MEng or MSc?


Hi All,

I wonder if someone can help me. I am currently a second year undergraduate student in Mechanical Engineering and am considering future options once I finished my degree. I am currently registered on the MEng course and can’t decide whether to stay on this or graduate with a BEng next year and then take and MSc. I suppose my question is really, what is the difference between MEng and MSc?



If you are doing an MEng you are still technically an undergraduate but are doing masters level material and will graduate as a masters level student. If you do an MSc, then you have already graduated and are then known as a postgraduate.

If I had the option I would stay on the MEng. Only my personal opinion of course, but here is why:

  • You student 120 credits in UK Universities in your fourth year to qualify for your degree. For MSc you do 180 credits. i.e. more work! The level of the material is the same, so there is no difference in the standard of degree you come out with, but you just do less of it on MEng. The MSc year is October to October, MEng is September to July.

  • If you do the MEng you qualify for student maintenance and fees assistance (assuming here you are a UK student). At MSc you have to fund yourself so have to find the money from somewhere, be it scholarships, grants etc. Much easier to be and MEng and only have to apply to one place then not have the hassle or worry.

  • From my understanding many employers and accrediting bodies (e.g. IMechE) value the MEng more highly than the MSc. Rightly or wrongly, employers seem to see the MSc as the route that people have to take if they flunk their MEng and are forced to graduate with a BEng. MEng’s tend to be accredited by the likes of the IMechE, that is not usually the case for MScs. Many UK universities dont bother to get their MSc accredited as it is not worth the bother for all the paperwork, and wouldnt necessarily attract students anyway. Engineering MScs are dominated by overseas students who are not so worried about having a degree accredited by a UK body anyway.

Does that help?


So basically Universities have Engineering MScs as Cash Cows then?! There to make money rather than because they are of much academic value?

If that is the case I think my mind is made up!


I think the phrase “Cash Cow” is a bit harsh!! I have some experience in this area and MSc does have its merit for Engineering departments.

For one thing, they provide an excellent opportunity for students who may have “flunked their MEng” as Thorpey put it. Students end up graduating with BEng for a variety of reasons, not all because they are not up to Masters level academically speaking. Mitigating circumstances, the phrase is - some students end up with BEng because they have been ill, have had financial or personal reasons. MSc gives those who are academically capable to chance to go back to Uni and do a Masters level qualification in Engineering. Employers would still prefer someone with an MSc, who has shown the initiative and determination to get that, over a person with a BEng.

MSc can also give the student more variety in what they study precisely because you do more credits. A lot of academics run MSc level modules based on their research interests, so it can give you access to a lot less generic material and more up-to-date research than you would otherwise get. The thesis tends to be worth more credits, so you get to do a bigger project which is great if you like research and also great experience if you are looking to do a PhD. Also, MEng projects tend to be team based projects and that doesn’t suit everyone. MSc projects are individual so you can do your own thing and not rely on 4 other hungover students pulling their finger out so you get the mark you deserve!

The accreditation issue is fair comment, but there are still a numbe rof MScs out there which will give you accredited CEng status like the MEng does. Try searching here for them.


All good points Lindsey. I still think the point is fair though, MSc can be a cash cow for Universities and particularly so for Engineering. Here is why:

  • MSc modules are largely either modules which are double badged for MEng and MSc or rehashed versions of other modules at best so dont need much extra work by the Uni for the benefit they gain from it. e.g. an engineering MSc student from abroad pays anywhere around £1100 per 15 credit module in a UK university. Would you be happy paying that, having come from abroad expecting a top notch MSc, to get a rehashed module which you take alongside undergraduates?!

  • MScs are largely for the overseas market in the engineering field. Look at the stats in the likes of the Guardian league tables. Many engineering MScs show a majority of overseas students. Unis make far more money from an overseas student than a UK student so it makes sense for them to market them for the overseas market.

  • They sometimes also run MSc modules as short courses for industry too (CPD I believe they call it). How can industrial delegates possibly be looking for the same king of training as MSc students. These course are often a compromise in an effort to make money and industrial contacts, but the content therefore doesn’t really satisfy student or industrial paying client.


This is all really interesting stuff thanks. I had never thought of much of it when considering whether to do MSc or MEng.

The chance to sit on a course alongside industrial clients kind of appeals to me though. OK, the Uni is making money from it, but it would give me the chance to make some great contacts and explore potential for work experience/internships etc. It would also be a chance to get an opnion on what it is like to work in the real world of engineering and perhaps give me ideas about what I might like to specialise in. So that sounds good, I might have a look into what Unis do this sort of thing.

Dont really see the problem with Unis marketing MSc at the overseas market largely, they have to make money somehow in the current economic climate. It worries me though that the quality of the course might not be as high. I just dont want a cobbled together set of modules from what they already have on their books in the name of making up an MSc. I guess I just need to do some research and find the Uni’s that clearly are not doing this. Thanks for the link Lindsey, that is helpful.

I have a lot of thinking to do, sounds like both are good options. Just need to decide what I want out of my masters I suppose


Re comment about industry contacts - on Engineering courses over 85% of MSc students are non EU at many (including top) universities, who will no longer be able to work in the UK post graduation

Are these useful contacts?


Both MEng and MSc are clearly postgraduate qualifications, with the additional benefit of the MEng that you can also use it detect people having a rather unimaginative business / jealousy agenda trying to convince you that an MEng is “technically” an undergraduate qualification. B and M stands there for a reason, especially considering the UK with such a good academic education standard (no, I am not British, so no empty national bias is involved).

