Hi, my name is Abdullah. I am 21 years old and currently in
my second year studying at the University of Manchester. I study Mechanical Engineering
which I find exciting, inventive and fun! So, what is it like and what can you
do with an engineering degree?
Why I Chose Mechanical Engineering
First, let’s see the many reasons for studying it. I chose
the course so I could become an engineer primarily because I enjoy STEM subjects.
Studying engineering has enabled me to use the topics I liked the most in one
course: Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Furthermore, being an engineer provides
the opportunity to apply your knowledge to real-world situations and be
creative every day, solving real-world problems. Additionally, the rapid and
constant developments mean the subject will only become more interesting and
engineers will be more and more sought after. There are always plenty of jobs
and you will never be bored with what you do.
A Day in the Life of a Mechanical Engineering Student
On a typical day, I wake up at around 7.30 am and travel by
bus to the university which starts at 9 am most of the time. With around 6 or 7
hours at university, the day is made up of a mix of lectures and tutorials
spread over 2 campuses: Main Campus and North Campus (where engineers are
mainly based). On North Campus, lectures are always in the Renold Building. Also, there
is the George Begg Building with exceptional computer facilities. This is where
I prefer to work with friends; 2-3 hours of study is required each day. Finally,
to research for assignments, I go to North Campus’s Sackville Street Building
library for books.
In terms of work outside classes, this contains coursework,
reports based on previous lab sessions or rewatching lectures once uploaded
online to further grasp the concepts. In addition, there are tutorial sheets
that I need to attempt before the tutorial class. These are questions based on lectures
in the past week of that module then the class tutor goes through the solutions.
While this seems like a lot, there is still plenty of free time if you chose to
study Mechanical Engineering!
What Can You Do With a Mechanical Engineering Degree?
Using the Careers Service and career fairs at the
university, I have learnt about options you have after you finish the course in
lots of detail. The obvious one is to become a mechanical engineer which most
students do. Mechanical engineers are mostly hired by the aerospace, automotive
and manufacturing industries. After the course, you can also do a Master’s
degree which is another 1-year degree. With this, engineers are able to become
chartered engineers in the future which means faster career progression and increased
Surprisingly, there is considerable demand for engineering students in investment
banking too. Generally, it is working as an analyst to predict market trends
because students are taught the numerical and analytical skills applicable to
the role. Alternatively, I learnt at a university career fair that there is
also scientific research in engineering as an option but this requires an extra
Overall, I would conclude that studying Mechanical Engineering
has a lot of benefits and an extensive range of excellent career prospects that
it leads to. To learn more, details can be found on the university website in
the links below:
Hi, my name is Sarah and I graduated last summer from the
University of Manchester with a 2:1 in French and Italian. I chose French because
it was a subject I’d enjoyed at school and Italian because I wanted to try
something new. Throughout my degree, my knowledge and passion for languages
grew exponentially but I also had the opportunity to develop many key
transferrable skills that would put me at an advantage in the job market. For the past year, I’ve been undertaking a
paid internship at the University, which has given me even more opportunities
to develop my skill set, and I’ve now secured a permanent position at the
What is MGIP?
The Manchester Graduate Internship Programme offers Paid
Internships working at the University and in other businesses across Manchester.
They are only open to Manchester Graduates so there is a smaller pool of
applicants to compete with than most other internships and graduate schemes.
They vary in length from 4 to 12 months and have different start dates between June
I applied for an Internship in the Student Recruitment and
Widening Participation (SRWP) Team as I had previously worked as a Student
Ambassador and I wanted to work on similar events as a member of staff. The SRWP Team take on 5 Graduate Interns each academic
year to support with their delivery of events to promote the University and
provide accurate information, advice and guidance to prospective students.
My internship involves supporting the pre-16 team, in
particular, the University’s Gateways and Primary Awareness programmes, who
work with targeted groups of young learners across Greater Manchester to raise
aspirations and promote Higher Education. The ethos of the department, that
Higher Education should be accessible to all regardless of social or economic
background, is something that I am really passionate about and one of the main
reasons why I have enjoyed my time here so much.
Throughout the year, I have hugely developed my pre-existing
skills, such as Communication, Organisation, Working as part of a Team and
Time-Management but I have also gained many new skills, such as Data Analysis,
Report Writing, Event Planning, Leadership and Staff Supervision. I have has
the opportunity to take part in Higher Education events all across the UK and
make a real contribution to the development of systems and programmes within
the team. …And all of this whilst being paid!!
I’m really glad that I chose to do an MGIP, especially as I’ve
now used the skills I developed to secure a permanent position in the
International Programmes Office at the University, and I would recommend it to
any graduates who maybe aren’t quite sure which direction they want their
career to take and want to gain new skills and experience.
To find out more about the scheme you can visit the website:
where you can read stories from other Graduate Interns as well so you don’t
have to take my word for it!
