MEng Mechanical Engineering

The course

UCAS code
5 years
Delivery type


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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 1st in Scotland and top 10 in the UK for Mechanical Engineering 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.

Programme 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 5-year MEng degree is the standard route towards 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 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.

Industry links

Our industrial connections form the backbone of our degree. 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 being 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 practical engineering solution for a problem impacting their organisation. Students present their design project to the industrial panel who asses the work as clients would, providing professional feedback and advice. 


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.


Mechanical Engineering 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. 


Accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.



Students on this degree can follow a specialist route combining the study of mechanical engineering and energy engineering through the choice of specific optional courses.

Student profile

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


Mechanical Engineering with Energy Engineering
By choosing optional courses, you can gain the skills to tackle innovative and challenging professional tasks associated with energy provision and utilisation. You will learn to take responsibility for decision-making in areas related to energy and the environment. Building on a sound engineering foundation, you will be introduced to specialist energy topics as well as environmental impact assessment and management.


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.

Year 5

Students may register from Level 1. Entry is offered to those whose performance at the end of Level 3 places them in the upper part of the class. Students study multi-disciplinary topics in Engineering and undertake a group project.


Work and study

This is what our MEng Mechanical Engineering students are doing 15 months after graduating:

  • 85% are working
  • 5% are studying
  • 5% are working and studying.

In highly skilled work

  • 80% of those are in highly skilled work 15 months after graduating.


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


These are the most common jobs students go into 15 months after graduating:

  • Engineering professionals
  • Business and public service associate professionals

Entry requirements

Year 1

Standard entry requirements 

  • Highers AAAB (including Mathematics and Physics with one at A)
  • A-Levels BBB - AAB (including Mathematics and Physics)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 30 points (including Mathematics and Physics at Higher Level 5)
  • BTEC DDM in Engineering
  • HNC A in graded unit (in relevant HNC, Eng Mathematics 1 and Eng Mathematics 2)

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers BBBC (including Mathematics and Physics or Engineering Science BB)
  • 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 AAAB)
  • A-Levels AAB (including Mathematics and Physics with one at A)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 34 points (including Mathematics and Physics at Higher Level 6)
  • HNC A in graded unit (in relevant HNC, Eng Mathematics 2 and Eng Mathematics 3)

Year 3

  • HND AA in graded units (in relevant HND, Eng Mathematics 3 and Eng Mathematics 4)

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 2022 entry
Status* Scotland England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland** International***
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £20,584

* 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.

** 'Rest of the UK' (RUK) and Republic of Ireland students entering at Level 1 receive a fee waiver of one year's tuition fee. Normally this will be the final year, or a year during which students study abroad (either at a partnership institution, or at one of Heriot-Watt's overseas campuses).

*** '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 starting undergraduate degree courses in 2021

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 students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

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

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.