Engineering - FAQs

What university study is needed to get a job in the engineering profession?

A typical Engineering degree is between four and five years. Either a Bachelor of Engineering (4 Years) or a Masters of Engineering (5 Years) is required for employment as an Engineer. As well as completing coursework, students must complete 3 months paid placement. This is a requirement of the governing body of all engineering courses, Engineers Australia. This ensures that students gain practical real world experience with guidance and supervision of industry.

What subjects are required to study engineering at university?

VCE Math Methods is a prerequisite for most engineering courses. However, it is important to check with each university to understand their specific course requirements.

A bridging course in Mathematics may be offered by some universities, to allow entry into an engineering course without Math Methods. 

What other subjects could help me in my understanding and preparation for a career in the engineering profession?

Physics is highly recommended as it forms the theoretical basis of engineering. Other VCE relevant subjects include Specialist Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Visual Communication and Design, Information Technology, Environmental Science, Product Design and Technology, and Systems Engineering, depending on what area of engineering appeals to you. 

VET can be another fantastic way to increase your understanding of engineering. Engineering relevant VET subjects include, Engineering Studies, Automotive, Building and Construction, Agriculture, Horticulture Conservation and Land Management, CISCO, Information Technology, Information and Communications Technology, and Laboratory skills. 

What ATAR score is required for engineering courses?

ATAR scores are a sign of the popularity of a course rather than the difficulty level, job opportunities that result or quality of the institution that provides them. The more people who apply for a course, the higher the ATAR score may become.

ATAR scores can change each year. The ATAR required to get into a course will vary according to the number of people applying and the quality of those students in terms of their personal ATAR.

The best way to get an idea of the ATAR scores of engineering courses  is to see what the different universities required for their courses last year. Visit our LEAP Program Partners page to find links to the LEAP partner universities in Victoria.  Each link takes you to a page that outlines how to search that university's courses. Alternatively you can search for courses and ATARs using the VTAC website. 

What advantages would doing an electronic engineering/computer science double degree have over a straight electronic engineering course (job wise, etc.)?

Electronics, computers and computer programing are all common in our modern society. How many items have you used today that contain electronics, computers and computer programing? The computer, tablet or phone you are probably reading this on is a start. Have you travelled in a car less than 20 years old? Or travelled by public transport. Did you get some money from an ATM or use a credit card? How about your microwave, dishwasher, washing machine and possibly even your refrigerator? What about the smart meter that monitors your electricity at home. Did you use Facebook? We could go on, and on ….

Both Electronic Engineers and Computer Scientists contribute to the production of systems vital to the running of our modern world. As such, graduates from either of these courses are well placed to get great jobs. Having a  double degree such as electronic engineering/computer science  will give a graduate strong skills in both areas and increase their job opportunities. Not only that, in a few years after graduating they are usually well placed to become team leader of electronic engineers and computer scientists, working on exciting an innovative projects. Plus getting very well paid at the same time.

How many different types of engineering will we experience at the LEAP ELP event?

Each Engineering Link Project (ELP) is different, as the activities run depends in part on the engineers available to facilitate them. In previous ELP events, activities provided have included aspects of: Aeronautical Engineering; Civil Engineering; Electrical Engineering; Environmental Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; and Mechatronic Engineering.

you can read more about our ELP events in the Engineering news section.

What skills and characteristics are well suited to engineering professionals?

The engineering profession requires a wide range of skills, these include:

  • Problem solving and Creativity. Engineers enjoy the task of solving problems and creatively come up with solutions to problems.
  • Critical Thinking, this is the way in which an engineer will ‘critically’ analyse and solve a problem. Communication Skills, an engineer needs to communicate with others their ideas and solutions. 
  • Planning and organizing, engineers work to deadlines; they must be able to plan and organise to ensure those deadlines are met.
  • Team work and Interpersonal skills, engineers need to work with other people to solve problems. Having good relations with fellow co-workers is important to ensure sure that the task is achieved. 

What is the best aspect of mechatronics engineering?

Different people like different aspects of their chosen field of engineering.

Here is a quote from a mechatronics student which may give you a sense of why they like their studies: “Seeing your robotic system come to life, knowing that you were responsible for its design and creation – it’s a great feeling.

What is environmental engineering?

Environmental is one of the many fields of engineering, and is largely involved with using science to make improvements to the natural environment – air, water and land resources.

