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The Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering seeks to provide students with a knowledge of the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It combines physics, mathematics, general engineering under the umbrella of mechanical engineering. Studied will be the mechanics of products such as cameras and appliances, to highly complex industrial machinery, aircraft, and medical devices.
Graduates of the program find employment in the public and private sectors, with consultancies, research and development facilities, manufacturing industries, and varying levels and departments of governments. The development of real-world solutions to problems facing society is one of a mechanical engineer’s core duties, as is applying these innovations to fields of thermodynamics, defence, transportation, and robotics.
Students who complete this degree are eligible to apply for membership with Engineers Australia, as well as many other professional organisations.
Note: Mathematics is an essential element of this degree and it is highly recommended that students have an awareness of maths at either the Band 5 or HSC Extension 1 level.
This degree has a compulsory 12 week industrial experience element that is necessary for graduation.
For more information about mechanical engineering, visit the School of Engineering site.
Further Study Options
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of Honours, Research Higher Degrees (RHD), Postgraduate Coursework and additional study options available. These options may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the future options following a degree in Mechanical Engineering include:
Honours are embedded in the four years of the degree, and are awarded for outstanding performance in the program as a whole. For more information, see Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) (Honours).
As the global job sector can be competitive, it is of great advantage to complete a postgraduate qualification, particularly by independent research (such as Masters by Research, or PhD). See examples of research areas within the University’s mechanical engineering group here.
After completing a degree there are a broad range of postgraduate options available in a variety of fields which can allow you to specialise in a particular area of interest or build upon your existing knowledge base. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook.
Mechanical Engineers often work closely with other professionals, at times pooling expertise on particular projects. They are involved in a wide range of industries and may work in offices, laboratories, or outdoors on construction projects. The following is a list of specific position titles that graduates may find within this field. Access to these positions may depend on the amount, level, and focus of study and/or work experience undertaken.
- Aerospace Engineer
- Automotive Engineer
- Building Services Engineer
- Control and Instrumentation Engineer
- Fluid Dynamics Analyst
- Laser Engineer
Graduates are also able to use the transferable skills gained in their studies to work outside the mechanical engineering industries. In some instances, further study and/or work experience may be required.
As well as the jobs listed above, there are many positions outside the general field of Mechanical Engineering that graduates may pursue using the transferable skills gained in their studies. The list of job titles below shows examples of the type of jobs / careers graduates can diversify into; that might not necessarily be directly related to their degree.
- Acoustical Physicist
- Applications Engineer
- Contracts Administrator
- Finance Manager
- General Manager
- Graduate Programs - Public and Private Sectors
- International Aid/Development Worker
- Irrigation Engineer
- Mining Engineer
- Nuclear Engineer
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering graduates find employment opportunities in small, medium or large organisations of varying industries. Below are some examples of organisations that may recruit those holding this degree. Check employers’ websites for sections titled Employment, Careers, Graduate Programs, or for similar sections. Some employers may also offer vacation work opportunities.
- Abigroup (Australia)
- Aker Solutions (International)
- ANCA (International)
- Baker Hughes (International)
- Bechtel (International)
- BHP Billiton (Australia)
- BlueScope Steel (Australia)
- Boral (Australia)
- CB&I (Australia)
- Department of Human Services (Australia)
- Chevron (International)
- Connell Wagner (International)
- Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (Australia)
- Ford Motor Company (Australia)
- GHD (International)
- GM Holden Ltd (Australia)
- Hatch (Australia)
- Kellogg Brown & Rott (International)
- Laing O'Rourke (Australia)
- Monadelphous (Australia)
- NSW Department of Commerce (Australia)
- OPUS (International)
- Qantas (International)
- Schlumberger (Australia)
- Sedgman (Australia)
- Snowy Hydro (Australia)
- Thales (Australia)
- Thiess (Australia)
- Tomago Aluminium (International)
- URS Corporation (Australia)
- Woodside (Australia)
- WorleyParsons (International)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
- APEC Engineer Register (Australia)
- Consult Australia (Australia)
- Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (Australia)
- Engineering Council UK (Australia)
- Engineers Australia (Australia)
- Engineers Canada (Australia)
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Graduate Attributes and EmployabilityBachelor of Mechanical Engineering graduates will have the skills, abilities and knowledge sought after by a broad range of employers. On completion of the degree, graduates can expect:
- A sound knowledge of engineering fundamentals and the sciences which underpin them.
- An in-depth technical competence in at least one of the engineering specialisations.
- The necessary skills to apply technologies and resources in engineering problem solving.
- An appreciation of the broad range of issues which impact on the Engineering domain as a component of our society.
- An ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution.
- An understanding of social, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities and the need to employ principles of sustainable development.
- An ability to utilise a systems approach to complex problems and to design and operation performance.
- A proficiency in Engineering Design.
- An ability to conduct an engineering project.
- An understanding of the business environment and the ability to employ business principles within engineering projects.
- An ability to communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large.
- An ability to manage information and documentation.
- A capacity for creativity and innovation.
- Understanding of professional and ethic responsibilities and a commitment to them.
- An ability to function effectively as an individual and in multidisciplinary and multicultural teams, as a team leader or manager as well as an effective team member.
- A capacity for lifelong learning and professional development.
- The ability to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes of a professional engineer.
You will recognise these attributes in the selection criteria listed in the following job ads.
Sample Job Ads & Tips
Job ads provide useful information about the job and the required skills, experience and qualifications. Information like this is useful in career planning. Below is a small sample of job ads with tips on planning and job applications; explore further to gather more useful information for your planning.
Please note: the job ads listed on this page are not current and were sourced from a variety of websites in 2010.