Any form of engineering degree is already an excellent qualification to have, and is very rightly well respected more or less anywhere in the world. The special thing about an engineering degree is that it’s not only proof of applied intelligence like any other degree – it’s also a display of practical, hands-on know-how. This particularly applies to automotive engineering graduates, and anyone who holds that degree should be feeling pretty pleased with themselves.
Studying Automotive Engineering
Taking that next step into a postgraduate course is something surprisingly few engineers actually take up – most move onto work straight away and don't pursue the dreaming spirals of academia. Which is a shame as the engineering world constantly has new and exciting real-world problems that are often solved as a postgraduate project and look excellent on anyone’s CV. Not only that, a postgraduate course like an MSc takes the student that one step further towards a PhD, and who doesn’t want to call themselves a Doctor? Point of interest: Ph.D. means "Doctor of Philosophy", from the original ancient Greek meaning of Philosophy - "lover of wisdom". What a qualification to have.
Not only do postgraduate students usually begin jobs on a significantly higher pay than graduates, they have greater stability and are considered first for any kind of promotion or bonus. It's a good gig; and is well worth the extra year or so of education.
Expect to be specialising a lot more than in previous years when you study a Master's or a similar degree. Therefore, the choice of university is more important than it was when you began your undergraduate program. Chances are that in the last year of your degree you began to get a feel of what areas of automotive engineering you enjoyed. If there was one you specifically enjoyed, consider studying for a Master's under the professor who taught it.
If your heart's set on one specific field, the key is to research as much as possible: see who produced the recent papers or projects on that field and see what professors across the country specialise in and whether or not they’re open to Master’s students.
Usually a first or second class Honours degree or equivalent in engineering, mathematics or an applied science is required to go on to study a MSc in Automotive Engineering.
In some cases where you do not fulfil the standard entry requirement it may be possible to apply for a Pre-Masters programme which will qualify you for entry to the course. It is advised that you check with the university if they offer Pre-Masters courses for Automotive Engineering.
Some postgraduate degrees in Automotive Engineering may require students to attend an entrance interview. To help you understand postgraduate interviews we have put together an article for the top 10 questions that are likely to pop up and the best ways that you can answer them: Top 10 Postgraduate Interview Questions.
Automotive engineering graduates are expected to be working at the higher tiers of the industry - which is pretty lacking in degrees - as developmental mechanics or as part of a development team. If they prefer to get their hands a little dirty, they can work as general automotive mechanics. Many go into an entirely different discipline altogether - engineering is a wide field, and is sought after massively by many different employers.
Postgraduate qualifications in automotive engineering give students the space to choose what to specialise in, and therefore allows them to get interesting, high-end, well-paying jobs in original areas when they finish studying. The engineers that work on Formula 1 cars or lead teams in developing the latest hybrid engine won’t just have a normal degree - chances are many of them will have a postgraduate qualification.