Environmental engineering focuses on issues such as wastewater treatment, water management and erosion control, and also looks at combating existing environmental damage.

Environmental engineers work with biologists, ecologists and resource managers to develop environmentally friendly solutions.

Read about more the different types of engineering on our Engineering glossary page.

Would learning another language help me get a job in engineering?

Learning a language is a useful skill for any profession. It takes hard work and dedication to reach any level of communication in a foreign language, which looks great to future employers.

Learning another language can also open a range of options for future work in other countries.

If you enjoy learning a language at school, stick with it- it’s a desirable skills and you can often continue with your language once you reach university as well.

What type of engineering would suit me?

This really depends on your interests. There is no point in pursuing a career (be it in engineering or some other field) in an area you don’t find interesting because:

  • you are unlikely to perform at your best,
  • you will probably just find your job dreary and may even end up hating it. 

To help you decide what will suit you, we recommend that you go to as many university Open Days, career expos etc. with the aim of finding the career and course that best suits you.

Above all don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Which area of engineering is typically paid the highest?

This is not a straight forward question to answer as engineering pay rates, particularly at the high end, move around a lot depending on the type of big projects currently in development and the supply of readily available engineers in particular disciplines currently in high demand. What applies this year or even this month may be different next year or even in a few months time, and will certainly be different between when a student starts an engineering course and when they finish it. In general engineers are well paid with respect to most professions.

We highly recommend that you choose a branch of engineering that really interests you. If you are interested and engaged in the course you are studying at university (be it engineering or otherwise) it is more likely that you will perform at your best and thus be best place to get a good job.

If you wish to check out the latest data on engineering pay rates try these web sites:

What jobs lead out of a civil engineering course?

A civil engineering degree prepares you to work in various engineering areas, from council planning, building and infrastructure design and construction to project management. Examples of jobs you may work in are: Building Control Surveyor; Building Services Engineer; Engineering Geologist; Quantity Surveyor; Site Engineer; Structural Engineer; Water Engineer.

Does it matter what university I study at when it comes to seeking employment (will bosses make decisions upon where I studied)?

Employers will be interested in your knowledge, skills and experience in whatever field of engineering you are seeking employment in. All universities produce graduates with a varying range of talents. Through the interview and selection process employers will be seeking to identify the applicant(s) that best fit their job requirements.

The important thing when choosing a university engineering course is to find one that is of interest to you, has good facilities and in taught in a style that will assist you to achieve your best. While the fundamentals of engineering taught at universities are accredited by Engineers Australia and are basically the same, some courses will have larger classes, others smaller; some courses will have a little more theoretical focus, others a little more practical focus; some offer a wider range of electives than others.

Go to as many university Open Days, career expos etc. with the aim of finding the course that best suits you.

Above all don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Which area of engineering will have the most opportunities in the future?

As we don’t have a crystal ball (or a TARDIS) to peer into the future, we can’t really answer this question. However, engineering is a vital part of our modern society, and that only looks like increasing in the future.

So the prospects for careers in all of the following areas remain high in the foreseeable future. Aerospace Engineering; Agricultural Engineering; Biomedical Engineering; Building Services Engineering; Civil Engineering; Chemical Engineering; Coastal and Ocean Engineering; Computer Engineering; Electrical and Electronic Engineering; Environmental Engineering; Industrial Engineering; Marine Engineering; Materials Engineering; Minerals and Metallurgical Engineering; Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering; Mining Engineering; Risk Engineering; Resource Engineering; Robotics and Mechatronics Engineering; Software Engineering.

Read about more the different types of engineering on our Engineering glossary page.

Which is the most popular field of engineering?

This is difficult to answer as there are now a wide variety of engineering disciplines beyond just the historical four mainstream engineering fields of chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering.

However, according to the Engineers Australia “The Engineering Profession a Statistical Overview” 9th Edition 2012 the clearly defined engineering specialisation with the most students commencing a four year bachelor degree is Civil Engineering, followed by Electrical & Electronic Engineering, then Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

University study - FAQs

Is it worth attending university Open Days?

Yes, they are well worth attending because you can find out all about a university you're interested in attending and get advice that can help you make the right choices for your future. They can be great fun as well! Check out our Open Day hints and tips.

How long will I have to study at university?

