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

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

Mechanical Engineering USYD - Fact Sheet

Are you interested in designing the machines of tomorrow? Then, look no further than a Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Mechanical Engineering) at USYD. 

From career prospects to faculty culture, we have everything you need to know about studying this innovative course.

Let’s take a look!

What is Mechanical Engineering at USYD?
Core Units and Specialisations
How to Get into Mechanical Engineering at USYD
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Mechanical Engineering) at USYD? 

A Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Mechanical Engineering) is a degree that equips students with the tools to analyse, design, manufacture and maintain mechanical systems. Mechanical engineers play a pivotal role in the development of human capabilities, as their unique skills enable them to create efficient and sustainable solutions to a variety of modern problems.

This degree has an integrated Honours program, with students undertaking a research thesis in their final year. By studying at Honours level, students will gain advanced knowledge and special proficiency in the professional work of engineering.

Mechanical Engineering USYD - Student Quote

Career Paths

Mechanical engineering is an incredibly valued profession with diverse career opportunities. 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. Graduate salaries start at $60-63k per annum.

Learn more about a career as a Mechanical Engineer here!

Career options include:

    • Becoming a space vehicle engineer, biomedical implant engineer, automotive engineer or automated airport facilities engineer
    • Working for small start-ups or large corporations like Google, Boeing or Ford
    • Developing and improving mechanical systems within the health, environment, manufacturing, travel, transport, renewable energy and construction sectors

As engineering is such a versatile degree, there are endless career paths you can go down. I’m especially interested in finance, but you can pursue a variety of engineering jobs as well.” — Ben Johnson

Core Units and Specialisations

If you decide to embark on this four-year tertiary journey, you will need to complete a range of units, including foundational units, project units, a professional engagement program, mechanical stream core and elective units, and thesis units. 

It’s less complicated than it sounds. Let us break it down for you!

Your First Three Years within Mechanical Engineering

In the first 3 years, students complete 192 credit points comprising:

48 credit points from the Engineering Core Units, which consist of:

138 credit points from the Mechanical Engineering Stream table, which consists of:

  • 108 credit points of Mechanical Stream core units
  • 30 credit points of Mechanical Stream Elective units

6 credit points of electives from 3000+ level units offered by the Faculty of Engineering, or from Table S

Honours (4th Year)

Students must either complete 12 credit points by selecting two thesis units relevant to their stream (in this case, the mechanical stream) or choose to enrol in a Major Industrial Project unit, which will need to be approved by the Faculty. Mechanical students are to enrol in AMME coded units.

Mandatory Foundation units include: 

    • 6 credit points of Introductory Computing units
    • 12 credit points of Mathematics


Majors have become specialisations in this degree, as the term ‘specialisation’ is widely utilised in the Engineering industry. The completion of a specialisation is not mandatory, however, it will set you apart from other graduates!

If you wish to add a bit of flair to your degree and decide to take a specialisation available in your stream, the specialisation can be completed within the 192 credit points described in the table above. Specialisations available for this degree are:

Did you know that Mining Engineers have one of the highest paying jobs in Australia? Check the Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in Australia for 2022 here!


Internships are incredibly valuable and beneficial as they help develop your professional aptitude and provide a greater door to future opportunities and endeavours.

Undertaking an internship, whilst studying, is a win win scenario. By the end of your degree you would have already gained real world experience and are therefore more likely to be employed.

“I would tell prospective students to always, always get involved quickly. No one really knows what is actually going on so just jump on. It’s also never too early to start on outside projects i.e. internships/research.” — Ben Johnson

In the Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree, internships are a requirement for accreditation and Sydney Uni will help you to seek student job opportunities over the summer break.

Find out more about potential internships and student jobs by looking at USYD’s CareerHub here!


How to Get into Mechanical Engineering at USYD

Now that we have explained what the degree is all about, you may be asking yourself, “How do I get in?”

Prerequisites and Assumed Knowledge

Well, for starters, there is one prerequisite: HSC Extension 1 Mathematics.

A prior level of knowledge of Mathematics and Physics is highly desirable and expected, as there will be difficulty in the course if you do not understand certain foundational theories or rules. However, do not fret if you did not undertake these subjects in your HSC year. An appropriate bridging course will help you meet these requirements!

ATAR Requirement

In terms of your HSC final results, the ATAR required to get into the course is 92. Again, if you receive an ATAR that is below this number, there’s no need to worry. You can still pursue your mechanical engineering dreams by finding alternative pathways here.


The Peter Nicol Russell Undergraduate Scholarship offers students who enrol in a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours) $6000 p.a. for up to 4 years.

You can have a peruse of this exciting opportunity here!

What’s the Teaching Format?

The course outline for a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours) requires full-time students to study two semesters a year, with the teaching delivered through lectures and tutorials.

Class Structure

Mechanical Engineering - Class Structure


The lectures provide students with theoretical knowledge and a foundational understanding of the role of mechanical engineers and the core concepts within the discipline. Lectures involve every student enrolled in the unit to congregate in one theatre, where students are positioned to listen and absorb theoretical information presented by an academic at the front.

