What can I do with my mechanical and marine engineering degree?

Discover employment and further study opportunities that you could consider once you graduate with a mechanical and marine engineering degree, and learn how you can stand out to graduate employers.

We encourage you to:

  • undertake career planning and research
  • build your networks, meet employers and graduates
  • gain essential work experience during your course
  • attend career fairs and events
  • continually develop your skills and knowledge
  • get involved with relevant clubs and societies
  • visit the Careers Service for advice.

Knowledge and skills

Your degree at Plymouth will equip you with the technical expertise, practical and transferrable skills that are highly sought-after by graduate employers. Learning from lectures, laboratory, practical sessions and projects you tackle real-world problems and will be:

  • Fully conversant with the professional responsibilities of engineers such as codes of conduct, environmental and ethical issues.
  • An effective problem-solver using logical thinking alongside creative approaches to arrive at innovative solutions.
  • Fully conversant with the latest, industry-standard Computer-aided Design (CAD) software.
  • Analytical and capable of applying numerical analysis tools to solve design problems.
  • Able to effectively plan, prioritise and schedule projects and tasks to meet deadlines and budgets.
  • Detail-focussed, exercising good judgement and accepting responsibility.
  • Adept at working in multidisciplinary teams as a result of carrying out group projects.
  • Confident and able to communicate with diverse audiences.

Career options

Your degree opens the door to graduate careers in a range of work sectors. The following overview from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers highlights some of the key areas that may be of interest.

Aerospace

Aerospace engineers are all about flight, whether that’s planes, missiles or rockets. They design more fuel-efficient aircraft that cut emissions, satellites that power modern GPS technology, and create the next generation of spacecraft. They also work on components that make up aircraft such as landing gear and engines. Specialist areas include:

  • Aerodynamics
  • Propulsion
  • Manufacturing
  • Materials and Structures
  • Avionics
  • Systems Integration

Automotive

Automobile engineers design, develop and produce vehicles and their constituent parts; the three main disciplines are:

  • retail vehicles
  • motorsports
  • mass transportation

Within these fields, an engineer will usually specialise in a particular working area, including bodywork, engine systems, fuel technology and emissions, electronics and control systems, fluid mechanics and aerodynamics.

Biomedical

Biomedical engineering, also known as medical engineering or bioengineering is the integration of professional engineering with medical knowledge of the human body. Mechanical engineers contribute to producing lifelike artificial limbs, pacemakers, artificial valves and even robotic surgical assistants as well as the running blades used at Paralympic events.

Construction and building

Major construction projects depend on mechanical engineers to focus on the details. This could mean designing the heating, cooling and ventilation systems for a 28-storey hotel, choosing the best way to deliver mains gas to an entire housing estate, or making sure a new metro tunnel project incorporates other services to make the most of under-city space.

Manufacturing

Whether it’s high-volume, mass-produced goods, or specialist, ultra-tech equipment, Mechanical Engineers create the machines and technology that design and produce the goods our growing population relies on.

Marine and maritime

A buoyant world trade, thriving leisure industry and the need for defence of nations’ coastal waters and overseas interests, all mean that ships, boats and other marine vehicles will continue to be required. New challenges, such as the need for environmental protection and security also impact on vessel technology. Mechanical Engineers provide innovative design, construction, installation and repair solutions for all kinds of marine vehicles as well as offshore installations.

Power

Mechanical engineers power the world by generating and delivering the energy we need. This could mean designing nuclear power plants or biomass boilers, planning new long-distance grid connections, or storing power sustainably in solar storage cells or giant hydroelectric ‘batteries’ buried under mountains.

Process

Process engineers assess mechanical processes and find ways to make them more efficient, safer, and deliver better quality. This means they directly affect almost every major mechanical industry in the world, from water supply and oil & gas through to pharmaceuticals and food manufacturing.

Railway

From track, signals and trains, to ticket barriers and tunnels; even elaborate control systems are the responsibility of engineers. New solutions are needed to deal with record passenger numbers worldwide, build thousands of miles of high speed railways, and develop faster propulsion methods.

