BlogUniversityWhat It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at ANU

What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at ANU

ANU Engineering - Fact Sheet

Do you have an interest in science, figuring out how things work and solving problems? It sounds like an Engineering degree at ANU might just be the next step for you! 

Today we’re going to talk about everything you could possibly need to know about Engineering (Honours) at ANU, from the assessments, to the culture, internships and degree requirements.

Let’s find out more!

What is a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at ANU?
Core Units and Majors
How to Get into a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at ANU
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at ANU?

Aside from the mathematical and scientific aspects of Engineering, ANU stands out especially for its multidisciplinary approach. Essentially, you aren’t just learning theoretical Engineering in this degree, but rather you’re taught to manage, design and plan large scale projects. 

This is a really great attribute to graduate with because a big part of engineering is managing and conducting a team to work on a project. 

ANU Engineering - Quote


As this degree has an Honours year attached to it, it takes 4 years of full-time study to complete. This is broken up into 3 years to complete your undergraduate degree and the fourth year is completing Honours.

To determine your entry into fourth year Honours, a weighted average mark (or a WAM) will be calculated based on your performance in subjects across all years. 

Career Paths

Engineering graduates are continually in demand, even in non-engineering related fields! It’s particularly common for Engineering students to find jobs in commerce and finance due to the levels of mathematical application and problem solving skills students are equipped with. 

So, there’s a vast array of choices when it comes to potential careers, but here are a couple to give you some ideas:

Core Units and Majors

With a Bachelor of Engineering at ANU, you spend first year and most of second year completing a range of subjects in a number of different major areas. This is to give you a taste of the different majors before having to decide — this is perfect if you have no clue what area you want to focus on! 

Consequently, there are a lot of core units to complete — more than the average Engineering degree. These core units range from Mathematics to Computing and Physics. 

What are the Core Units?

In Physics of Materials (PHYS1013) you look at atomic physics, thermodynamics and quantum mechanics to develop your understanding of the range of materials used by engineers.

Mathematics and Applications 1 (MATH1013) is one of the mathematics units you have to take in the first year. This unit involves mathematical concepts that can be applied to technology, engineering, economics and commerce. 

In your second year, you are still completing a number of core units. This includes Computer Architecture and Simulation (ENGN2219), which dives into the world of computer hardware. You learn a range of tools and computer systems throughout this subject which extends on first year units. 

What are the Majors?

As for majors, there are four that you can choose from:

Electronic and Communication Systems

This major focuses on mobile and communication technology which is exponentially increasing in our everyday lives! You learn about the theoretical components of modern communication systems in conjunction with the hardware and engineering structures used to facilitate this process.

Mechatronic Systems

Like Electronic and Communication Systems, a major in Mechatronic Systems is in response to the growing demand in this area. You explore areas of computer vision, control systems and robotics.

Renewable Energy Systems

This major brings together mechanical engineering and electrical engineering into the modern issues of renewable energy sources. You can also step deeper into this major by gaining specialist knowledge in areas of thermal and photovoltaic as part of solar energy. 

“We learn quite a lot about how renewable energy applies across the world, and how it’s growing globally. We look into the mathematical aspect, like how fast can heat transfer, or how much energy can a solar panel produce?” — Matt Duan

Environmental Systems

Also hugely relevant to our modern world, a major in Environmental Systems looks into the current issues of climate change, pollution and natural disasters. You also take into consideration a geographic, cultural and gendered viewpoint.


A great thing about Engineering (Honours) at ANU is that internships are compulsory, ensuring that you get the experience to help build your graduate qualities. 

“For the degree itself, you have to get engineering experience — it’s part of the requirements, so the uni helps you apply for internships.

“You complete a certain number of hours doing an internship and then write a report on it. It helps you gain experience in the management aspect of engineering as well.” — Matt Duan

How to Get into a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at ANU

A Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at ANU requires an ATAR of 85. Having studied a minimum level of Mathematics Advanced (or 2 Unit Maths) is required for this degree. 

Assumed Knowledge and Requirements

Physics, though not a prerequisite, is considered assumed knowledge for this course. It is also recommended that you study Extension 1 Mathematics (or 3 Unit Maths).

Further, ANU requires Year 12 students to show proof of co-curricular or service experience. This involves any extracurricular activities, leadership positions, casual work or volunteer experience you may have.

You can find out more about this requirement here!


There are a number of different scholarships offered specifically to Engineering students. This includes the Kim Jackson Scholarship for Female Engineers which is a monetary prize from female students from a non-metropolitan area. 

You can also apply for university-wide scholarships like the ANU All-Rounder Scholarship which is offered to 50 domestic students each year and is based on academic performance. 

Depending on your demographic, you may be eligible for a number of different scholarships which you can search for here.

