What’s it like studying Engineering?

Jessica Kelly

What’s Engineering?

As an engineering student I regularly hear the joke that even engineers don’t know what other engineers do and honestly, who can blame us! Engineering is a catch-all term for what is essentially, problem-solving. It’s the application of maths and science to solve problems and design solutions.

Why did I choose Engineering?

Choosing a degree program wasn’t something I had properly thought about until the summer before my final year of school.

The Irish exam system meant that I was studying 8 subjects for my final exams ranging from arts and humanities to sciences, pure maths and applied maths. But it also meant that I hadn’t needed to choose subjects with a particular degree in mind.

So, when I finally got googling, engineering really appealed to me as someone who enjoyed a very broad and varied curriculum.  Engineering, while being mathematical, allowed me to utilise skills I had developed studying arts and languages (and here at Durham I was even able to continue studying a language)!

Engineering at Durham

Since engineering wasn’t something I could study before university, I was very wary of heading into a specialised course straight from school. In fact, I was so scared of specialising too early that one of my major criteria for applying to a course was the length of time spent studying multiple disciplines. 

Here at Durham, we get to spend two full years studying before we specialise! Not only was this a huge draw for me but it’s also a hugely attractive structure for employers, creating well rounded graduates with broad understanding and competencies across disciplines. A typical day here can have me studying analogue circuitry one minute and jet engines the next!

While I’m a huge supporter of this structure, the additional workload is not to be underestimated. Days can be long and contact hours are high but don’t let that put you off!  The lectures are engaging, course content is fascinating, and the tasks set are always fun to try and untangle with your course mates over a coffee. And, because every engineer takes every module, you get very close with your cohort.

Discover more

Our Department of Engineering offers a wide range of Engineering pathways, is recognised as ones of the leading centres of research in Engineering in the world and is ranked 5th in the UK in The Guardian University Guide 2022. Students benefit from excellent employment opportunities as well as interdisciplinary research and national and international cooperation.  

Feeling inspired? Visit our Engineering webpages to learn more about our postgraduate and undergraduate programmes. 

Create your own personalised prospectus here

Follow our students on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube

Jessica Kelly

Hi, I’m Jess! I’m a first year Engineering student in Van Mildert College. I came to Durham from Ireland and have been having a blast getting to know my college, university and the UK!

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