BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering

The course

UCAS code
4 years
Delivery type

2023 Autumn Open Days

Get a feel for student life at Heriot-Watt. Attend subject talks, explore our facilities and speak to our friendly students and staff about Mechanical Engineering.


Got questions about this programme?

Contact our enquiries team.


Modern challenges require new and advanced technical solutions, and mechanical engineers are vital to achieving those solutions. It is the technical development of the world that drives us forward.  


Heriot-Watt University was ranked first in Scotland and top 10 in the UK for Mechanical Engineering courses by the Guardian University Guide 2020.  

We have also been ranked top 10 in the UK for Mechanical Engineering by the Complete University Guide 2021, the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021, and the Guardian University League Tables 2021.

Mechanical Engineering degree structure

The first two years of our Mechanical Engineering degree provide a grounding in the core disciplines of the subject, giving students essential knowledge to make informed decisions on their optional courses later in the degree. In Year 1, students work alongside peers from other science and engineering disciplines and have access mechanical labs, electrical engineering labs, chemical labs and physics labs. This provides fundamental lab skills as well as multidisciplinary teamworking skills which will be crucial as the degree progresses and becomes increasingly specialised.  

In Years 2 and 3, students begin practical lab and workshop sessions, learning the core principles behind the mechanical engineering subjects of dynamics, materials, fluids, thermodynamics and design and manufacture.  

As a part of your progression towards becoming a career-ready mechanical engineer, Year 4 (and 5, for MEng students) includes individual and group projects, supported by research-active members of staff. Students follow their own path through a wide range of optional courses designed to develop knowledge and skills in specialist subjects.  

Students can graduate at the end of Year 4 with a BEng Mechanical Engineering or progress to the MEng programme if academic grades are suitable. The five-year MEng Mechanical Engineering course is the standard route towards a Chartered Engineering professional qualification.

Our engineering degrees also develop soft skills which are highly valued by the industrial advisors and employers we work with. These important skills include teamworking alongside fellow mechanical engineers and students from other engineering disciplines, such as chemical and electrical engineering. Students gain skills for professional presentations and technical writing, and develop business awareness, covering issues such-as life-cycle sustainability and financial viability.

Mechanical Engineering and sustainability

Mechanical Engineers will help us to progress towards a more sustainable future with solutions for cleaner energy sources and improved efficiency.  

For example, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics, which are key to mechanical engineering, underpin the turbines used in generating electricity from geothermal or nuclear sources as well as the heat pumps which could replace gas boilers in homes across the UK as a more efficient alternative. Other developments gained through mechanical engineering will increase the efficiency and performance of aircraft and transport, and improve medical engineering and nanotechnology.

Industrial links

Our industrial connections form the backbone of our Mechanical Engineering course. We work closely with an Industrial Advisory Board, a panel of engineers and business leaders, to ensure that our course content reflects the needs of industry and employers to provide graduates with the right blend of knowledge, practical skills, and soft skills.

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.  

Mechanical Engineering course facilities

The University has recently invested £19m in the development of The Global Research Innovation and Discovery Centre (GRID) on our Edinburgh campus. The mechanical engineering discipline is one of the major stakeholders in this new building, utilising it to provide students with lab-based practical activities. Students have the chance to use the ‘Makers space’ with 3D printers and a laser cutter to rapidly prototype their own designs. In addition, our extensive teaching and research labs facilitate work in areas such as dynamics, materials engineering, and fluid mechanics.  


Our Mechanical Engineering course offers an exciting environment where many skills are brought together to create innovative products and the infrastructure and technology for manufacture. Recent Heriot-Watt graduates have progressed to working for organisations such as Mercedes, Babcock Marine, McLaren, Shell UK, Halliburton and QinetiQ.

As a mechanical engineer, you will deal with the design, development, optimisation, and operation of mechanical parts and systems. All industrial sectors value mechanical engineers, including manufacturing, oil and gas, aerospace, and automotive, as well as emerging areas such as energy and renewable energy, medical engineering, and nanotechnology.

Mechanical Engineering Research

We were ranked 1st in Scotland and 3rd in the UK for engineering research through a joint submission with the University of Edinburgh in REF 2021 which classed 96% of our research output as ‘world-class’.

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. Heriot-Watt University is the leader amongst UK universities in promoting energy activities through its ‘Energy Academy’, a virtual centre which connects all energy-related research across the University.

Global College pathway for this degree

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, have a look at Heriot-Watt Global College, where you can follow an accelerated pathway which will get you onto the second year of this degree.



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. For more details, please refer to this webpage: IMechE Accreditation

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

Emphasis is on developing basic mathematical, scientific and communication skills. Topics include Mechanical Engineering Science, Physics, Introduction to Electrical Engineering, Programming and Foundation Mathematics.

Year 2

Subjects include Strength of Materials; Machine Dynamics; Applied Thermodynamics; Fluid Dynamics; Materials Engineering; Design and Manufacture; Control Engineering; and Instrumentation.

Year 3

Subjects include Strength of Materials; Machine Dynamics; Applied Thermodynamics; Fluid Dynamics; Materials Engineering; Design and Manufacture; Control Engineering; and Instrumentation.

Year 4

Students choose specialist subjects from Fluid Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Strength of Materials and Machine Dynamics. Mandatory courses include a year-long individual project plus Engineering Design and Manufacture that includes an industrial project. Other options such as Petroleum Engineering and Automotive Technologies are available.

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:

  • 60% are working
  • 20% are studying
  • 5% are working and studying.

In highly skilled work

  • 65% of those are in highly skilled work 15 months after graduating.


  • The average salary of students 15 months after graduating: £27000
  • The average UK salary of students 15 months after graduating from a similar course: £28000

Potential career paths

  • Engineering professionals

Entry requirements

Year 1

Standard entry requirements 

  • Highers AABB (including Mathematics and Physics with one at A)
  • A-Levels BBC - ABB (including Mathematics and Physics BB)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 29 points (including Mathematics and Physics at Higher Level 5)
  • BTEC DMM in Engineering
  • HNC A in graded unit (in relevant HNC including Engineering Mathematics 1, 2 and 3)

Minimum entry requirements*

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

* Minimum: under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for some 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

  • Advanced Highers AB (including Mathematics and Physics plus Highers at AABB)
  • A-Levels AAB (including Mathematics and Physics with one at A)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 34 points (including Mathematics and Physics at Higher Level 6)
  • HND AA in graded Units (Must be relevant subject and include SQA Engineering Maths 1, 2,3 & 4) 
  • Global College Successful completion of Bachelors Degree Accelerator Foundation - Engineering and Science

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.


Tuition fees for 2023 entry
Status* Scotland England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland International**
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £22,264

* 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.