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Pros and Cons of Mechanical Engineering at USYD

So, we’ve laid out all the info, facts and numbers. It’s time that we delve a bit deeper and get a more personal perspective on the reality of studying Mechanical Engineering at USYD!

Hashmat, a fourth-year undergraduate student, and Rex, a third-year student, have given us their unique and honest outlook on the degree and would love to share their thoughts with prospective students.

Let’s take a look at both their experiences!

Why should you study a Mechanical Engineering degree at USYD?
Top 3 Pros of a Mechanical Engineering Degree
Top 3 Cons of an Mechanical Engineering Degree
Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make
Things to Know Before Starting USYD Mechanical Engineering
What Makes this Degree Different
Motivations for Studying USYD Mechanical Engineering
Potential Career Paths

Why should you study a Mechanical Engineering degree at USYD?

When we asked Hashmat why someone should study a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at USYD, he emphasised the university’s unique flexibility with choosing subjects, specialisations and interests.

USYD Mechanical Engineering - Student Quote 1

When asked the same question, Rex focused on both the social and academic community, and its impact on the student experience.

“Engineering at the University of Sydney has one of the strongest undergraduate communities of any university (or degree) I know of. Whether this be through academic mentor programs with researchers and lecturers, project based design clubs or student run social clubs, engineering at the University of Sydney has a long history of community,” Rex said.

A Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree at USYD will not only give you the skills and knowledge to pursue a career in a highly rewarding field, but it will also provide you with industry connections and an exciting social life! 

This four-year tertiary degree includes an Honours program, which will give you that extra leg up as an aspiring engineer! You will become an expert at mechanical systems, as this degree teaches you how to analyse, design, manufacture and maintain them. 

This degree does not only cover the theoretical bases, but it also gives students the opportunity to put theory in practice. You will learn how to free hand sketch and work safely with hand tools, machining, welding and even fibreglassing!

Top 3 Pros of a Mechanical Engineering degree

Hashmat’s Pros

In terms of Hashmat’s favourite and least favourite parts of the degree, he had quite an optimistic outlook. “As with everything, there is always the good and the bad. However, in my case, the positives outweigh the negatives significantly,” Hashmat said.

#1: It’s challenging and intellectually rewarding

“Being an engineering student is all about inviting challenges and overcoming obstacles. The degree tests students and identifies the great amongst the good,” Hashmat shared.

This aspect has always been intellectually rewarding and satisfying for me, given my commander-like nature. Everyone often encounters situations that seem like immovable objects in engineering. It is usually left to you to figure it out,” he added.

#2: Your efforts and successes are appreciated

Hashmat was invited to be a Dalyell Scholar and he told us that this opportunity was incredibly beneficial for him in terms of appreciation and acknowledgement of all his hard efforts.

#3: The social aspect

“In my experience, learning and interacting with other engineering students is more stimulating than other conversations I have daily,” Hashmat said.

Rex’s Pros

When it came to Rex’s favourite and least favourite parts of the degree, he gave us a lot of interesting insights into certain realities.

“My favourite thing about Mechanical engineering is the flexibility and exposure it gives you. My least favourite thing is the lack of electives in early years, which can feel quite restrictive and make the learning a little prescribed,” Rex stated.

Here are Rex’s pros!

#1: Theory meets practice

Rex told us that the degree has “mixes of real world practical problems with the interesting and prescribed theory needed to solve them.”

#2: Gaining expertise

“There are lots of opportunities to specialise in later years and really become an expert,” Rex said.

#3: Dipping your toe

According to Rex, the Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree “gives you a little taste of a whole range of engineering degrees.”

He continued, “Mechanical is the cornerstone of so many other engineering streams (think mechatronic, aeronautical, biomedical — the list goes on), so you’re almost guaranteed to find some area of study that interests you.”


Top 3 Cons of a Mechanical Engineering degree

Hashmat’s Cons

It was refreshing speaking with Hashmat, as he was always able to see the positives in every difficult situation that can arise. His philosophy was that you need to experience difficulties in order to learn, grow and gain something.

In saying all of that, here are his three cons!

#1: Stress

“Without care and awareness, you are prone to experiencing stress due to the rigorous climb of an engineering degree,” Hashmat told us.

#2: Independent work

“While I get advice, a lot of what I need to do can only be done individually, which can be quite daunting at times,” Hashmat explained.

#3: Additional study hours

“Engineering requires many additional independent hours of study which will not leave you with much free time if not managed well,” Hashmat informed us.

Rex’s Cons

Like Hashmat, Rex believed that the good outweighs the bad in this degree. Here are three of Rex’s cons!

