BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering

The course

UCAS code
4 years
Delivery type

Our fully accredited BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering gives you practical engineering knowledge to design and build sustainable mechanical systems and technologies. This diverse and versatile programme touches almost every aspect of modern life.


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The BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering encourages you to think creatively to solve the world's biggest challenges. From energy efficiency to tools for microsurgery, there is a need for mechanical engineers across a huge range of industries.  

Heriot-Watt has been ranked 1st in Scotland for General Engineering (The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2023). 

The programme focuses on the core principles of Mechanical Engineering including:

  • Fluids,
  • Design and manufacturing,
  • Dynamics,
  • And thermodynamics.

Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. You'll learn how to engineer solutions that are environmentally, financially, and socially sustainable. Some examples include:

  • Designing turbines to generate electricity from geothermal or nuclear sources,
  • Creating heat pumps to replace gas boilers for a more efficient alternative,
  • Increasing the efficiency and performance of aircraft and transport,
  • And improving medical engineering and nanotechnology.

Throughout the degree, you’ll have access to our high-spec labs across all our engineering disciplines. You'll develop fundamental lab skills as well as the ability to work across multidisciplinary teams. This will be crucial as the degree progresses and becomes increasingly specialised.

You'll work with students across our engineering programmes including in group project work. There is also an opportunity to choose from a range of optional courses in specialist engineering topics that interest you.

As well as providing you with fundamental knowledge of mechanical engineering, we'll prepare you for a successful career in industry by helping develop transferable skills. For example, team working, professional presentation skills, and technical writing. The programme also will help you gain skills in business and develop a solid understanding of global issues such as product life-cycle sustainability and financial viability.

We have engaged student societies such as the Mechanical Engineering Society and Team Aero-Watt. The HW Racing (Formula Student) Society design, build, seek sponsorship and race a single-seat, rear-engine racing car. This is part of the global iMechE Formula Student competition which takes place at Silverstone each year.

Many of our students progress to our MEng Mechanical Engineering programme (an additional one year of study). This is the standard route toward a Chartered Engineering professional qualification.

Our links with Industry

Our Industrial Advisory Board is a panel of engineers and business leaders. We work with them closely to ensure that our course content reflects the needs of industry and employers. This means you'll gain the right blend of knowledge, practical skills, and soft skills.

It ensures our curriculum is up-to-date and relevant to emerging needs and technological requirements.

As part of your practical project in Year 4, you'll solve an engineering problem affecting a real business. You'll present your design project to the industrial panel. They’ll assess the work as clients would, providing professional feedback and advice.

Our facilities

We offer hands-on experience in our flexible laboratories and workshops. With access to the latest technologies and industry-standard equipment, you'll have an opportunity to learn basic skills in manufacturing. 

Some examples of our equipment include:

  • 3D printers,
  • Air conditioning units used to demonstrate manipulation of air,
  • High-speed wind tunnel rig to simulate the flow found in rocket nozzles or in the oil and gas industry,
  • Torque testing for mechanics of materials.

Our research

The Institute of Mechanical, Process and Energy Engineering promotes excellence across its main research themes: Biomedical Engineering, Energy Harvesting and Conversion, Multiphase Flow and Digital Engineering.

We are a leader in promoting energy activities through our Energy Academy - a virtual centre connecting all energy-related research across the University.

Global College foundation pathway for Mechanical Engineering

If you do not meet the entry requirements for BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering, you might consider foundation entry with Heriot-Watt Global College, where you can follow our Engineering with an Accelerator Programme pathway which will get you onto the second year of this programme.

This collaboration allows the curriculum to be regularly updated to include emerging technological needs. A recent example is the inclusion of the optional biomedical engineering course offered in Years 4 and 5.

The Industrial Advisory Board also plays a direct role in Year 4 when they challenge our students to come up with a practical engineering solution for a problem impacting their organisation. Students present their design projects to the industrial panel who asses the work as clients would, providing professional feedback and advice.  


Our graduates are in high demand and have excellent prospects. They work internationally for organisations such as:

  • Mercedes,
  • Babcock Marine,
  • McLaren,
  • Shell UK,
  • Halliburton,
  • QinetiQ. 

Mechanical engineers work across many sectors including manufacturing, oil and gas, aerospace, and automotive engineering.  There is also significant demand in emerging industries such as energy and renewable energy, medical engineering, and nanotechnology.

Work and study

After graduating from this course, 90% of our BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering degree students are usually working, studying or working and studying just 15 months after graduating (Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20).



This programme is accredited by IMechE.

