Most students who complete an undergraduate degree in the engineering and technology field complete a bachelor of engineering in order to qualify as a professional engineer. These four-year degrees are regulated by Engineers Australia and allow students to specialise in a specific engineering discipline, such as aerospace, civil, chemical, computer systems, electrical, electronics, environmental, mechanical, mechatronic or mining engineering. There are also three-year bachelor degrees available in engineering technology and engineering science, which prepare students for more practical careers as engineering technologists (who support professional engineers). In addition, two-year associate degrees in engineering are also available to prepare students for careers as associate engineers.
For those students who do not want to enter into a career as a professional engineer, there are also a number of undergraduate courses and specialisations available in related technology fields such as aviation, metallurgy, maritime operations and motorsports.
Double degrees are very popular, with many students choosing programs that combine engineering and technology with complementary fields such as architecture, commerce, computer science, law and science. Another interesting option is to complete a cooperative (co-op) degree, which combines study with paid practical experience. Co-op degrees can be very competitive to enter, admitting only a small number of students.
Graduates of undergraduate 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 may require the completion of prerequisite studies in mathematics and science in secondary school. For more information about undergraduate courses and entry requirements, see Higher Education — Undergraduate.
Where to study
Undergraduate engineering and technology courses are offered at most universities in Australia, as well as at selected private colleges and TAFE institutes. Note that some specialisations may only be available at a limited number of institutions or better executed in certain parts of the country (Western Australia and Queensland for mining and petroleum engineering, for example).
The course you choose will usually depend on the specialisation that most interests you — whether this is a specific stream of engineering or a technology degree leading to work in a related industry. Not all specialisations are available at all institutions, so check course guides to make sure courses you are considering cover the areas of engineering and technology that interest you most. Your choice will also depend on your career goals, such as if you want to become a professional engineer (and if so, which type of engineer). Within each specialisation, engineering degrees accredited by Engineers Australia do not differ greatly in terms of course content, offering a core curriculum that is determined by the requirements of the industry.
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). Work experience opportunities are also important in this field, so check course outlines and contact institutions to see whether industry placements are integrated into the course (through a co-op course structure that combines work with study, for example).