It depends which course you choose. Study durations for different professions and career roles can vary. As a general rule, a Bachelor degree is awarded after three years of full-time study. Some degrees incorporate a fourth year, or an Honours year if you intend to pursue certain professions.

In some professions, full professional accreditation or practise certification requires you to complete further study, such as a Postgraduate course, a Masters degree. In some cases a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) can be advantageous. But you don't need to aim that high at first - a Bachelor degree will give you opportunities to get going in many professions, then you can build your qualifications up over time while working your way up in your chosen profession. 

Some courses also offer internships or paid industry placements, so you will be getting the hands-on experience many employers are looking for at the same time as you are studying.

If you chose to study a double degree (two degrees at once) this will take longer but not as long as studying two separate degrees one after the other.

Check out the course guides for your preferred courses/ universities for more detail. For links to all of our partner universities' LEAP Landing pages and their course listings, go to our LEAP program partners page. Then chat to your school's Careers Coordinator.

What does it cost to study at university?

The cost varies between institutions and courses. Depending on whether you are offered a Commonwealth supported or a fee paying place, you will need to contribute financially to the cost of your study but the amount and timing will vary. A detailed explanation of available options can be found at the QILT website on the For Students page. Further information about help with fees is available on the Study Assist website.

What does 'full-time' study involve? Is the uni study year the same as school?

The standard full-time study year comprises two semesters each of around 12 weeks of teaching, one week for study break, and an exam period or final assignment submissions over the following four weeks (approx 34 weeks in total). The study year generally runs from early March to late June then late July to mid-November.

Some courses at some universities may be structured differently or flexibly. For example, Deakin University runs three trimesters each year. A third semester or internship during the summer or semester breaks may be available to reduce the total period for completion of the course if you want to fast-track it. 

You need to check specific dates and course structure options at each university you're considering when researching your preferred courses. For links to all of our partner universities' LEAP Landing pages and their course listings, go to our LEAP program partners page. 

Do I have to study for three years continuously?

Flexibility of study is a feature of most university courses, allowing you to study part-time or defer (take a break from) your studies, if for example you need to work to support yourself or want to take a gap year. Provided you meet any satisfactory progress rules, you may be able to study fewer subjects in some semesters, or even apply to defer study for a semester or a year, to get relevant experience through work or travel. It is important to check with the university and course you wish to study, so you know the options available.

How does learning at uni take place? What expectations are there? 

Learning at uni can be in many different forms. There are lectures and tutorials (tutes) but you might also attend labs, seminars, practical classes or even online classes. Attendance is not compulsory for most classes but it is for some. It is up to you to do your individual study away from classes and hand in your work on time. Lecturers and tutors will not be reminding you every minute to do your readings or hand in your assignments. Learning at uni is really all about the effort you put in – and that will be reflected in your marks.

If lectures can be viewed online, do I have to attend lectures in person?

While it is true nowadays most lectures at uni are recorded and available online, there are real benefits from actually attending. These include experiencing the university atmosphere, the ability to meet your lecturers and fellow students as well as the chance to ask questions and seek clarification in class. This is a great way to practise some of your essential skills like communication, networking and good listening. Friends made during regular lecture attendance often become study buddies or form into study groups. 

LEAP - FAQs

Who should use the website?

The LEAP website is mainly for students in years 7 to 12, in Victorian schools. Pages for parents and teachers have relevant information about the LEAP program, and tips about getting the most out of the website for students.

Who can attend LEAP events?

LEAP activities are targeted towards school groups and students from LEAP priority schools

Applications from non-LEAP priority schools or students will be considered subject to available spaces and/or resources. LEAP priority schools are listed in the "Schools" dropdown in the online Application Form.

What is the cost of participation in LEAP events?

Participation in LEAP events is free for students from LEAP priority schools.

Is there travel support for students in need, so they don’t miss out on participating?

Support for the cost of travel may be available for students from LEAP priority schools where this cost is a barrier to participation. See travel support

Did my online application for a LEAP activity or event submit successfully?

After submitting your application, you should have seen a "Thank you" page, advising you that an automated email confirmation would be sent to your email address. If you didn't see the "Thank you" page and haven't received a confirmation email including the details of your application, you should contact us as you may need to resubmit your application. 

How can I keep up to date with what is happening in the LEAP Program?

Subscribe now for LEAP eNews and updates.

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