It is unfortunately archetypical of British students to argue to choose an MEng in favour of an MSc route because of mere 120 versus 180 credits to allow for their underinformed conclusion that it therefore means “less work”. I would also steer clear of even letting a potential employer to consider that you’ve chose MEng because it seemed the same level of qualification for less credits, and hence “less work” - though your interviewer may have once been the same bum, and you may stand a vague chance that he/she gets to emphatise with you, under the masquerade of “practical” thinking. Well, for a continental European at least, that’s a very cheap attitude.

Masters education has nothing to do with “overseas” students, apart from:

  1. Those foreigners making the effort and financial sacrifice to come to the UK, obviously have a real drive to study, as opposed to doing that because that’s the standard middle class thing to do at a particular age. Of couse it does not apply to all the British students, all I am saying is that when it does apply, however, that obviously very seldom is an “overseas” student, for obvious reasons.

  2. British students know very well that an “extra” Masters will have little effect, on itself, on your salary if and when they find a job (in the UK, that is) - that’s actually a good argument why not to bother with a Masters, unless of course you have some deeper motivation.

I believe the qualitative difference lies within the project scope and infrastructure (comparing BEng + MSc, and MEng):

BEng + MSc: most people get to CHOOSE a mediocre little project at BEng, barely more than a larger coursework, then also CHOOSE an MSc programme to their interests, with a project of obviously more based on their own contribution, but still quite pre-defined.

MEng: most people get to be GIVEN a project (group or ptherwise) at BSc level (third year), usually quite involved, and get to define their own contribution. At MEng level, you get a very good chance of being able to DEFINE your own project, and this is exactly where you can make a case for yourself.

In the above context, an MEng is more of a risk, but more of an opportunity as well. It is absolutely not necessary that MEng project are at all “smaller” than MSc ones. Most people do a joke of a project though, and bear in mind that if you do have the idea, the drive, and the talent to do your own project, let alone if it is rewarded by outstanding results, awards, etc, you are making you employability in the UK actually much trickier.

UK employers are very much lenient to hire the best candidates (in terms of achievements, talent, and especially personal drive). Do not ever show that you have the career engineer mindset whilst in the UK, because you’ll never get a job. The “where do you yourself in 5 years” type of question is actually dangerous to answer, they are more interested in whether you are a threat to their position of quite often more comfort than actual impact.

UK employers also vastly overrate experience, and if you don’t have any, having a Masters level qualification definitely further hinders your possibilities. The good side of the same narrow-minded and obsolete employer attitude (from an opportunistic point of view), is that they do consider even part-time jobs, and even if barely at all technical or relevant, as “experience”. What a joke though, how does one exactly gain any engineering experience from, say, telephone IT support, and why is it of any benefit to business to waste talent like that? The bad side is that you may get to be interviewed by a principal engineer of 15+ years of “experience” who doesn’t know what a reduced order observer is for, despite their problem explained being the noise level induced by direct differentiation of positional sensor data used to recover higher order dynamics (for those not into control, that’s similar to your construction industry where double glazing is still some luxurious fancy impractical high-tech nonsense, where pipes are still outside the walls of most houses, and in general “why repair something that is not broken”).

Don’t be surpised if most Europeans nowadays do a Masters and/or a PhD in the UK, and sod off immediately after. We do pay for it, and it is not at all percieved by us as being a “money cow”, it is an investment that still worths the effort, because UK higher education albeit expensive, is excellent, with its outstanding scientific freedom, potential, and scientists.

It really does seem to me that the vast majority of people really excellent at something tend to stick to at least a partially academic career path, because it’s decently paid, safe, open-minded, hungry for innovation, and ready to recongise potential. Don’t let yourself be fooled into believing that it has no effect on your economy, which is particularly relevant in engineering.


I really don’t know about MEng Infact I have never heard about it for the fist time. But Think MSC is a right choice to do for the bright Future because I am even doing This from Gulzar Group of Institute…


You make a good point. I’m non-EU and paid £15000 to do an engineering masters in the UK. I’m greatly regretting this, not because the UK schooling isn’t good, but because others (EU/UK) paid £3000 - £6000 for the same course. This is totally unfair and unacceptable, especially as the UK is kicking us non-EU students out of the country after graduation. Engineering in Germany, US, Canada, etc, would’ve been a much better and valuable alternative to the UK. It’s a terrible shame I paid the full tuition prior to coming to the UK, otherwise I would’ve withdrawn from the course a long time ago.


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Education Blog Writer.


The Answer to this question is extremely easy:
BSc Computer Science = 480 CAT / 240 ECTS,
MSc Computer Science = 180 CAT / 90 ECTS,
Combined (BSc + MSc) = 660 CAT / 330 ECTS
Meng Computer Science = 480 CAT / 240 ECTS


Hello there.

Regarding your question, there are many views on this from people but I will tell you mine. An MEng qualification is a fantastic degree and it is a Masters qualification. The MSc is also a great degree. The Master of Engineering qualification is basically a BEng (Hons) degree with a masters year in one package. Ie you get funding for it. To an employer the MEng and MSc are not much different as they are the same level qualification Level 7. The choice is up to you. I have an MEng just graduated. If you want to be an engineer then do the MEng. The MEng degree is very specialised in engineering and will be more valuable for graduate schemes. The MSc is a Master of Science degree. Doing an MSc in engineering is not as engineering specific. More research based, like the research dissertation. The MEng final year project you are likely to do an intense design project, group or individual. It’s more industry specific. My opinion is do MEng. If you want to go into research in engineering do MSc. Plus no funding for MSc living costs. MEng equals full funding. MSc has extra module than MEng masters year that’s the only difference but honestly long term an MEng will set you up brilliant for an excellent payed engineering career. Good luck!