Viewing 21 posts - 1 through 21 (of 21 total)
  • Any Aberdeen or Glasgow University engineering alumni on here?
  • Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    Junior 1 has just received an unconditional offer to do Mechanical Engineering at Aberdeen.
    He’s still waiting to hear from Glasgow (his 1st choice) and Edinburgh.
    Aberdeen is one of the few places in Scotland I’ve not spent much time in, so I’d be keen to hear views on the University and the Engineering Dept too if possible.

    Edit – and the live music scene, because he’s a keen musician and loves to perform!

    Premier Icon gecko76
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    Aberdeen 1996-2000, though not Engineering. Went for the mountains and did not disappoint. Town’s a bit bleak in winter but uni was good.

    Premier Icon scruff9252
    Free Member

    Never studied in Aberdeen myself, but know a good few folk who did – they all enjoyed it very much.

    I always found it quite a depressingly grey place myself when I visited – the skies, the buildings, the roads all grey.

    Premier Icon grantyboy
    Free Member

    I’m from Aberdeen, all my mates are engineers and in the oil and gas trade somehow. From that I’ve always said Aberdeen is an engineering town. They all studied here in the city, mostly RGU

    Music scene wise it’s ok but not great in heaps of venues. There are a few pubs that do live music, Drummonds, Krakatoa and Tunnels (also best nightclub in town after 11pm) are the main venues the smaller bands play at. Then there is Lemon Tree and Music Hall that can draw in some good acts. We have the new TECA arena which is huge and just opened when covid hit and turned into our vax center, so still to see the real benefit from that but it should draw in the names who are doing their UK tours (we always got missed in the past as out here on a north east limb)
    Biggest thing to remember is Aberdeen is a small city so lacks the population to support multiple venues/choice

    Premier Icon squirrelking
    Free Member

    Glasgow 2001-2004, failed.

    Honestly, based on my experience, I wouldn’t recommend them but that’s because it didn’t suit my learning style.

    First off I was on a variant of the course that was supposed to be studied abroad in 3rd year (Mechanical Engineering with European Curriculum), nobody in the faculty had any idea what to do with me and I ended up figuring everything out myself. Language lectures clashed with engineering and with an arrogant prat as a lecturer that was a complete shambles. There is no way I would have been ready to study abroad based on the preparation.

    Secondly the work was far too academic, certainly more so than anyone at the likes of Heriot Watt were describing. Practical work was almost-non existent – a 1st year (high school) craft and design level lab to make a shitty hinge in first year and a strip and rebuild of a Honda single cylinder engine in second year. The latter was my wakeup that I was in the wrong place, I was done about an hour before my peers and in some cases before they had finished stripping it. They were, academically, much better than me so not idiots. After I failed that year again I transferred to an HND at GCNS and all the stuff I was failing suddenly made sense (because it was actually relatable) and I discovered I wasn’t crap and actually quite good.

    Lastly nobody ever explained how to study at uni. As in, you should read ahead, lectures are for better understanding and tutorials for one to one help. We all thought lectures were where you learned and then asked questions in tutorials like at school. It’s a massive change and was hard to unlearn years of teaching with no prompting or explanation.

    Ultimately I felt really let down and it’s only now that I have a degree to my name. The social experience was great, Glasgow is a brilliant city but GU was not a good fit, academically, for me. For music Glasgow wins, no contest.

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    Thanks for the insight so 👍

    Premier Icon SSS
    Free Member

    Aberdeen Uni has a good rep, but i believe it (and RGU) are the only Uni’s (town) which dont have an actual student union building.
    If looking for the ‘all round’ student experience (when we all get back to normal and attend classes/campus) id favour Edinburgh or Glasgow.

    Premier Icon DirtyLyle
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    Aberdeen 1998-2002, though as above, not engineering. Obvs this is going back 20 years but the live music scene was really good. Triptych festival back then, good venues, most good bands seemed to appear there – I saw everyone from Muse, to Grandmaster Flash & Kool Herc, to Super Furries and on and on.

    Uni was good, great campus and I believe facilities have only improved since. 1st year accommodation was a good hour walk into the city centre, but was in Seaton Park, so was actually great.

    I loved going to Uni there, but this was at the very peak of the oil boom, so there was a LOT more money sloshing around the place back then…

    Premier Icon mashr
    Free Member

    Will limited Glasgow experience mirrored Squirrelkings. I lasted a year before I sacked it off, but this was 2000 so maybe things have changed. The whole establishment seemed up its own arse, at first I just figured that was how uni was but then went to Strathclyde and had a far better experience. Would really hope this has improved in 20 years though.

    My Aberdeen experience is limited to friends who went there, they enjoyed going there, I enjoyed visiting.

    Premier Icon duckman
    Full Member

    The Union was across from Marschial,has been shut for years. I did my post grad there in 2005. I was a mature student but the Uni population seems much more spread out rather than there being a student quarter. My partner lives about 30mins south so we are out and about in the town a fair bit. It has struggled to cope with the decline of oil and gas and the music scene wasn’t as good pre covid as it was 10 years ago. But hey-ho.Second Krakatoa as a good music venue, it is the sleazy rock pub that every town should have with the bonus of music and rum cocktails that are on fire.