Students completing an IMechE accredited degree are deemed to have met part or all of the academic requirements for registration as a Chartered or Incorporated Engineer and are in a strong position to move on to achieve professional engineering status after a period of initial professional development in industry.

Fiona Cervoni

I really enjoyed being able to apply the theoretical knowledge to the practical assignments in the labs. The lecturers are so supportive and their knowledge in their own fields is really inspiring.

Fiona Cervoni, Alumni, MEng Mechanical Engineering

Course content

Year 1

Semester one

  • Mechanics, Fields and Forces
  • Introduction to Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering in Context (one)
  • Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists (one)

Semester two

  • Waves and Matter
  • Mechanical Engineering in Context (two)
  • Introduction to Mechanical Engineering
  • Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists (two)

Year 2

Semester one

  • Design and Manufacture (two)
  • Fluid Mechanics (A)
  • Mechanics of Materials (A)
  • Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists (three)

Semester two

  • Electrical Power and Machines
  • Dynamics
  • Thermodynamics (A)
  • Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists (four) 

Year 3

Semester one

  • Sustainable Development and Engineering Management 
  • Design and Manufacture (three)
  • Fluid Mechanics (B)
  • Mechanics of Materials (B)

Semester two

  • Design and Manufacture (four)
  • Vibration Analysis and Control Engineering
  • Thermodynamics (B)

You'll choose one optional course from: 

  • Automotive Technologies (one)
  • Energy Studies

Year 4

Semester 1

  • Engineering Design
  • Project one

You'll take two optional courses from:

  • Fluids (one)
  • Advanced Mechanics of Materials (one)
  • Dynamics (one)
  • Heat Exchangers and Heat Transfer
  • Introduction to Petroleum Engineering

Semester two

  • Engineering Manufacture
  • Project two

You'll take one optional course from:

  • Fluids (two)
  • Advanced Mechanics of Materials (two)
  • Dynamics (two)
  • Robotic Mechanical Systems
  • Advanced Thermodynamic Applications

Discover Uni course data

Discover Uni provides data on each university's degree courses across a range of measures including student satisfaction, graduate jobs and salaries.


Work and study

This is what our BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering students are doing 15 months after graduating:

  • 76% are working
  • 3% are studying
  • 14% are working and studying.


  • The average salary of students 15 months after graduating: £28500
  • The average UK salary of students 15 months after graduating from a similar course: £29000

Potential career paths

  • Engineering professionals

Entry requirements

Year 1

Standard entry requirements for the first year of our BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering degree are as follows:

  • Scottish Highers of AABB (including mathematics and physics with one at A)
  • A-Levels of BBC - ABB (including mathematics and physics BB)
  • 29 international Baccalaureate points (with mathematics and physics at Higher Level 5)
  • BTEC awards of DMM in Engineering
  • Higher National Certificate of A in graded unit (in relevant HNC including Engineering Mathematics 1, 2 and 3)

Minimum entry requirements for the first year of the course include*:

  • Scottish Highers of BBBC (including B in Mathematics and Physics or Engineering Science at B)
  • A-Levels of BCC (including Mathematics and Physics with one at B)

*Under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for Scottish students depending on their circumstances. Our minimum requirements will apply if you live in an area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20), or are care experienced.

We can also make exceptions for some Scottish students with grades above minimum but below standard. Read more about our Minimum and standard entry requirements.

Year 2

Standard entry requirements for the second year of our BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering degree are as follows:

  • Advanced Scottish Highers of AB (including Mathematics and Physics plus Highers at AABB)
  • A-Levels of AAB (including Mathematics and Physics with one at A)
  • 34 international baccalaureate points (with mathematics and physics at Higher Level 6)
  • Higher National Distinction of AA in graded units (Must be relevant subject and include SQA Engineering Maths 1,2,3 & 4)
  • Global College Successful completion of our Engineering with Accelerator Programme

Year 3

Entry to Year 3 is only available via our associate student partnership college route. 

Additional information

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you have to show that your English is good enough to succeed on your course.

Please see our English language requirements for further information.


Tuition fees for 2024 entry
Status* Scotland England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland International**
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £24,048

* Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.

** 'International' includes applicants from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in UK. (This does not include students from the Republic of Ireland - see above). Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your studies at Heriot-Watt over and above tuition fees in an academic year. Depending on your programme of study, these may include: protective equipment, field trips, professional memberships, studio fees, required course texts or other study resources.

Scholarships and bursaries

Featured scholarships

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales

In addition to government loans and grants towards the costs of fees and living costs, we are offering generous financial support to attract and support eligible undergraduate students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

  • Heriot-Watt University Bursary (up to £3,100 per year)
View details about the Heriot-Watt University Bursary

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.