Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering

Undergraduate study

“Before applying I contacted a lot of UK automotive companies, asking where they like their graduates to come from. Every single one mentioned Loughborough.”

Sam

Year of Study: Final
Qualification(s): MEng (Hons)
Course: Automotive Engineering

Why did you choose Loughborough University?

I’ve had a passion for cars and motorsport for as long as I can remember, and performing well in maths and physics naturally led me to engineering. I contacted the HR departments of a lot of UK automotive companies, asking where they like their graduates to come from. Some gave a long list, some just a few names, but every single one mentioned Loughborough! Finding such a highly regarded automotive-specific course was perfect.

What do you enjoy about your course?

Particularly by this stage, seeing the practical application of all the engineering principles and exactly how they relate to (and can be used to control) the behaviour and performance of a car is great. Understanding the reasons behind design features you see every day is a real motivation.

The third year includes a very involved vehicle design project done in teams of six or so. This goes right through from concept definition to achieving a production-ready design and presenting it to industry specialists. Getting stuck into such a large project and following a complete design process is great experience, and you really can do anything – my team designed a 450mph land speed record car powered by JCB diesel engines!

The department also runs a week at MIRA, a world-class test facility and proving ground. The students design and run their own testing, including vehicle handling, braking, passby noise testing and wind tunnel development. Finding practical application for your work and dealing with real measured data really helps focus the course.

What do you think of the teaching quality and facilities?

The standard of teaching in the department is generally very good, and any issues are often dealt with very quickly through the active student rep community and regular Staff-Student Committee meetings. As a rep, I sit on the SSC meetings and have been very impressed with the staff’s open approach to improving the course based on our feedback.

Have you had any support from the University?

The department has a personal tutor system where each student is assigned to a member of staff who can act as their mentor and first point of contact for any issues throughout their time on the course.

Have you done a professional placement?

Last year, I spent twelve months at Nissan Technical Centre Europe in Cranfield, on industrial placement in the Vehicle Performance Planning department. This was a truly fantastic experience, and I can’t recommend doing a year’s placement enough. Apart from making you vastly more attractive to employers for graduate roles, there’s no substitute for real-world engineering experience, and it really helps your development. Plus there’s a lot of fun to be had!

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

I intend to work as a design engineer for a large UK automotive manufacturer. A relevant engineering degree is a minimum for this career, and there’s no shortage of applicants. That’s where having a strong degree from the country’s best-rated automotive engineering department helps you stand out from the rest.

What would you say to someone considering your course?

Go for it! You won’t be disappointed. If you have the maths and physics skills and self-application you need to do any engineering course, you’ll really enjoy your time here. Make sure you do a placement – yes, it puts your graduation back a year but the experience is invaluable, you will certainly come out with a better degree class and you’ll be much more employable.

How do you find the social atmosphere on campus?

Loughborough’s a brilliant social place, the Students’ Union is one of the very best in the country for a night out but also for clubs, practically any sport you can think of has an active club here and there’s plenty more besides. The motor club in particular is very active and organises a lot of trips, motorsport events and socials! Then of course, the Formula Student team gives you the chance to design, build and compete with a real racing car – and anyone can join.

What do you enjoy most about being a Loughborough student?

It’s hard to sum up in a few words! The whole experience, from halls as a fresher to lab work as a finalist has been thoroughly enjoyable, though obviously for quite different reasons! The best way I can describe it is a high-quality experience. Everything at Loughborough is properly set up, led by what the students want and really well done.

Has Loughborough inspired you?

Absolutely! My four years here have given me so much knowledge, but also helped me develop as a person, not just an engineer. Whether it’s meeting people with shared interests, doing new things or just plain enjoying yourself, I’d recommend it to anyone.