Engineering is one of the most popular majors for Malaysians to study and for good reasons too. There are a multitude of advantages to being an Engineer including prestige and a high salary. It is broad defined as the application of science to the optimum conversion of the resources of nature to the uses of humankind. In addition, there are multiple paths to becoming an Engineer.
As Engineering is the application of certain science, a background in science stream is preferred. Thus, having taken subjects such as Additional Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics in high school is usually required.
After high school, students who wish to study in public Malaysian Universities often continue their education in STPM which is also known as Form Six. The course is run by the Malaysian Examination Council, takes one and half years to complete and extremely cheap. Another option is the Malaysian Matriculation Programme. Students can register foe either a One Year Programme or a Two Year Programme (for science streams). Not only do students only have to pay registration fees, they are also given an allowance by the government. However, there is a limited amount of space available.
If you opt to pursue your studies in a private university instead, one of your options is pursuing A-levels. As it is administered by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), A-levels which take 1.5 to years are internationally recognized. In contrast, you can take a Foundation in Science or Engineering. This is a quicker route but is tailored more towards a degree programme in the same university. Thus, if you are sure which university you would like to pursue as well as which field of Engineering, a Foundation programme may be for you. However, if you are looking for more flexibility as well as to study overseas, A-levels could be more suitable. Read more about the differences between A-levels and Foundation, here.
Alternatively, you can opt for a Diploma in Engineering. The main advantages of a diploma compared to a degree is that it’s quicker (you can enter the workforce after only 2 to 3 years of study), cheaper, and has a lower entry requirement. The downside is that diplomas are not regarded as highly and are seen as a step below an undergraduate degree. As a result, you will earn a significantly lower salary and be less qualified for higher positions.
Additionally, there are less options for the various specializations of Engineering. The most common diploma is a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering or Electrical Engineering. However, you can continue your studies further in a degree programme after you acquire a diploma. Some universities allow you to skip the first year of study if you possess a diploma. To read more about the differences between diplomas and degrees, go here.
An undergraduate degree in Engineering usually takes 3 years but can go as long as 4. Degrees are classified as either a Bachelor’s of Engineering (BEng) or a Bachelor’s of Science (BSc). Also, a number of universities especially UK universities offer an integrated Master of Engineering (MEng), a programme where undergraduate level and postgraduate level study is combined. Hence, you earn your Masters along with your Bachelor’s. Thus, it will take 4 years instead of the usual 3 for a Bachelor’s and feature a higher more advanced level of curriculum.
Depending on the course, you may earn accreditation with an official Engineering Council or Board as you study. Through this, you will be registered as a Charted Engineer. Chartered Engineers enjoy better prospects, employability and earn higher salaries. In the UK, a Masters of Engineering (MEng) is the preferred method to become Chartered.
In Malaysia and UK, a pre-university course is required for an undergraduate degree. However, if you choose to pursue a degree in America either directly or through a 2+2 ADP (American Degree Program) credit transfer, you can study 4 years directly for your undergraduate degree.
Engineering is very wide field with multiple disciplines in it. The most common fields in Engineering are as follows:
Electrical Engineers create, design, test and oversee the building of electrical equipment. They understand electricity as a power source, and have the ability to create complex calculations and blueprints to harness that power. After designing, they oversee manufacture and test the devices.
Mechanical Engineers design power-producing machines such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines as well as power-using machines, such as refrigeration and air-conditioning systems.Mechanical engineers design other machines inside buildings, such as elevators and escalators.
Civil Engineers create, improve and protect the environment in which we live. They plan, design and oversee construction and maintenance of building structures and infrastructure, such as roads, railways, airports, bridges, harbors, dams, irrigation projects, power plants, and water and sewerage systems.
Your job duties as a chemical engineer would include researching new methods of manufacturing chemicals, creating the process by which gas or liquid components are separated, gathering estimates of the cost of production and designing and implementing safety procedures for employees working with potentially hazardous chemicals.
Aeronautical engineers work with aircrafts. They are involved primarily in designing aircraft and propulsion systems and in studying the aerodynamic performance of aircraft and construction materials.
Other options include Petroleum Engineering, Computer Engineering, Environmental Engineering and many more.
As stated above, a number of universities especially UK universities offer an integrated Master of Engineering (MEng) where you earn your Masters along with your Bachelor’s. This makes for a quicker and smoother transition. However, you can also further your studies with a Master of Engineering (MEng) or Master of Science (MSc). Master’s level degrees teach you more in-depth applied knowledge and ensure you become an expert in your Engineering field. Earning a Masters takes 1 to 2 years. There a numerous advantages to obtaining a Masters including higher employability and salaries.
At the doctoral level, PhD or EngD (Doctor of Engineering), the focus is more on research and academia. You will be guided by a or multiple supervisors during your study. In the end, you are required to submit a thesis that contributes a significant body of knowledge or understanding to your field of research. If you pursue a doctoral degree full time, it will take usually take 3-5 years while pursuing it part-time take 6-8.
Interested in Engineering? Check out our university page with a list of prestigious UK universities with official branches right here in Malaysia. University of Southampton and Heriot-Watt University both have distinguished histories in producing top Engineering majors. Also to find out which field of Engineering you should study, check out our fun short quiz.