Or if you need further convincing, watch this video:
As part of our Thinking Careers section, we explore the non-academic career options taken by those who have completed their PhDs. In this entry, Fiona Lynch discusses how she went from researching vascular physiology to working in student recruitment at the University of Manchester.
My name is Fiona Lynch and my
current role is Student Recruitment and Widening Participation Coordinator in the
University of Manchester. I have always
been interested in science and studied Biochemistry in University College
Galway, Ireland. Following this I moved
to Dublin and did a PhD in vascular physiology in University College Dublin. After this I moved to the UK to start my
first academic job or post-doctoral job in the University of Manchester. Originally I was supposed to stay for a three
year contract but fast forward 14 years and I am still happily in Manchester,
married with three young children.
I work in the Directorate for
Student Experience in the Student Recruitment and Widening Participation
Team. My job involves organising
presentations and tours for schools who wish to visit the campus and get a
taste for University life, organising the university open day and supporting
the widening participation and other recruitment activities. The job has a lot of variety and I am
constantly learning new skills and drawing on transferrable skills I used when
I was a researcher.
My first taste of serious
research was during my PhD in Dublin where is studied how our pulmonary
arteries behave to changes in carbon dioxide and pH levels as they would if
challenged by various pulmonary
disease. This interest in vascular
physiology and a drive to broaden my horizons led me to the University of
Manchester to start a three year post-doctoral research position to try and
understand the behaviour of the body’s smallest arteries, the resistance
arteries, to changes in blood pressure.
I studied human coronary arteries using pressure myography. This allowed me to replicate very closely the
environment these arteries would be exposed to in the human heart. I was fortunate to be offered further
contracts to continue my research and eventually settled into a project
studying how the fat which surrounds our blood vessels affects their
behaviour. One of the highlights of this
for me was being allowed to witness open heart surgery. Others included trips to international
conferences and the opportunity to convey my research and findings to peers,
not to mention the chance to see parts of the world I wouldn’t normally go to. Low points included experiments not working
after endless hours in the lab (although this is par for the course for a
researcher!) and grants being rejected (another normal occurrence in academic
So how do you go from the lab to
my present job? The key message I would
give is to develop your transferrable skills.
Crunching stats in Excel and creating presentations for conferences and
writing papers are all excellent skills which can be used in many non-academic
roles. While I was a PhD student and
Post doc I undertook lots of public engagement activities. Some just involved going into schools talking
about my work and career path, others involved working closely with teachers to
develop academic enrichment activities and workshops. I won funding from The Physiology Society and
ran two big outreach events in the Museum of Science and Industry and I became
a Widening Participation Fellow. I also
took advantage of all the staff/student development courses on offer and
obtained a diploma in management. When
the time came for a career change I knew I wanted to work with schools in some
way and continue with outreach work so all of the above helped me secure my
current role, which I enjoy immensely.
To find out more about research and heart disease, click here.
For more information about the world of Physiology, click here.
You can find more information about public
engagement activities in the University of Manchester here.
The YPU's previous entry in the Thinking Careers section can be found here.
The new Thinking Careers section will explore non-academic career options pursued by PhD students. The first case study
will be on Emily Robinson, who completed an undergraduate degree and a PhD in
Neuroscience at the University of Manchester. Emily now works as a Secondary
and Post-16 Co-ordinator for the Sciences at the Manchester Museum.
When I was in sixth form, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I liked
both biology and geography, but wasn't sure if I wanted to spend
years of my life studying either. Then one day, in a very small section of
books termed 'Careers Library' in the corner of our study room, I found a book
about Neuroscience – the study of the brain and the nervous system. With every
page I turned, I realised that I had found what I wanted to study. My mum was
shocked that evening when I announced over my spaghetti bolognese, “I'm
applying for Neuroscience”. Her first reaction was to ask, “What is
Neuroscience?” But as she heard me enthuse about this intriguing subject and
how interesting studying the brain would be, she realised that she was going to
have to trust me.
Flash forward ten years and I am now working at Manchester Museum
coordinating their secondary and post-16 science programme. Therefore, I get to
share my passion for science by creating engaging science workshops using
Manchester Museum's stunning collection. But how did I get from Neuroscience to
museum? Well, I did end up studying Neuroscience for my degree at the
University of Manchester and I liked it so much I stayed and did a four year
research PhD in Neuroscience.
The focus of my PhD research was on trying to block the immune system's
damaging reaction to brain injury. It might seem odd to try to stop our immune
system – which normally protects us from dangerous injections. However, when a
brain injury occurs, such as a stroke, our immune system can overreact and as
the brain is such a sensitive organ, it can easily be inadvertently damaged, making the situation
worse. The research group I was working with are currently trialling an
anti-inflammatory treatment which will hopefully reduce the potential damage
caused by a stroke if it is given within a few hours of it occurring. Alongside
my lab work, I also enjoyed communicating the research to the public.
Therefore, I was involved in creating a lot of family and school activities to
try and get people interested in Neuroscience and to highlight the important
research we were doing. So my current job is an extension of that in the wider
context of science; as I get to simplify complex scientific concepts and get to
show students the real life application and importance of the science you are
taught in school.