What’s the Teaching Format?

ANU’s academic calendar is structured across semesters, and you would complete 4 subjects a semester if studying full-time. 

Class Structure

ANU Engineering - Class Structure


Within lectures, there can be up to 300 students, with up to 4 hours of content a week to cover. This can be broken into two, 2 hour lectures, or four, 1 hour lectures, where you learn concepts and theories that are at the centre of each subject. 


Labs typically have around 20 students and run for 1 to 2 hours a week or per fortnight. In labs you’re often completing experiments and writing reports on these.

They can also be combined into 4 hour sessions with your tutorial. You usually work in pairs or small groups for labs and they aren’t always compulsory to attend as sometimes only one group member is required to gather information for a project. 


In your tutes, there tends to be around 20 students and they go for 1 to 2 hours a week. However, participation is often marked or attendance is compulsory.

In tutorials you are applying the concepts you’ve learnt, to then solve problems and also complete problem sets for homework. Tutorials are also prime time for you to ask questions and get further assistance. 

How much time do you spend in class?

As for contact hours, or the amount of hours you spend in classes a week, it varies on the subjects taken and whether you choose to attend classes that aren’t necessarily compulsory.

Generally speaking, the contact hours for Engineering at ANU are on the heavier end, at around 16 to 20 hours a week for a full load of 4 subjects. 

What are the assessments like?

Although Engineering is traditionally very exam heavy, at ANU, Engineering has a balance of both assignments and exams. 

As there is the project management aspect of the degree, these subjects will often have more assignment and project-based tasks, specifically in-class presentations, reports and planning.

Contrastingly, the more maths and science focused subjects will have a mid semester and end of semester exam. 

“In Engineering you have a mid semester exam component, a final exam component worth 40 to 50%, and weekly lab reports often for the maths-based courses.

“For the management part of the degree, it’s essentially report writing and presentations with no exam component.” — Matt Duan

Skills That You Refine and Learn

ANU Engineering - Skills

Studying Engineering equips you with many skills that make you employable in industries beyond engineering. Some of the skills you gain in Engineering (Honours) at ANU are:

Problem solving

You train your brain to solve problems with an engineering frame of mind, and learn to work under a time crunch.

“Problem solving skills are a big one, especially problem solving within a time limit.” — Matt Duan

Critical thinking

In every aspect of engineering, you need to have critical thinking skills, and this degree prepares you for this! 

Team management

Particularly in the management aspect of the degree, you need to be able to work cooperatively. 

“In one of the later courses you deal with client and stakeholder involvement, and have to be able to meet their needs in a project.” — Matt Duan


Python is one of the more global coding languages and you take subjects to cover the foundations of it.


“Assembly is basically a writing program for circuit boards, and you learn the basics of using this program.” — Matt Duan

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

“Let’s break the stereotype that we’re all nerds! We have committees, social events, and activities. We’re not competitive — in fact, we’re more cooperative as a student group! As a cohort, we support one another in getting the most value out of a course.” — Matt Duan

Overall, the Engineering cohorts at ANU are considered more collaborative and friendly than one may assume! As content can become particularly difficult at times, you often rely on friends in the course to help you figure out new concepts. 


The main society for Engineering students is the ESA — Engineering Students Association at ANU. They provide a range of social events and a chance for you to meet other students in your cohort.

“In the lead up to exams they’ll have study sessions, like Friday study and pizza.” — Matt Duan

Societies are a great way to get involved and also meet new people. It makes a demanding, and at times stressful degree, a little more bearable knowing that you’ve got friends experiencing the same pressure! 

“If you don’t communicate with anyone else, if you don’t try to make friends in this degree you’re going to struggle. My advice is, you need to talk to people and you need as much help as you can get!” — Matt Duan

Resources, Mentorship and Support programs

ANU provides a whole range of resources for Engineering specifically, and also university wide.

There are a number of past resources from previous cohorts, including past exam papers, which are really useful for studying towards final exams. Tutors are also a major port of call when it comes to specific questions and also guidance in managing time. 

“It can be quite daunting for first years, so there is as much support as possible, including drop in sessions, study sessions and study clubs.” — Matt Duan

In a general sense, there are also programs in place to support students with disabilities such as the Education Access Plan (EAP), which includes note taking services, extensions or special provisions.

Interested in the pros and cons of ANU Engineering? Check out our article here!

Nandini Dhir is a Content Writer at Art of Smart and is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Marketing) and a Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Media and Communications), as a Dalyell Scholar, at Sydney University. She enjoys covering local issues in her area and writing about current events in the media. Nandini has had one of her pieces published in an article with the Sydney Morning Herald. In her free time, Nandini loves doing calligraphy, ballet, and sewing, or is otherwise found coddling her cats.   

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