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Study Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering

Why Study Mechanical Engineering?

Professor Colin Hansen University of Adelaide


Why would you want to be a mechanical engineer, and why would you study for your degree at a university in Adelaide, South Australia? There are many answers to the first question, but perhaps the most common is that mechanical engineering is the most general form of engineering that you can do, so that on graduating, your choice of career is virtually unlimited.

In general terms, the discipline is concerned with the management of people and resources, the development and use of new technologies, and the design of new processes and products. Examples of industries where you may work include manufacturing, mining, water supply, electricity supply, engineering and management consulting, automotive, aerospace and aeronautical, process industries, electricity generation, and computer manufacture and application. In fact, Australia's first astronaut was a graduate in mechanical engineering from one of the universities in Adelaide.

A degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Adelaide is recognised worldwide as a result of its accreditation by Engineers Australia. The degree gives you the knowledge and skills to be involved in the design, development and manufacture of products, machines and mechanical engineering systems, including engines and turbines, land transport vehicles, ships, aircraft, building services (air conditioning, pumps, fans), refrigeration systems, manufacturing processes and systems, and industrial plants. With a degree in mechanical engineering, you will be able to offer expertise to your employer, or act as a consultant in energy technology and efficiency, combustion, noise and vibration control, pollution control, fluid mechanics and aerospace engineering, manufacturing (product design and development, production planning, plant maintenance, processes and systems, quality management), robotics, automatic control, and computer aided engineering (CAE). You will also be involved in the development and use of new materials, the development of new machines and processes, the use of computer-aided engineering tools, and the management of people and resources in an engineering environment. You could also be employed as an aid worker, helping third world countries by installing essential services, or as an aircraft engine and body designer, or as an aircraft maintainer carrying out condition monitoring and fault diagnosis, or as a designer of novel consumer products (including cars), or new production lines for bulk manufacturing of products. You may be a power generation or transmission engineer in the electricity industry/or an engineer responsible for environmental pollution control, or an initiator of new technology to improve efficiency in industry, or a product and people manager. You could also work as a water supply engineer, responsible for maintaining a city's water supply, or as a mining engineering, responsible for equipment maintenance or mine production/or as a drilling engineer on an oil rig. Whether you are an inventor, designer, manager or technical trouble-shooter, you will be able to find a satisfying career in mechanical engineering.  


CNC Mill




engine test cells




reverberation chambers




Noise and Vibration Equipment


Olympic Torch



Finite Element Analysis



Water Tunnel Testing
The University of Adelaide Australia




Colin Hansen

Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Adelaide
S.A. 5005
+61 8 8303 5460

Fax: +61 8 8303 4367






Mechatronic engineering is closely related to mechanical engineering, and is also available as a an internationally recognised and accredited degree course at The University of Adelaide. Mechatronic engineers may be involved in the application of electronics and control theory to automate mechanical systems/as well as in the design and development of electro-mechanical systems. Examples include car engine management systems, production robots, micromachines/smart  structures and hi_tech consumer products that involve an interaction of machine, computer and electronic systems to extract high levels of performance. Mechatronic engineers are in great demand by industry, because they possess a combination of mechanical engineering, electronic engineering and computing skills which make them very versatile.

Aerospace Engineering is a field closely related to Mechanical Engineering and is also available as a degree course at The University of Adelaide. Aerospace Engineering is concerned with the design, construction, production and maintenance of vehicles and objects for use within and beyond the atmosphere. It is a growing field with applications in areas as diverse as aircraft, satellites, rockets, space stations, hang gliders and hot air balloons.  As an Aerospace engineer, you may address problems such as how a vehicle moves, how high and how fast it can travel, how it holds together under the forces it experiences and how it is kept on course. You will analyse and solve these problems using your knowledge of mechanics and dynamics, materials and joining methods, thermodynamics, heat transfer, vibrations, guidance, control and modelling techniques. The main areas in which you will work as an aerospace engineer are: design and manufacture; research and development; defence (aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, rockets); satellite operations; and aircraft maintenance and airworthiness operations.  You will also have a strong background in mechanical engineering which will allow you to obtain many positions normally occupied by mechanical engineers

All three degree courses at The University of Adelaide involve 4-years of full-time study (including work required to achieve an Honours degree) and are also offered as 5-year combined degrees with Mathematics, computing Science, Finance and Arts.  In addition, a double degree in Science is offered for Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. A double degree with Law (6.5 years) and one with Finance (5-years) are available with the Mechanical Engineering degree only. The Mechanical and Mechatronic degrees and double degrees are all accredited by The Institution of Engineers, Australia and recognised all over the world. The Aerospace Engineering degree is a new offering in 2004 and will be accredited soon after the first graduates emerge at the end of 2005.

Planned future offerings at The University of Adelaide for 2005 include double degrees with Commerce (6-years) and an Automotive Engineering degree.

All three South Australian universities are located in the capital city, Adelaide, which has a population of just over one million people. The University of Adelaide is located right in the centre of the City Business and Shopping Area. There are many great things about Adelaide. It has wonderful weather; even in winter there are many sunny days, with blue skies and temperatures around 20 degrees- and it never snows! Although there are some hot days in summer, the humidity is very low, so it is not too uncomfortable. One of the many noticeable things about Adelaide is the lack of traffic jams, and the fast 15 minute drive from the airport to the centre of the city, where two of the universities (those that offer mechanical engineering) have their main campus. Adelaide is just one hour away from three famous wine-making areas, where one can sample the great wines free of charge at the cellar doors. Just a few hours north of Adelaide lie the mighty Flinders ranges, with colours that have inspired many famous landscape artists, and which are characterised by numerous lonely water holes and many kilometers of outstanding bushwalking tracks. Australians regard recreation and sport as an important part of life. The number of different recreational activities and types of sporting clubs in and around Adelaide are too numerous to mention. Many of the activities are represented by clubs based at the universities, thus helping overseas students to become involved in local culture and activities.

Adelaide is considered to be the hi_tech capital of Australia, and can offer mechanical, aerospace and mechatronic engineers many interesting jobs. Also, current immigration laws have been relaxed for graduates, making it much easier to obtain permanent residence on completion of a university degree.


Professor Colin Hansen

Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering

University of Adelaide

S.A. 5005


Phone: +61 8 8303 5460

Fax: +61 8 8303 4367


Web:  www.mecheng.adelaide.edu.au



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