#1: Difficulty

“It’s hard. There will be times when you struggle and, in those times, it’s really important to have a good community around to support you,” Rex shared.

#2: Rigidity

Once you’ve explored all the options and find your speciality or area of study it can be “a lot more focused and rigid than some other degrees, and can be very specialised,” Rex told us.

#3: Contact Hours

Like Hashmat, Rex agreed that the hours may not be the best aspect of this degree. “Engineering has one of the highest amounts of contact hours of any degree,” Rex informed us.

Any regrets? 

With Hashmat’s positive outlook, he found it very difficult to think of any regrets that he may have had. 

“I make it a point to live my life with no regrets. I do my best to come out of any situation I find myself in, having learned something. Studying engineering has given me the perfect platform to do what I enjoy doing,” Hashmat noted.

Rex had a very similar response to Hashmat when answering this particular question: “No, I have had no regrets about my degree or place of study.”

What do you wish you had known before starting USYD Mechanical Engineering? 

Despite having no regrets, there was one thing that both Hashmat and Rex did wish they had known going into this particular degree. However, they each added a positive swing.

I wish I knew how mentally resilient I had to be. Still, a few big stressful moments later, I have learnt how to be that exactly,” Hashmat stated.

“Coming into engineering, I wish I had been more computer literate and had some coding background. You will pick it up fast at university, but some basic competency can really give you the edge,” Rex exclaimed.

What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities? 

Hashmat focused on the prestige of the University when asked this question, pointing out its global recognition and industry networks.

“As I mentioned earlier, the University of Sydney gives you a wide-open road to start your journey towards achieving a degree. The prestige and standing of the University of Sydney amongst the world are very well recognised and appreciated,” Hashmat said.

He added, “It will help you expand your network and present you with more global opportunities than any other university in Australia.”

Rex instead emphasised career prospects and how the university caters to your individual goals.

USYD Mechanical Engineering - Student Quote 2

It doesn’t just end here! Rex added, “The large and involved engineering communities are also invaluable for finding industry connections and networking. Engineering at the University of Sydney has a real emphasis on outcomes and the journey of learning.”

What inspired you to choose USYD Mechanical Engineering?

As a young person, it can be very difficult to know what career path it is that you wish to pursue and that is completely okay! On the other side, there are also those who just know, like Rex.

I always knew I wanted to study engineering so my only real question was where? Going to open days and chatting to current students helped me decide University of Sydney was right for me,” Rex shared.

“Every university has a unique feel and environment. The core values of the University of Sydney that appealed to me and made me decide to study here were the emphasis on community, the structure of the degree that really equips you for life after university, and the opportunity to learn from and even study alongside world class researchers and professionals in engineering,” he added.

Like Rex, you may be expecting Hashmat to detail his passion for engineering from a young age. Instead, he delighted us with a candid, yet indisputable reason as to why he chose USYD.

“The first thing that drew me to the University of Sydney was the fact that it looked like Hogwarts — I have read the books and watched the movies more times than I can count. It captured my attention very quickly,” Hashmat admitted.

“Furthermore, hearing more about the university and the opportunities from faculty members, I decided to apply. The University of Sydney gave me the best offer in engineering and invited me to the Dalyell Scholars program. It was too good to pass on, and the rest is history,” he also mentioned.

As you can see, once Hashmat investigated further, he found that the university offered him so much more than the breathtaking architecture of the buildings!

What are the possible career paths?

USYD Mechanical Engineering - Careers

The growing demand for mechanical engineers means that graduates will have a choice to work across a variety of fields, including the environmental, biomedical, aerospace and nanotechnology sectors.

Here are some possible career paths that a degree in Mechanical Engineering at USYD can give you:

    • Aerospace engineer
    • Biomedical implant engineer
    • Automotive engineer
    • Automated airport facilities engineer
    • Contracting civil engineer
    • Control and instrumentation engineer
    • Maintenance engineer
    • Nuclear engineer 

If you are eager to learn more about this exciting degree, click here!

Thomasin McCuaig is a Content Writer at Art of Smart and an Arts graduate with majors in English and Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Sydney. Thomasin is a passionate writer, singer and drama teacher, who has had her work published in Holidays with Kids, Signature Luxury Travel and Style and Offspring Magazine. Thomasin also writes junior plays for her students and aims to publish a novel someday. During the COVID isolation period, Thomasin put her passion into practise and launched her own writing and editing business, ‘Re:Write Editing.’ In her spare time you will find her either napping, talking to her cats or looking up real estate for absolutely no reason at all. Fun fact: Thomasin appeared on Japanese morning breakfast show ‘ZIP!’ as a travel reporter, where she presented a six day exposé of Sydney!


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