Changing Engineering major in first year?

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amberidescence
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Hi all,

I'm planning to apply to a BEng course in the UK this year, and begin my studies in 2021.

As far as I've seen, quite a few of the top universities offer only 'direct entry' into specialized courses (e.g. Aero, Civil, Computer, etc.). However, I haven't yet decided which specific course I want to pursue.

I have looked into courses in 'general Engineering', in which students are offered the opportunity to try out various disciplines, but there aren't many universities that offer such programmes.

How do you suggest I proceed from here, keeping in mind that I genuinely cannot make up my mind about which specific course I want to pursue? My grades are good -- I'm an IB student with HL Physics, Computer Science, and Geography, and SL Mathematics Analysis and Approaches, English A Language and Literature, and Chinese B, and I'm expecting a final score of 42/45 points.

Is it often possible to change your course within the first year (e.g. Aero to Computer)?

Thank you so much.
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artful_lounger
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Depends on the relatedness of the programmes. Changing between computer engineering and electrical/electronic engineering is probably doable, and likewise between say, mechanical and aerospace. Changing from chemical engineering to civil engineering is probably much less likely, without repeating the first year of the new course.

As I said before, you will essentially need to do a foundation year no matter what, which will normally be common to all engineering courses offered by a given university - this will give you more time to make a decision about which discipline you wish to pursue. Often there will be some kind of informal "fair" or set of presentations by the directors of studies for each discpline made to foundation year students when it comes for them to decide which to go into at the end of the course.

Beyond that, swapping disciplines when moving from undergrad to masters is pretty common in engineering. Some areas are often more widely represented at the masters level compared with undergrad (e.g. aerospace, automotive, nuclear), and will usually take graduates from a range of engineering disciplines (although you may need particular background for some modules on those programmes).

The alternative would be to take a gap year, spend some time thinking about what you want to study, and ideally take A-level Maths (and possibly FM) or equivalent so you can skip having to apply to a foundation year and save yourself an extra year of tuition (which if you are an international student will be considerable).
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