Postgraduate study in engineering and technology

Courses and specialisations

Engineering and technology is a highly specialised field at postgraduate level. Postgraduate students fall into three groups. The first group is made up of students who studied engineering at undergraduate level and have chosen to return to study, either to improve their job prospects or try out a new (or more advanced) specialisation. The second group includes those who studied a field other than engineering at undergraduate level and who would like to enter the profession (this also includes professionals from other industries wishing to change their career). The final group of students includes qualified engineers who want to upgrade their skills, learn a new discipline or qualify for management positions.

The list of postgraduate coursework degrees is extensive, with options available at graduate certificate, graduate diploma and masters by coursework level. In addition to standard programs such as the master of engineering (with options in the general disciplines such as civil, electrical and mechanical engineering), postgraduate technology degrees are available in areas ranging from aviation and rail operations to biotechnology and sustainable energy.

Research degrees are also popular in engineering and technology, including masters degrees by research, research doctorates and professional doctorates. There are also many specialised management degrees that are designed for professional engineers wanting to qualify for management positions, including the master of engineering management and the master of business administration (MBA) with an engineering specialisation.

Students often complete double degrees that combine engineering with studies in the business and management, computing and information technology or science fields.   

Graduates of postgraduate degrees in engineering may be eligible to complete Engineers Australia’s Professional Year Program (PYP). See Engineering and technology jobs in Australia for more information.

Applicants must meet academic and English language requirements, which vary between courses, institutions and qualification levels. Some courses require previous study or work experience in the field. For more information about postgraduate courses and entry requirements, see Higher Education — Postgraduate.

Where to study

Engineering and technology is a large and well-developed postgraduate field, with postgraduate degrees available at most universities in Australia. There are also some specialised private colleges that offer courses in this field. Note that some specialisations may only be available at a limited number of institutions or better executed in certain parts of the country (Tasmania for marine engineering, for example).

The course you choose will depend on your field of interest, your current qualifications and your intended career path. For example, if you are currently an engineer but want to explore a new specialisation, you could choose a short graduate certificate. On the other hand, a student with a non-engineering undergraduate degree could use a masters degree to enter the profession. Keep in mind that, while some courses are open to students without an engineering background, others are only open to those with a relevant degree or previous work experience. Also note that not all specialisations are offered at all institutions. Read course handbooks carefully to make sure you are eligible for admission and that your specialisation is offered.

Because this is a very technical field, it is important to research each potential institution to make sure that it has the equipment and facilities you need for your specific degree (such as laboratories, workshops and engineering software). Look out for courses that are recognised by the relevant industry associations, such as Engineers Australia.

If you are considering a research degree, we recommend investigating each university’s involvement in the industry and history of research in engineering and technology, as well as the knowledge and expertise of potential supervisors.

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