Some of the occupations you could consider with a degree in Mechanical Engineering or Marine Technology include:

Researching your career options 

With a vast array of options open to you, it’s worth spending some time on researching your career options. Prospects and TargetJobs offer a great start with more detail available from the professional bodies such as the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and the Institute of Engineering and Technology.

Career and vacancy boards

Equality and diversity

Employment opportunities

Below is a snapshot of what some of our Mechanical and Marine Engineering graduates told us they were doing when they were surveyed 15 months after graduation.

  • Development Engineer
  • Engineering Officer
  • Graduate Automotive Engineer
  • Graduate Design Engineer
  • Graduate Engineer
  • Graduate Mechanical Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Graduate Project Engineer
  • Research and Design Development Engineer
  • Graduate Manufacturing Engineer
  • Weapons Engineer Officer Cadet

Over the years, our graduates have secured fulfilling roles with employers including:

*Data is from the Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18. Graduates were surveyed 15 months after graduating. Data displayed is for 24 UK-domiciled, first degree, full-time graduates who are working, studying or looking for work.

Further study

Some of the career pathways open to you may require further study or you may wish to specialise further or continue your studies in greater depth. The University of Plymouth offers the following postgraduate study options that could be of interest to Engineering graduates: 

You should consider the financial implications of further study as well as selecting a programme that suits your interests, learning style and future career direction. The following websites are a good starting point for exploring postgraduate options, but you may also benefit from talking to a Careers Consultant about your particular situation. 

It is also worth investigating what further study options the University has to offer as you may find the perfect course for yourself in an institution you already know. There are also sometimes financial benefits of staying on such as a fee discount to alumni, find out your funding options here.

Careers Service support

Careers Service support

Accessing support from the Careers Service couldn’t be easier, come along to the Careers Service Helpdesk in the Student Hub or access our 24/7 online resources.

There is a wide range of support available from skills workshops to events, placements and internships advice, 1-2-1 appointments and help getting started with LinkedIn.

Our bite-sized Skills Workshops can give your career the boost it needs. Choose from a range of topics:

  • effective career planning
  • job hunting techniques
  • finding part-time work
  • CVs and interviews
  • mastering LinkedIn
  • and more

Workshops are delivered by the Careers Service, however they are also an opportunity to learn from your peers, share experiences and ask questions. Visit myCareer to see the full range of activities and to book your place.

Connect with graduates

Connect with graduates

Build your network and job sector knowledge using LinkedIn’s alumni tool. This will allow you to see the career journeys of graduates from your programme, the qualifications they completed, the skills they developed and employers they worked for. You can then ‘connect’ with people of interest.

  • Search LinkedIn for ‘University of Plymouth’
  • click on ‘Alumni’
  • filter the results by subject, sector, company or location.

For more information about the alumni tool click on LinkedIn alumni tool guide. If you are looking for help to set up or learn how to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile, click on the LinkedIn guide for students or come to one of our workshops.

Alumni case studies

Other advice and guidance

Gain work experience

Getting relevant work experience is strongly encouraged by all employers and many employers in this sector offer structured work experience opportunities ranging from year-long placements to summer internships or experiences. Take a look at Gradcracker to get an insight into the different schemes offered by some of the major recruiters of Mechanical Engineers in the UK and beyond.

Other work experience options include working part-time while you study or getting involved with the volunteering opportunities offered by the University of Plymouth Students’ Union in the community.

Clubs and societies

Involvement with sports or societies shows employers you are engaged and seek out opportunities to develop. It also improves teamwork, communication and negotiation skills. Committee members develop leadership, diplomacy and organisational skills and will gain experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion.

You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to mechanical and marine engineering or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.

Tutor and academic support

Your tutor and other academic staff are an excellent source of support for your career development. They will have experience and contacts across industry and academia, so do approach them for advice and insights into careers you are considering. Your tutor will ultimately be writing references for your employment or further study applications, therefore establishing a positive relationship with this person is invaluable.