Going to university


You are thinking about going to university.  The hard part is choosing a degree course that’s right for you.  The Institution has produced an online university guide to help you choose the right university and degree course. You should also speak with your school or college careers office.

What qualifications do I need?

Our guide explains how GCSEs, A-Levels and other qualifications can affect your higher education choices.

Which university course should I choose?

There are numerous degrees which will set you on the right path to becoming a structural engineer. These include:

  • Civil Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Structural Engineering with Architectural Design
  • Civil/Structural Engineering and Architecture
  • General Engineering (Civil Engineering Pathway)

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a course.  Think about course titles and pay particular attention to course content; courses with the same name can be very different.  Take some time to research different degree courses being offered by each university and select the ones you find interesting. For example, all of the above courses may contain similar amounts of core subjects such as structural analysis or design, materials, geotechnics and maths, but the options may differ from advanced structural engineering to architecture, management or to environmental issues.  You should also make a note of entry requirements; each university will have different ones. 

Which type of degree: Bachelor degrees? Masters degrees?

Different types of degree programmes will suit your career path more than others. The type of programme you choose will depend on your career aspirations, and also on the entry requirements of the course  Our guide can talk you through how it all works.

Why should I choose an 'accredited' course?

An accredited course is recognised by international professional organisations like the Institution of Structural Engineers and various employers.  Accredited degrees therefore make it easier for you to find employment and gain professional membership once you've graduated. The Joint Board of Moderators (to which the Institution belongs) and the Engineering Council have further information on the benefits of accreditation together with lists of accredited university courses.

Which university (department) should I go to?

It is important that you will be happy living in the location of your university because you will be there for a number of years. So find out as much as you can by contacting individual universities and be sure to attend open days. When choosing which university to go to, think about the following:

  • UK university guides are published in newspapers such as The Times Good University Guide and the Guardian’s University Guide (access restrictions may apply). For US universities you can use EducationEngineers.com. Remember these guides do not always measure the same factors and are often ranked on different criteria. You should use university rankings as a guide. More importantly you should think about the ranking of your chosen degree course or department.
  • Decide how far away from home you want to move.
  • The type and size of university.  This could be a town, city or campus university.
  • The cost of going to university.  Think about university fees, accommodation costs  and nearby facilities like the local town centre, shops, amenities.

I'm in year 12/13, can I become a student member of the Institution of Structural Engineers?

Student membership is free and open to anyone studying a built environment related qualification at any level; including school leavers and A-level students. You can apply here.

More information

To get in-depth answers to these questions download our online guide at going2uni.

Find out more...

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