggest and best within the UK. Independent assessments of its research excellence confirms more than two thirds of its research to be either internationally excellent or world-leading. The faculty boasts seven academic departments and two interdisciplinary programme areas covering all the engineering disciplines. They are leaders in their fields and are outstanding contributors to the development of new knowledge that will teach engineers of the future.