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Engineers apply maths and science to find creative solutions to complex problems and bring exciting innovations to life. But the role of the engineer is changing. They have a critical part to play in overcoming the unprecedented challenges our world now faces. Challenges like food and water security, climate change, data security and our ageing population.
To solve these problems we’re going to need a new generation of engineers who can see the big picture - who are bold, agile and entrepreneurial. Engineers who want to make a difference.
While you may be interested in engineering, you may not be sure what type of engineer you want to be. At UON you can choose from 12 different engineering specialisations. Ranging from chemical to civil, electrical and electronic to mechanical, all UON engineering degrees lay the groundwork to be a successful engineer and teach you vital skills to discover your new.
Chemical engineers help develop everyday products like toothpaste, puff pastry, chocolate, lipstick, paracetamol and petrol. You may be part of a team developing high-efficiency insulation products that improve heating and cooling. Use mathematics, science and creativity to overcome technical problems in a safe and economical fashion. You could work on biofuel production in remote communities, assisting with both waste disposal and energy production. Or, you might work in the food industry, refining products for people with special dietary needs.
Civil engineers are responsible for the physical infrastructure that enables modern societies to function. Buildings, highways and railways, tunnels, airports, power generation facilities and harbour facilities are all designed, built and managed by civil engineers.
You could engineer energy efficient buildings, or help develop sustainable and resilient infrastructure in developing countries. Or perhaps you’ll design Australia’s first high-speed train network to connect communities and reduce carbon emissions.
Computer systems engineers combine creativity with technology to develop solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges. They are essential in a wide range of industries like computer design, defence applications, communication networks and internet development. As a computer systems engineer you may develop a precision agriculture system to optimise food production and minimise chemicals in farming. Or, you could design a computer system that creates greater efficiency in wind turbine energy production.
Environmental engineers may help rehabilitate land damaged by mining or work on the clean-up of an oil spill that threatens ecosystems. You could even help prevent inundations on one of the world’s fast-growing cities. Environmental engineers apply their knowledge of chemistry, geomechanics, hydrology and land surface processes to find solutions for complex environmental problems. They’re responsible for developing sustainable engineering practices that have a profound impact on health and quality of life. They work with other specialists to optimise the use of resources and minimise long-term environmental impacts.
Electrical and electronic engineers design and build systems and machines that generate, transmit, measure, control and use electrical energy essential to modern life. As an electrical and electronic engineer you could help develop precision agriculture technology to increase food production efficiency and even build smart grid systems to help manage alternative energy resources.
Mechanical engineers design, manufacture and optimise specialist machines and processes. They solve important problems using robotics; new advanced materials; the fundamental laws of energy generation and transmission; and the computer control of physical systems – from nano to mega-tonne scale. They work on everything from power plants, to air conditioners, aircraft engines and race cars. As a mechanical engineer, you could design self-driving farm machinery for ultra-efficient food production or build revolutionary biomechanical solutions for people with disabilities.
Mechatronics engineering is concerned with the synergy of electrical, computer and mechanical technologies that lead to new solutions to industrial problems. You might create robots, unmanned aircraft, bionic implants or an energy harvester. Mechatronics engineers are involved in the technical design, automation and operational performance of the electromechanical systems used in industries such as defence, advanced manufacturing, mining and health.
Medical engineers are involved with the design, development, testing and implementation of safe and effective technological solutions for the health and medicine industry. Depending on their area of specialisation, a medical engineer could work with biomechanical devices, surgical equipment, nanotechnology drug delivery systems and diagnostic tests, prosthetic limbs, artificial organs, or electrical and computing systems relating to radiotherapy, respiration or dialysis.
Medical engineers work in hospitals and other medical institutions, health-related manufacturing and technology companies, pharmaceutical companies, and research organisations.
Mining engineering is the design, supervision and management of coal, mineral and metal mines and their associated infrastructure with minimal damage to environments. A leading wealth producer for Australia and many parts of the world, mining refers to the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, usually from an ore body, vein or coal seam. Specialists in this area have a sound understanding of civil and mining engineering concepts and design, construct and manage mining projects for large multinational mining companies.
Renewable energy engineers research and develop creative ways to transform renewable energy into usable power. They are vital in the design of sustainable technologies as well as their implementation. They include geothermal heat sources; carbon capture and storage; mineral sequestration; photovoltaics; polymer cells; oxyfuel technologies; and wind turbines.
Software engineering is behind much of the everyday technology we take for granted – from our iPads, computer software and mobile phones through to digital televisions, computer games and online banking. Professionals in this area may develop software for digital forensics analysis to help fight crime, or work in defence and combat cyber attacks. You could design wearable health management devices or write the software that powers robotically assisted surgery.
Surveyors specialise in the measurement, management, analysis and display of spatial information describing the Earth and its physical features. The work of surveyors knows no bounds and could see you play an important role not only within your local community, but also across counties and continents. Locally you could be involved in projects like preparation for building of a new tunnel or mapping of flood areas for disaster preparedness. Globally your work as a surveyor could see you involved in the prediction of earthquakes and mapping of the ocean floor.
Postgraduate degrees are a higher level of study that clarify and redefine your new. In most cases, but not all, you would usually complete a postgraduate qualification after your undergraduate degree.
Higher degrees in research are centred on defining your new through research and discovery. Research PhDs or Masters can only be completed after the Honours component of your undergraduate degree.
Engineers work on a huge range of tasks in industries like electronics, energy, food, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, construction, environmental health and transportation. You could work for yourself, for a big company, for the government, a not-for-profit, or for a big research organisation like the CSIRO.
Remarkably, engineering is the most commonly held degree among the highest performing Fortune 500 CEOs – the CEOs of companies such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Tesla Motors are all engineers.
Salaries: As an engineer you’ll be valued and well rewarded. Starting salaries average around $80,000 per annum. In 2016, 93% of our engineers had jobs when they graduated.
Flexibility: Some engineers work 9-5 in an office, others fly-in-fly-out from a project site. You may prefer hands-on fieldwork, design and development, or a leadership role managing people and projects.
Global opportunities: Professional recognition through Engineers Australia and the Washington Accord lets you work in places such as Asia, Europe, Canada and the USA.
One of only three Australian member institutions of the Global Engineering Education Exchange Program.
Mechanical engineering took Yasser all the way to Walt Disney studios where he’s a senior technical director working on films like Oscar winning Big Hero Six!
Each year our NUBots team program soccer playing robots to compete in RoboCup, a global competition aimed at advancing artificial intelligence and robotics. Here's their qualification video for the 2017 RoboCup in Nagoya-shi, Aichi, Japan!
UON Alumna Catherine Richards has been awarded a prestigious General Sir John Monash scholarship to Cambridge University in the UK.
UON's multidisciplinary, industry-focused approach to mining and minerals engineering has resulted in a range of break-through innovations that span geotechnical risk management, mineral processing technology, bulk solids handling and greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
Electrical Engineering student Ben Chen shares his experience of studying at one of our Global Engineering Education Exchange (Ge3) partner institutions, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. The University of Newcastle is one of only three Australian member institutions of the Ge3 Program. The Ge3 is an International partnership agreement that enables UON's engineering students to venture abroad to a multitude of distinguished universities around the world.