University subject profile: electronic and electrical engineering

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University subject profile: electronic and electrical engineering

What you’ll learn
If you want to create a green energy revolution, build AI robots or develop the next generation of self-driving cars, an electronic or electrical engineering degree could be for you.

You will learn how the industry works and gain the skills and technological knowledge needed to design, assess and improve electrical and electronic systems.

You may begin by learning the concepts and principles that are the foundation of engineering, before choosing an area to specialise in for the later years of your course. For electrical engineering students, these include energy generation and transmission, electrical installations, computer hardware or software, cyber security and signal processing. An electronic engineering course may involve modules in electromagnetism, digital electronic systems or mobile robotics.

How you’ll learn
Courses vary in length from three to five years, with your time split between lectures, tutorials and workshops, as well as practical sessions in the lab or computer workshops. You’ll hone your teamwork during group projects, so you’ll acquire the ability to argue your ideas, analyse those of others and work towards a common goal.

Ask universities about their links with industry: many offer sandwich placements that will see you graduate with real-world experience. Some offer a year abroad as part of your degree.

There will likely be a significant amount of coursework as part of your assessment, plus written exams.

Entry requirements
These vary. The more selective universities will require maths or further maths and usually physics. Further maths, computing or computer science, or design technology will help your application.

What job can you get?
There’s a huge demand for electrical engineering graduates, and starting salaries are high. Obvious job choices will be in electronics companies, telecommunications firms and satellite businesses, but the list could include software companies and even hospitals.

Work in the construction industry is another option, perhaps in consultancy, or for a security firm which needs new ways of protecting property. There will also be opportunities in the aerospace, automotive, energy and IT sectors.