Do the UK's top 5 unis care about EPQ for engineering ?

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lhh2003
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#1
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I have been considering doing one for engineering. I begged my school to let me do an artefact as this would actually be useful for engineering, but of course being the Ofsted-"needs improving" school they are, they wont give me the choice and have told me either I do a question or don't do EPQ at all..

So now I'm in a dilemma of whether to even do an EPQ. I mean, surely it would be more beneficial for me to use the time to learn programming as opposed to get what is in effect, a glorified English Language qualification. Engineering departments do not care that I can evaluate sources, but rather want to see I can build things.
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artful_lounger
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Evaluating sources is incredibly important for any academic degree, including engineering. Do you not understand how academic research works, or appreciate that you might need to do just that when preparing e.g. a market research report in an engineering firm? Engineering departments, especially the "top" engineering departments, don't give a toss whether you can "build things".

They care about how well you can do maths and physics and apply science generally to unfamiliar problems, and how well you can write this up in an academic manner. It sounds like your idea of what engineering constitutes, particularly at the "top" universities (which are overwhelmingly science and research oriented) is extremely unrealistic.
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lhh2003
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Evaluating sources is incredibly important for any academic degree, including engineering. Do you not understand how academic research works, or appreciate that you might need to do just that when preparing e.g. a market research report in an engineering firm? Engineering departments, especially the "top" engineering departments, don't give a toss whether you can "build things".

They care about how well you can do maths and physics and apply science generally to unfamiliar problems, and how well you can write this up in an academic manner. It sounds like your idea of what engineering constitutes, particularly at the "top" universities (which are overwhelmingly science and research oriented) is extremely unrealistic.
Yes but the sources I will be evaluating are about biased journalism, most of the work goes into this, so there is nothin to do with engineering. English language literally covers this. I find it hard to accept that they wouldn't give a toss what you can build. I have seen interviews for Cambridge where a student helped build a device to measure the speed of electrons or something along those lines, and the interviewer was very intrigued by it. They didn't question her "evaluation skills" one bit.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by lhh2003)
Yes but the sources I will be evaluating are about biased journalism, most of the work goes into this, so there is nothin to do with engineering. English language literally covers this. I find it hard to accept that they wouldn't give a toss what you can build. I have seen interviews for Cambridge where a student helped build a device to measure the speed of electrons or something along those lines, and the interviewer was very intrigued by it. They didn't question her "evaluation skills" one bit.
The interviewer wouldn't have been interested in the applicants building skills, they would've been interested in their ability to apply their knowledge of A-level Physics and Maths in a novel way.

Also just because you might not think it's relevant, doesn't mean that it isn't - even if your EPQ is on a non-engineering topic, the transferable skills you gain are the point of it and what is going to be relevant in your degree. I would note however even if you did an EPQ in an engineering area it's unlikely to be of any particular note as far as admissions go, other than generally demonstrating your interest in the subject area (which you can do just as well by doing wider reading in your spare time). What would be relevant even in an engineering EPQ wouldn't be what you produced as a physical artefact, but how you applied your scientific knowledge in the production of it, what experimental testing you did and how you recorded and evaluated that.

You should do more research into and reading around what engineering at university (and as a profession) actually entails. It's not "making things", and in fact that side of engineering is more typically done for engineers by technicians and such working with them. Manufacturing engineers don't physically make things, for example - they design systems which allow the large scale manufacture of stuff. Mechanical design engineers don't make things as an end goal - they may make a prototype, but the goal is in designing the system using scientific principles in such a way that it a) works b) they have recorded what they did well enough for other people to replicate it and c) they can then upscale that for production, typically.
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lhh2003
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
The interviewer wouldn't have been interested in the applicants building skills, they would've been interested in their ability to apply their knowledge of A-level Physics and Maths in a novel way.

Also just because you might not think it's relevant, doesn't mean that it isn't - even if your EPQ is on a non-engineering topic, the transferable skills you gain are the point of it and what is going to be relevant in your degree. I would note however even if you did an EPQ in an engineering area it's unlikely to be of any particular note as far as admissions go, other than generally demonstrating your interest in the subject area (which you can do just as well by doing wider reading in your spare time). What would be relevant even in an engineering EPQ wouldn't be what you produced as a physical artefact, but how you applied your scientific knowledge in the production of it, what experimental testing you did and how you recorded and evaluated that.

You should do more research into and reading around what engineering at university (and as a profession) actually entails. It's not "making things", and in fact that side of engineering is more typically done for engineers by technicians and such working with them. Manufacturing engineers don't physically make things, for example - they design systems which allow the large scale manufacture of stuff. Mechanical design engineers don't make things as an end goal - they may make a prototype, but the goal is in designing the system using scientific principles in such a way that it a) works b) they have recorded what they did well enough for other people to replicate it and c) they can then upscale that for production, typically.
I have read that only 10% of mechanical engineers grads are actually employed as mechanical engineers.. is this true ?
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by lhh2003)
I have read that only 10% of mechanical engineers grads are actually employed as mechanical engineers.. is this true ?
Not sure, although I wouldn't find it wholly unsurprising. Most graduates in most subjects go on to do work unrelated to their degrees (although I imagine a higher proportion in engineering might do something related). It's not uncommon for engineering students to look at finance and related fields and do internships in those areas.
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Helloworld_95
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#7
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(Original post by lhh2003)
I have read that only 10% of mechanical engineers grads are actually employed as mechanical engineers.. is this true ?
It's highly variable depending on the university and exact course, which you can check using unistats. Generally the very top ranked universities get fewer people into engineering because they'll often go into IB/Finance/etc instead, partly because people choose those unis for being targeted by those sectors, partly because they're in or near London where there's tonnes of that influence but little engineering outside of the university, partly because there are other universities which are better at producing engineers.

The rest of what artful_lounger has said is true, the academic research part of the EPQ is probably the most important part. I did mine (many moons ago) on coordinating drone delivery networks, and it's something that I get asked about occasionally to this day. The EPQ is frankly more useful to you as a piece of academic research rather than an "artefact". You can build something in your own time and get the same result.

You say an interviewer at Cambridge was intrigued by a device, but how do you know that they wouldn't have also been intrigued by a piece of research? Honestly, it's pretty common to find people applying for engineering degrees who can build or have built something, it's a lot less common to see someone demonstrating university level research skills, arguably final year or beyond level research skills as an EPQ requires proposing your own research.
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