Students will usually take notes either on a laptop or a notebook, whichever is your style! If you are someone who loves to contribute in some way or another, lecturers will often give the audience an opportunity to answer questions or put in their two cents worth. The number of students who attend lectures is dependent on course size, ranging from 20 people in the final years to 600 in a lecture in junior years.


Tutorials within the Faculty of Engineering will not only solidify the theories and processes discussed in the lectures but will also offer students practical knowledge of the core mechanical engineering concepts.

In this degree, tutorials will be more like workshops, as students will be given hands-on experience with manufacturing technology. Tutorials are capped at 30 for a single tutor and 60 for multiple tutors.

 Some activities and topics students will engage in during their studies:

    • Graphics
    • Free Hand Sketching
    • Detail Drawings
    • Creativity
    • Statics
    • Dynamics
    • Materials
    • Manufacturing Engineering
    • Fluid Mechanics
    • Thermodynamics
    • Professional Engineering Practice

How much time do you spend on campus?

By studying Mechanical Engineering, you will have one of the lowest contact hours of any other university degree! Each unit of study will have about 3 contact hours, and since full-time study requires you to undertake 4 units in one semester, your contact hours per week will equate to 12 hours. 

With a well-planned out timetable, you could get yourself coming into university only 2 days a week! However, don’t forget to take into account the extra study at home and the time you will need to put aside for completing assignments.

What are assessments like?

The assessment structure for USYD Mechanical Engineering is divided into three categories:

Assessment TypeDescription
Skills-based evaluation (practical exam)Will test your ability to work appropriately and safely with hand tools, machining, welding, fibreglassing, solidworks and Arduino. Workshop skill evaluation will weigh around 40%-50%.
AssignmentsRequire you to integrate information from lectures and tutorials and weigh about 12% for each topic.
QuizzesWill test your understanding of the material covered in the first half of the unit and usually weighs 6%.

“There are no essays in engineering. Assessments are virtually always an exam of 50% or more with a double pass requirement. Every unit usually has at least one group project and most assessments are done by quizzes or assignments.” — Ben Johnson

Skills That You Will Refine and Learn

Mechanical Engineering USYD - Skills

Through studying Mechanical Engineering at USYD, you develop quite a number of skills. For instance, this degree isn’t just about learning all the practical applications of the theories — you’re required to present in front of your class, which will in turn improve your oral communication skills.

You’ll also understand the fundamentals of machinery and equipment common to mechanical engineering. Through tutes you’ll be able to apply analysis techniques and problem-solving methods by using basic statics, dynamics and thermodynamics to analyse, size and design simple machines.

Your tutorials will also give you the chance to develop skills in the use of manufacturing processes, which will give you an understanding of the machining and manufacturing processes that are used to make mechanical components.

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

The Engineering Faculty is a community of passionate innovators, who are committed to creating smarter technology and changing the way we live and work. The faculty welcomes a diverse range of people and ensures that everyone is accepted and given an equal opportunity to achieve their goals.

“There are some really great tutors coming from older years. Jack Naylor and Jason Chan are stand out tutors.” — Ben Johnson

Women in Engineering

More women than ever are choosing to study engineering and computing at the University of Sydney! With female scholarships, high school outreach programs by girls for girls, female student societies and high-grade female lecturers and researchers, it’s no surprise that undergraduate female students at USYD are double the national average.

If you identify as female and are looking for mentorship within Engineering, the Women in Engineering mentoring network is the perfect program for you! You can learn more about it here.


The University of Sydney Union is a big part of what makes the Sydney Uni student experience memorable. The USU is an independent, student-led organisation that organises over 250 clubs and societies, events and programs throughout the year and is the heart of uni life, helping students to make new friends and connect with like-minded people. 

For students undertaking USYD Mechanical Engineering, MUGS (Mechanical Undergraduates Society) is a must join! The society provides you with a community of fellow students, alumni and industry partners that are here to support you throughout your degree. 

The society runs both social and professional events so that members have fun whilst leaving prepared for their engineering career. There will be regular BBQs, social nights and free food events for members.

MUGS also offers Mexican, Thai and Turkish dinners and hosts AMME Industry Night, networking nights, trivia and futsal.

My favourite thing about the degree is honestly the societies and being able to make friends with people who have the same passions. MUGs and SUEUA are the greatest societies.” — Ben Johnson 

To stay updated with all things mechanical, like the MUGS Facebook page! 


Studying Mechanical Engineering at USYD isn’t all about the lectures and assignments… The faculty gives students the opportunity to truly envision and actualise their career as a mechanical engineer!

The Faculty of Engineering hosts flagship events that enable industry and government partners to meet and network with the talented researchers, high-achieving students and business colleagues within the Faculty.

In 2020, such exciting events include, The Australian Space Awards, with USYD named ‘Academic Institution of the Year’ and the eleven USYD individuals who have been named as Eureka Prize finalists.

Interested in the pros and cons of this degree? Check out our article 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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