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Engineering degrees that build a more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future

London South Bank University
Source: London South Bank University

Sustainability is gaining more importance and popularity as the need for solutions to climate change, global warming and other environmental issues grow more urgent. Engineers can play an important role in addressing these challenges. 

“When engineers are given the opportunity to develop sustainable solutions to global challenges, the results are outstanding, and yet too often engineers are excluded from the vital conversations where decisions are made,” says Dr Helen Meese CEng MIMechE.

When sustainable engineering principles are incorporated into businesses, this not only saves money, but can future-proof the industry value chain. Hence, sustainable engineering is a truly viable option – UNESCO defines this as using resources that do not compromise the environment or use up whatever is available for future generations. Such engineering will take on an interdisciplinary view, which makes this subject an exciting one to study. 

Here are four universities offering engineering degrees with a focus on sustainability:

London South Bank University

London South Bank University

London South Bank University programmes include placements and industry-based teaching. Source: London South Bank University

Established in 1892, London South Bank University has always been on a mission to transform lives, communities and businesses with their insights and education. 

With a Chemical and Energy Engineering degree from LSBU, you will be on your way to achieve these same goals. LSBU is ranked first in the UK for Student Experience and Teaching Quality for Chemical and Energy Engineering and third in London for Graduate Prospects for Chemical and Energy Engineering (The Times Good University Guide 2022).

LSBU’s Chemical and Energy Engineering programmes are current, thanks to its wide range of links through the A2i projects where SMEs work in consultation with the department. Connections to large multinationals such as Bosch and local companies — that include site visits to Thames Water and working with Sellafield — further ensure LSBU students become employable graduates.

The MSc Future Energy Engineering is a great example of industry-relevant knowledge and LSBU’s strengths in research and teaching within this area. It covers both the theoretical knowledge and advanced technical skills in demand from the evolving process and energy engineering sectors and will therefore include both oil and gas as well as renewable technologies. 

LSBU students will explore topics such as process management and how this relates to sustainable chemical and process engineering, along with detailed knowledge in process design and simulation, energy integration and optimisation. They will also develop an understanding of the limitations of natural resources, how they can be accessed, and alternative approaches to a more sustainable energy production. Learn more about how Chemical and Energy Engineering at LSBU are meeting the challenges of tomorrow here.

University of Glasgow

University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow is one of the oldest and most reputable universities in the world. Source: University of Glasgow, Facebook

As the fourth oldest in the English-speaking world, and one of the top 100 world universities, the University of Glasgow welcomes 35,000 students from the UK and overseas to pursue undergraduate, master’s and research degrees. The university is a member of the following: the prestigious Russell Group of research universities, Universitas 21 and the Guild of European Research Intensive Universities.

The James Watt School of Engineering is consistently among the top five in the UK: fourth for Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering (Complete University Guide), third for Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Civil Engineering (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide). 

The MSc in Civil Engineering pairs advanced knowledge with associated analytical and problem-solving skills in a range of key sub-disciplines of Civil Engineering. Students will develop the ability to apply this knowledge in engineering design and to the solution of open-ended and multi-disciplinary problems. It is accredited by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), the Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) and the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT). If you have an accredited BEng undergraduate degree, you’ll be able to meet the full academic requirements for conferral of the title of Chartered Engineer with this MSc. 

The university offers an MSc in Sustainable Energy as well, an interdisciplinary programme that will set you up for jobs within the international energy sector. The programme covers all the key aspects of sustainable energy, from the most advanced technologies through to ethical and economic considerations.

University of Bristol

University of Bristol, Facebook

The University of Bristol is well-known for its innovative research. Source: University of Bristol, Facebook

The University of Bristol (UoB) is one of the most popular and successful universities in the UK. It is ranked 62nd in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2022 and  fourth in a list of universities targeted by leading graduate employers (The Graduate Market in 2018, High Fliers Research).

UoB graduates are highly regarded by employers. The institution is known for its high-quality, research-led education; its courses are defined for incorporating the very latest thinking, plus real-life projects with academics who are experts in their field.

Aspiring engineers seeking to make a difference to the world and to the quality of people’s lives will find their ideal programmes at UoB. The MSc in Earthquake Engineering and Infrastructure Resilience trains students in earthquake engineering risk assessment and natural disaster risk management. They will be set to make an impact on the design of the built environment, the mitigation of seismic loss and the protection of human life.

The MSc Nuclear Science and Engineering provides a thorough grounding in the science and engineering that underpins today’s nuclear energy systems. Students will benefit not only from the strengths of UoB’s science and engineering faculties but also an established programme of nationally recognised industrial research through the Bristol-Oxford Nuclear Research Centre.

The MSc Advanced Microelectronic Systems Engineering leverages its location in Bristol — the city and surrounding area host a thriving and world-renowned semiconductor design industry. The curriculum’s core topics include digital and analogue ASIC design, DSP and FPGA-based computing, integrated sensors and actuators, radio-frequency and mixed-signal design.

University of Warwick

Warwick’s engineers are known to be so good they could work anywhere in the business.Source: University of Warwick

University of Warwick

The University of Warwick’s School of Engineering is one of the leading unified engineering schools in the UK. It takes an integrated approach to engineering education, fusing the key branches of engineering and drawing upon its research strengths in core engineering disciplines.

The School of Engineering attracts students that are drawn to the applications of science to create, innovate and dive deeper into the world of AI or any technological advancement contributing to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Warwick’s School of Engineering comprises four, individual discipline streams that all work together to offer a general (combined) experience to undergraduate students. They can then choose to specialise in one of the streams: Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, or Systems Engineering.

These programmes are defined by Warwick’s international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, which means that your Warwick degree will be known and respected throughout the world. Warwick’s courses are accredited by the key engineering institutions in the UK including the IET, IMechE, IStructE and ICE.

“I had the opportunity to conduct truly exciting and challenging research while surrounded with top class researchers which added a huge amount of value to my career and is something I am very grateful to have experienced,” said alumnus, Ben Harris. 

“Currently I work for Rolls-Royce as a Thermofluids Engineer where I was able to come in as a Direct Entrant, enabling me to skip the standard graduate scheme path taken by most. Without my experience at Warwick, I would not have the job I currently hold,” he added.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International