"At the time I applied to university, I knew I wanted to study engineering, though I was unsure of the specific type on which I wanted to focus. Engineering Design seemed the perfect choice as it allowed me to trial many streams of engineering in the first year before specialising.
An important element of the Engineering Design course is its industrial sponsorship, which makes it quite unique. These close industrial links mean that most students complete a summer internship after their first year (mine was at GKN Aerospace) as well as the compulsory third year in industry, giving us lots of valuable work experience.
After the first year you are able to specialise. I chose the civil engineering stream, as I had developed a real interest in structures. There is a group design project in the second year, where we designed and built a UAV launcher, which provided useful practical and technical experience, laying good foundations for the project in fourth and fifth year.
My year in industry was at the Aerospace department of Atkins, where I was a member of a team working on the airframe checkstress of the wings of the A380 aeroplane. I found my sandwich year hugely beneficial and would advise all engineering students to undertake one. The sharp learning curve, level of responsibility and work experience were invaluable for both returning to university and, of course, for searching for work afterwards.
I personally found the final two years of my degree the most enjoyable, due to the further specialisation (I chose Structural Mechanics), the fourth/fifth year project and open units. The project I was part of was the design of a luxurious transport system for the United Arab Emirates. The project was challenging and highly enjoyable, confirming my desire to work in the civil structures field. I now have a graduate structural engineering position awaiting me in the Bristol office of Arup, to which I am really looking forward!
Bristol was a fantastic place to study. The city is large enough for there always to be somewhere new to go, but is small enough to feel at home quickly. There are a huge number of societies and sports clubs, meaning that there is always a way to meet new people, get involved and become distracted from your studies! The halls of residence in the first year give you the opportunity to make countless friends. After this, most people move close to the university, into privately rented accommodation which is plentiful and reasonably nice!
The course length is longer than most, though it certainly flies by, making you a knowledgeable, highly employable person by the end. The small course size means that by the end you are close friends with everyone. Unlike many courses, there is a real need for initiative, motivation and enthusiasm with engineering design. If this all sounds good to you, as it did to me, I would highly recommend that you apply."