What do I need to know about studying Engineering abroad?

The quickest and easiest way to become a Chartered Engineer (CEng) is to obtain a MEng degree followed by a period of initial professional development undertaken as a graduate engineer working in industry. So if you’re study engineering in the UK, it's quite common to study a four-year MEng qualification. To gain chartered status after a BEng degree you will have to complete a period of further learning, which could be a full-time postgraduate course or part-time study while you are working.

Throughout the rest of Europe the MEng route does not exist. To reach the same point you would need to take a 3-year BSc or BEng followed by a Master’s degree that will typically last 2 years. This difference in approach can mean that it is difficult to switch from a UK degree to a European master’s upon completion of a bachelor’s degree.

Why should I study Engineering at postgraduate level?

Internships and specialist skills are two key attractions of a master’s degree in engineering.

Many universities offer internships as part of their master’s programmes, especially those last for two years, making their students more appealing to employers. Through those internships, you will not only advance your technical skills and commercial competencies, but also get the chance to establish professional network before graduating.

Postgraduate study also enables you to gain expertise required for entry into various fields of engineering, such as biomedical engineering, chemistry engineering and electrical engineering.

An often-overlooked aspect of master’s is research capabilities. Research experience might not bring you direct career benefits, but is substantial evidence of self-discipline and analytical skills.

Does it make sense to study Engineering abroad?

Depending on the branch of engineering you study, you can expect to have a very international career ahead of you.

Engineering firms are increasingly global in their operations, running overseas projects that require skilled engineers and project managers. As a young engineering, you might find yourself working on projects all around the world. It’s therefore important that you have a global perspective and international experience. Earning a master’s degree overseas is one way to achieve this.

If all of this sounds good, you might wonder what the best places to study engineering are. American universities are consistently placed very high in the QS Rankings of Top Universities for Engineering, so there's no doubt that most engineering students consider the USA as the most desirable destination. Nevertheless, here we will focus on a few non-traditional study destinations in Europe, where you can find more affordable options for an engineering master’s degree taught in English.

Study Engineering in Denmark

If you are aware of the challenges facing an engineering graduate in a fast changing work environment, a Danish master’s degree would suit you the most. As an EU citizen, you will receive such innovative education in Denmark without paying tuition fees.

Teaching and learning at Danish universities highlight problem-based project work and put students at the center of their education. Traditionally, engineering degree courses tend to place very little emphasis on the investigation of real engineering problems, in favor of introduction to technical theories. The problem-based pedagogical approach, however, enables you to work in groups on engineering problems and simulate situations as if you were employed in the industry.  It is thus appropriately structured for training engineers.

Moreover, your postgraduate study could pave the way for your employment in Denmark. Denmark is currently in urgent need of qualified engineers as a result of rapid growth in various industrial sectors such as energy, pharmacy and biotechnology. According to the Danish Society of Engineers, Denmark will need roughly 14,000 engineers by 2020, and holders of master’s degrees are particularly attractive to Danish companies.

Study Engineering in Germany

The “Made in Germany” success story reaffirms Germany’s position as a global leader in the field of engineering. Areas where graduates are currently demand include mechanical, plant, automotive and building engineering. Engineering graduates also have good job prospects in information technology and telecommunications sectors, which require both engineering knowledge and an understanding of how digital technologies can be integrated in product development.

Munich and Stuttgart are two magnets for engineering students from all over the world due to the presence of major engineering employers in these cities. Munich houses the headquarters of many internationally known manufactures such as BMW and Siemens. It is also a hub of software and biotechnology firms, including Microsoft. On the other hand, Stuttgart is home to small and mid-sized companies where young engineers receive lots of support to start their careers. Many famous German car brands such as Daimler and Porsche, as well as major corporations like Bosch, Kodak and Lenovo are based in the city. Moreover, with strong connections with the industry, universities in Munich and Stuttgart are very favorable to scientific and engineering innovations. This is an ideal learning environment for engineering students.

German public universities waive master’s tuition fee. This means you just need to pay for the living expenses during your study, which we estimate will be roughly EUR 794 per year. In return to this small investment, you will earn between EUR 38,000 and EUR 47,000 per year as a graduate engineer.

Study Engineering in the Netherlands

The Dutch are experts in hydraulic engineering, so it’s no wonder that the Netherlands is the best place to study flood control and protection, foundation technology and infrastructure. The chemical industry also makes a significant contribution to the country’s economy, and engineering graduates from Dutch universities are prepared academically and professionally to work at leading chemical companies such as AkzoNobel, Shell, DSM, Purac, MSD and ECN. Last but not east, the Netherlands is known for its commitment to and innovation in renewable energy engineering, a challenging yet attractive field for those who are interested in energy efficiency, wind energy, biomass processing and greenhouse farming.

The Netherlands has set a target of a reliable, sustainable and affordable energy system by 2050. To achieve this goal, it is investing heavily in innovation, design and public-private partnerships. As an engineering student at a Dutch university, you will be a part of this historic movement toward sustainability and benefit from intensive collaboration between manufacturers, specialized suppliers and universities.

Along with Denmark, Dutch universities offer the widest range of English-taught Engineering degrees in Europe and follow a problem-based teaching and learning approach.

In the Netherland, a master’s degree costs EUR 1,951at research universities, and around EUR 8,500 – EUR 10,500 at universities of applied sciences and private institutions.

One of the major advantages of doing your postgraduate study in the Netherlands is that you are entitled to full tuition fee loans if you are under 30 (see information on 'Collegegeldkrediet' on our loans and grants page). This means you can attain a master’s degree from a Dutch university even if you are not sponsored by employers, or do not have sufficient funding at an early career stage.

Examples of postgraduate opportunities in Engineering

The Netherlands

MSc in Biomedical Engineering, University of Groningen

MSc in Chemical Engineering, University of Groningen

Master in Control Systems Engineering, HAN University of Applied Sciences

MSc in Industrial Engineering and Management, University of Groningen

Erasmus Mundus International Master in Service Science and Engineering, Tilburg University (Netherlands), the University of Suttgart (Germany and University of Crete)

What grades do I need to get in?

Most master’s degrees in engineering are geared toward those with a background in engineering. Therefore, a relevant BEng or BSc degree is often the first and foremost entrance requirement.

However, postgraduate candidates are evaluated on a case by case basis, so it's worth checking with your chosen university, especially if you have professional experience that can indicate the background knowledge required for a postgraduate-level course in engineering.