Going off to university is a crucial time in any individual’s life: it’s when students are able to discover more about themselves and are given valuable opportunities to grow. The experiences you go through during your studies have a huge influence over what you move on to afterwards, which is why it’s important to look for a university that can suit your needs.
For those who are interested in engineering, Curtin University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering is a global leader in science and engineering research and collaboration, as it offers a variety of specialisations, industry work experience, high-tech learning spaces, a vibrant campus life, and opportunities to work in a challenging, research-intensive environment. The university’s Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) is also highly regarded for providing some of the world’s best mining and minerals education facilities.
At Curtin, students can be confident in building a bright future in engineering, as the faculty is committed to providing a global engineering experience. Its courses are accredited by Engineers Australia and the Washington Accord, an international accreditation agreement for professional engineering academic degrees.
Students also get the chance to collaborate and contribute to projects involving students, researchers and experts in other countries. Besides that, students will have the opportunity to undergo internships at globally-recognized companies.
Beyond preparing students for their future careers, Curtin also puts an emphasis on making the world a better place, a vital life lesson that its students have taken to heart.
In 2012, Kyle De Souza, a mining engineering graduate of the WASM, founded the first Masaai night school in East Africa, where he spent seven months building infrastructure in some of the most impoverished communities in the world.
“Mining engineering is the broadest engineering discipline of all. The technical and practical knowledge from labouring underground for two years and working as an engineer for that time gave me the tools to undertake building a school and managing the project work associated with it.
“When the challenge was set to start a school dedicated to Maasai men, I thought to myself, ‘if I can start a mine, I can start a school’,” he said.
Here are some of the benefits engineering students can expect while studying at Curtin:
1. Pursue your interests at a top university
Curtin holds the distinction of being ranked among the top two percent of universities worldwide in the highly regarded Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).
Its wide and varied range of courses combine theory with practical study – students will have access to state-of-the-art facilities and innovative teaching methods to prepare them for their future careers.
For students who wish to study engineering, the Faculty of Science and Engineering has comprehensive courses that can suit the needs and interests of students at various stages in their education, and are tailored to equip graduates with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed, such as the Engineering Foundation Year, and on to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in 11 specialisations, including Chemical Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Besides its diverse offering of taught courses, Curtin is also an innovator in research – in the Australian government’s latest Excellence in Research survey, the university ranked well above world standard in the field of electrical and electronic engineering, above world standard for chemical and mechanical engineering, and was one of only five Australian universities to receive the highest ranking for earth science and geochemistry.
Thanks to the university’s focus on ground-breaking research in order to help solve real-world problems, it has also been recognized by the University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP) as Australia’s 9th best university for academic robustness.
In addition to that, the 2016 Nature Index, which reviews an institution’s contributions to around 60,000 high-quality papers each year, identified Curtin University as the most collaborative of the Australian universities, both within Australia and internationally.
The university has done well to make a name for itself on the international education stage, and it’s hard to believe that all of it was achieved in less than 50 years. Recognizing this, in a global review of institutions younger than 50 years old, Curtin was placed 23rd in the 2015 QS World University Rankings Top 50 Under 50.
Students around the world are aware of Curtin’s sterling reputation as one of the best education providers, and many have even cited it as one of the main reasons why they decided to enrol at the university, such as Kalpana Patel, an engineering student from India, who said: “I heard from friends and many others about how good Curtin is.”
2. Make full use of unique opportunities and modern facilities
Students under the Faculty of Science and Engineering will gain the advantage of global industry partnerships and opportunities while learning in a professional and interactive environment.
Classes are held in the purpose-built Curtin Resources and Chemistry Precinct and the impressive Engineering Pavilion complex, comprised of two buildings and an exhibition complex. The pavilion has received a 5-star green rating based on its innovative design and technologies, which include environmentally-friendly features, such as rooftop water tanks that harvest rainwater and temperature banding that helps reduce energy consumption.
The complex also acts as a hands-on learning tool for Curtin’s engineering students, creating a sophisticated, stimulating and immersive learning environment that provides problem-based learning, group collaboration, and the opportunity to share ideas with industry players.
For example, the Department of Petroleum Engineering works closely with the Western Australia (WA) Oil and Gas industry and has the support of boil and service companies. These companies often provide scholarships, research grants, teaching support, software and hardware donations. The department also works with international partners such as Chevron and Shell U.S., Saudi Aramco and Petrobras of Brazil.
The department also has an Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) which meets to provide guidance and consult on what those in the industry would like to see provided in terms of general teaching, taught unit content, courses and research areas. The IAC is involved in assisting the planning and structure of the department, and is often instrumental in assisting students with industrial projects and occasional teaching support.
Students will have the opportunity to take part in internship or student exchange programs during their studies, allowing them to build their industry contacts, widen their network, and gain both industrial and cultural exposure.
Alistair, a postgraduate student in Petroleum Engineering, shared that he had secured an internship with Woodside Energy, a major player in the oil and gas industry.
“I managed to get an internship job while I was still in university, and from that, I got offered a job there,” he said.
3. Broaden your horizons
Curtin is known as Western Australia’s largest and most culturally diverse university, and is home to Australia’s third largest international student population. The university has also been ranked the 26th most international university in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016.
The university’s multicultural student population provides students with the chance to mix and form friendships with those from different backgrounds and perspectives, helping them to develop a well-rounded worldview.
Lloyd Parker, a student from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland on the study abroad program, enjoyed his time at Curtin.
“Coming to Australia has broadened my horizons a lot, and it has let me see a lot of new things and meet a lot of people I would have never had the opportunity to meet back home,” he said.
He added: “When people go away to a different country, it brings people closer, so I’ve got some really good friends from all around the world and we go out together in big groups.”
4. Explore the world
Curtin’s main campus is located in Bentley, a suburb some six kilometres south-east of central Perth. Besides learning about the world through others, students are also encouraged to blaze their own trail and make the most of their time as a student.
When asked about what she liked most about living in Perth, Kalpana said: “During the holidays, I really enjoy my life in Perth. I live with my family and we usually go to places like the beach and the city centre.”
Of her favourite local sights, she mentioned the Bell Tower, also known as the Swan Bells, which is one of Perth’s must-see attractions. The Bell Tower is a set of 18 bells hanging in a specially-built 82.5 metres-high copper and glass campanile.
Kalpana also recommended the view from King’s Park, especially after sunset: “I love the view at night – the city looks very lovely from there.”
Lloyd found Perth to be a delightful surprise: “What’s surprised me about Perth is how developed and modern it is. It’s also a very big city, so you can go into different neighbourhoods and they each have a different feel, and you can pick where you want to go based on your mood.”
There’s plenty to see and do in Perth, thanks to its perpetually lovely weather, but its location also makes it easy for students to travel around Australia and even further afield to nearby countries, such as New Zealand, Singapore, and Indonesia.
Lloyd suggested Margaret River, a small town south of Perth, as a good place to visit. The area is known for its craft breweries, boutiques and vineyards. Its nearby beaches are also great for surfing, and its coastal waters host migratory whales from June to November. He also said that Bali was a popular holiday destination for students.