Although my current job does not directly use my Neuroscience knowledge,
my PhD has been invaluable and helped me to get my current job. Conducting
research, no matter what subject, develops your analytical skills as well as
your specific subject knowledge. So whether I mean to or not, I now think like
a scientist! Along the way you also gain many useful transferable skills such
as communication and project management skills. Don’t get me wrong, doing a PhD
isn’t all rosy; there were tough times when things got me down and I had a few
wobbles with my confidence – but the challenge was all definitely worth it. I
loved being part of a large laboratory group, seeing how everyone’s separate
research linked together in the hope of making a big difference to people’s
lives in the future. On top of that, I have made some lifelong friends along
the way. Looking back, I can't say that I had the last ten years mapped out
since sixth form. I could never have guessed I would end up becoming a doctor
and working in a museum. But I’m always glad I chose to study a subject that I
found so interesting.
To find out about studying Neuroscience at the University of Manchester,
go to the Faculty of Life Science's webpage and
the Neuroscience Research Institute.
The book which inspired my interest
For up-to-date news about Neuroscience, go to Neuroscience News.
The Guardian has excellent articles about
For more ideas about what you can do with a Neuroscience degree, visit
the British Neuroscience Association’s website.
To find about more about non-academic career options for PhD students, visit
the Prospects website.
becoming an audiologist?
Not sure what an
audiologist is? Well, if you like interacting with people, want to improve
somebody’s quality of life and want a career that is people focused but also
has elements of science and technology, then a degree in audiology could be
just for you.
What is audiology?
Audiology is the branch of
science that studies hearing, hearing related disorders, and balance. Audiologists
work with people who have hearing and balance conditions, so you will get to
work with people of all ages, from new-born babies to adults. Audiologists are
also responsible for the patient’s management, which may include counselling
and fitting of hearing aids. As the world gets more crowded, and ‘louder’, and
people get older, more and more people will need help from audiologists. Just
check out the figures: there are more than 10 million people in the UK with
some form of hearing loss. That’s one in six of the population. There are more
than 45,000 deaf children in the UK and, on average, it takes around ten years
for people to seek help about hearing problems. By 2031, it is estimated that
there will be 14.5 million people with hearing loss in the UK. Hearing problems
are only going to get more common and that means the world needs more
There are lots of different
training and education options if you want a career in audiology. You could
work alongside an audiologist as an assistant, or work as a Hearing Aid
Dispenser in which you would need to do a foundation degree (see http://www.bshaa.com
). If you are not really sure
where you want to work, but would like to see patients then you may want to study
an audiology degree. Here at The University of Manchester we offer both
undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, which combine the practical, theoretical
and clinical aspects of audiology. These courses are part of the Audiology and
Deafness Group at Manchester, which is the oldest audiology department in the
UK, dating back to 1919. In addition we have strong links with the NHS, where
some of our courses provide placements in NHS clinics. Click here
to find out the many different
courses we offer. Also why not find out what one of our first years has to say
about the course….here
Completing either an
undergraduate or postgraduate degree at The University of Manchester prepares you
for a career in the NHS or the independent sector. Audiologists are part of a
big team and work with: speech and language therapists; teachers of the deaf;
ear, nose and throat specialists; and social services. But if working in the
NHS doesn’t appeal to you, there are loads more options. Graduates from our
courses have found work with companies that create and dispense hearing aids or
have become lecturers at universities, undertaking their own research. Others
now work for hearing charities or at schools that specialise in teaching
children with hearing problems. The career opportunities as an audiologist are
very good and, with an ageing population, the demand for audiologists will only
One example of a
research project being carried out at The University of Manchester is
investigating the changes in brain activity after wearing an earplug in one ear
for a short period of time. Our brains are able to compensate for a change in
hearing. If you have a hearing loss, the brain will increase its activity to
compensate for less sound reaching the brain. However, in some people, the
brain activity will increase too much and this can lead to tinnitus, a
condition where the person hears a high-pitched ringing noise (this is why the
condition is also known as ‘ringing in the ears’). Little is known about what
causes the brain to overcompensate and where and when these changes occur. We
hope to understand more about the changes in brain activity and how it can lead
to tinnitus by simulating hearing loss, which involves wearing an earplug and
measuring the changes in brain activity. If we can understand more about the
changes in brain activity, this could lead to a better understanding of tinnitus.
If you would like to know more about our other research projects, visit our website.
Find out more about audiology
Have a look at our website for more information about Audiology
at The University of Manchester.
For up-to-date news about what we
do in our department and school, check out our blog.
Check out our very own Professor Chris
Plack, explaining how the ear works using only the thousand most used words in
the English Language.
The British Society of
Audiology supports audiology across the UK and you can find out about the
latest news and events from their website.
Check out The British
Academy of Audiology (BAA) that supports Audiologists and provides advice on
careers in Audiology.