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How to succeed on an engineering course

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Engineering is a highly rewarding, complex, fast-paced industry. Engineers across all disciplines are in demand, but competition for the most prestigious jobs and internships is fiercely competitive.

We look at our top tips to help you get the most out of your engineering course at Sunderland, no matter what discipline you choose.

Two students using engineering equipment

Be passionate

When selecting who to take onto our courses, a clear passion for engineering, regardless of the discipline, is one of the main qualities we look for.

During your studies, you'll find there's lots of independent work to be done, and in order to maintain motivation, a clear passion for the subject is needed. Being enthusiastic enough to jump straight into all the study activities offered is also essential, and often the only way to improve. So be passionate, be committed, and show a willingness to learn and the University will do everything it can to support you.

Soft-skills are important

Engineering is a sector that’s changing fast. The need to create more efficient, cleaner, more streamlined materials and products is greater than ever before, and engineers are at the forefront of this challenge, meaning it’s a job in demand – one that could take you all over the globe.

Our Engineering academics often recommend to students that they learn another language. This opens up the opportunity of gaining a job in another country, and it also shows you have the ability to push yourself and step out of your comfort zone. In an engineering degree, you build a set of skills that are quite logical and procedural but language skills enhance your development and thought processes.

Throughout your time with us, we’ll encourage you to commit to extra-curricular activities and getting involved with our sports clubs and societies. This will really make your CV stand out in a highly competitive industry and will show employers that you’re willing to engage with different sets of people without becoming blinkered by your core studies.

Become a good communicator

Regardless of what form of engineering you choose, there are lots of study activities for you to get involved in that are really rewarding. You’ll get to work in groups, work on challenging design projects and take part in industry placements, and all of these will increase your personal development, and help your confidence.

You'll also get vital experience in presenting ideas to a group and being able to talk to people at different levels – this is highly important for any engineer. You’ll need to be able to talk clearly and get your ideas across to people from senior managers to other students. We’ll help you with this and it’ll be important when you go out and look for jobs and internships.

Keep your options open

In your first year, all students across all engineering courses will study the same modules to build a core foundational knowledge of different aspects of engineering. After you have completed the first year, you’ll then go on to specialise in your chosen discipline.

It’s not uncommon for students to come in and be unsure about what specialism they'd like to pursue, so if you start a course and then decide you want to change once you’ve seen what it’s all about, then you can, thanks to the common first year.

Come to an Open Day

Engineering is a broad subject that equips you with a huge amount of skills, it also has a broad range of pathways within it so it's crucial to attend an Open Day and explore the specialisms further.

At our Open Days, you'll be able to take a look around the School of Engineering, visit our labs and get hands-on with some of our exciting equipment. Within this, we often run taster sessions so you can see what it’s really like to study engineering of any kind at the University.

We’ll support you

Our academic staff have an open-door policy, whereby students can seek out support when needed. If you have an academic or pastoral problem, you can go and knock on the door and one of our team will help you. We're proud of our outstanding level of student support and we know that if you feel supported you'll be able to focus more on your studies and extracurricular activities. 

Find out more

You can find out more about Engineering at the University of Sunderland, visit our Engineering subject area.

If you'd like to see our campus for yourself, sign up for one of our Open Days or see our facilities through the Virtual Campus Tour.


Published: 11 October 2022