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Study a graduate program in manufacturing and mechanical engineering

What will I study on a graduate program in manufacturing or mechanical engineering?

Manufacturing engineering is a discipline of engineering dealing with different manufacturing practices and the research and development of systems, processes, machines, tools and equipment.

A manufacturing engineering postgraduate course will provide you with up-to-date knowledge of manufacturing techniques and processes; applications of technology & quality tools and techniques to improve operations in the organisation.

You will develop an understanding of the concepts of manufacturing systems engineering, product and process development with an awareness of strategic management and operations.

A mechanical engineering postgraduate course will delve deeper into how engineers use the principles of physics and material science to analyse, design and produce new mechanical systems.

You can expect a graduate mechanical engineering program to cover modules in mechanical systems design, fluid dynamics and energy efficiency. Most postgraduate courses are highly vocational, so will include modules on project management and leadership.

Taught material is mostly a blend of case studies, group exercises, industrial visits, course work and assignments.

It is the skills learnt in this postgraduate course that will allow you to make an immediate contribution to a company's manufacturing capability and operation, and to ultimately progress into senior management positions.

Length of program

Depending on which country you study in, manufacturing and mechanical engineering postgraduate courses will vary in length. Here are some examples of country and length:

  • UK- 1-5 years
  • US – 2-3 years
  • China – 2-3 years
  • Canada – 2-4 years

Many Masters programs lead straight into PhDs, which will prolong your study by normally at least a further two years.

Entry requirements

It will almost always be necessary to have completed a relevant undergraduate course with at least a 2:2 honours before being accepted onto a Manufacturing or Mechanical Engineering postgraduate course.

It will also be beneficial, if not mandatory, if you have completed some relevant professional work experience, as this will enhance your knowledge of how studying leads to a professional job.

If you choose to study in a country with a different first language to your own, you may need to take a language course/test before admitted.

Career development

Engineers working in the manufacturing business are responsible for the safe and efficient planning, management and maintenance of production methods and processes, while mechanical engineers focus on producing the equipment required for production. Typical areas of work include:

  • Research
  • Design
  • Development
  • Production
  • Quality assurance

As well as the obvious manufacturing and technical roles, manufacturing and mechanical engineers are employed to support both sales and marketing, as well as reaching positions of technical, managerial and commercial leadership.

Manufacturing and mechanical engineering graduates can find careers in sectors such as:

  • Government bodies
  • Materials processing
  • Automotive
  • Electronics
  • Energy

If you work in a larger company, your work will be more structured and in a variety of sectors of the business. Larger companies will also be more likely to provide you with training and experience that will help you achieve chartered or incorporated engineer status.
Progression will depend on your own ambitions. You may choose to progress on a technical, management or commercial path.

Fees and funding

The cost of graduate manufacturing and mechanical engineering programs varies widely, depending on the country, the institution and the course. Furthermore, you may have to pay higher fees as an international student.

Here are some examples of countries and how much their average manufacturing and mechanical engineering postgraduate course will cost you:

  • UK £5,000 - £16,000 (national or international)
  • USA - $13,000- $30,000
  • China – RMB 17,000 - 36,000
  • Canada - $17,000 – $25,000

What to do next

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