    Premier Icon konagirl
    Free Member

    For a lot of the engineering sector being accredited can be a deal-breaker for employment, so make sure the course is accredited to the level they are looking at, so that they can become Chartered:

    Only have limited knowledge through my partner and his friends, but certainly there is / has histroically been a difference in the approach to teaching at Russell Group to Pre-1992 universities (old polytechnics). The Russell Group have tried to hold on to ‘academic’ learning but the pre-1992 have realised to give engaging teaching and get good employment records to encourage people to spend their fees in those places – true for England and perhaps not as stark a difference in Scotland – but for Engineering I suspect it might be the case that the hands-on and industry experience is better thought out at the Unis that can’t simply shout ‘reputation’ at you. Depending on what branch of Engineering they are applying to, do have a really good read of what projects, industrial outreach or competitions do the Uni departments get involved with? e.g. in automotive (mechanical / electronics / mechatronics) there is Formula Student; there will be lots of similar competitions in other fields that you get course credits for (although you have to do extra out-of-hours work) and have great skills, experience and networking opportunities.

    Premier Icon ahsat
    Full Member

    I just would exercise some caution on some of the comments above in that they all come from people studying those degrees before I was an undergrad (different Uni, different course). I am now an Associate Professor and teach on several degree programmes, all of which have gone through review(s) in the 10+ years I have been teaching (and quite a bit of staff changes). I would make sure that your son speaks with students on the current course, who will give a far better idea as to the nature of teaching today, rather than 20 years ago (most lecturers have given up using overhead slides, for example…! :-P). The views are all still very valid, but HE has changed.

    One thing which I don’t think people totally appreciate (I certainly didn’t when applying) is the specifics of the course (particularly at a research intensive uni) will be in part determined by the staff research interests – so that one course can be quite different to another. Def look at the module titles (the full module outlines are also normally online) and the teaching/assessments modes to check with they fit with his interests.

    Accreditation, as mentioned above, is a very valid point.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Eldest is at Heriot Watt, second year undergrad of Mechatronics and Autonomous Control Systems on 5 year straight through to Masters.

    He discounted:

    – Aberdeen as it seems quite ‘traditional’ and geared towards oil and gas. He liked the nearby riding options….

    – Glasgow for similar reasons to posters above – it seemed really academic rather than applied, even on open day the lecturers seemed nonplussed as to some of the routes / options available.

    – Strathclyde – he really liked, but felt huuuuuge in student number. Second choice IIRC.

    – Napier – he really liked, but the courses just were not quite what he wanted to study – IIRC the electrical and electronic engineering was very ‘heavy industry, big voltage’ from what was shared on open day.

    – Heriot Watt – he chose because a) smaller in student number and on the open day he actually met tutors who were teaching that course – and they seemed very good b) they were very open about placements, practical work, sponsors via employers etc and seemed to be well organised on this front. c) he is building frikkin’ robots!

    Premier Icon poah
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    I think if you are doing engineering you’d be silly not to look at the apprentice schemes. job, paid and degree. Its what my eldest is going to to do.

    Premier Icon mashr
    Free Member

    OTOH you don’t get the full university experience.

    They are definitely worth looking at, some apprentices we’ve taken on have done very well from it

    Premier Icon trail_rat
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    I visited Aberdeen back in 03 prior to doing my degree.

    It struck me as oil and gas orientated and gearing you up to that.

    I decided to go to Dundee as I didn’t want to go into oil and gas. Dundee was medical and robotics based mech eng degree.

    Ended up working in oil and gas :/

    Premier Icon metalheart
    Free Member

    I went to AU in the 90’s and did the Engineering Degree with a mechanical bias.

    At the time there was a common 2 years for mech, elec & structures. You chose your specialism in the third year. It was a bit pick and mix!

    I am a building services engineer (not O&G). I went to speak to both RGU and UA, RGU told me how brilliant they were and how employers were beating down their door. AU told me how they could allow me to tailor the course to suit my preference/requirements which is what I did (I wanted an IMechE accredited degree as this would give me entry to CIBSE). I graduated with a 2.1 BEng(Hons) and I am now CEng registered so it worked. RGU was totally O&G focussed. I had a mate how was doing their mech degree and said that anyone who could went to AU… 🤷🏼‍♀️

    Personally I found AU pretty helpful and feel I got a decent education. I was an oddball in that I was 25 when I started and did half of first year and 5/8ths of second year on a part time basis gaining exemption from 7 courses on the basis of my previous qualification and I had to ‘barter’ for the 3 second year courses or leave the course. AU worked with me and made it happen.

    However all that said, Glasgow would have a much better social scene. There are reasonably well respected unis in Glasgow iirc (just can’t think off top of my head though).

    I do not work in O&G 🥳

    Premier Icon dyna-ti
    Free Member

    Spent a fair amount of time in Aberdeen University…

    …bar. Cheapest beer of anywhere 😀

    Premier Icon BigR
    Full Member

    Hugely disappointed with son’s experience of mech+aeronautics at Glasgow. I appreciate COVID has had an impact but 99.9% has been delivered remotely. No labs and tutorials sound a joke. When he was struggling and he spoke to a lecturer he was told ‘it was in the lecture notes’, no reference to alternative learning styles/resources.

    I am involved with teaching students on a daily basis and am embarrassed on their behalf. Having said that he has enjoyed his time in Glasgow. As others have said I would try and speak to current students, preferably with no flag to wave or axe to grind.

    Premier Icon guitarhero
    Free Member

    Aberdeen Uni 2010-2015 MEng Mechanical Engineering with Subsea Technologies. The O&G part was only in my masters year and prior to that I didn’t find AU O&G heavy at all. Yes those courses are available but as others said the majority is quite traditional and there is a lot of choice to tweak the syllabus. It was still general first 2 years when I was there. I like that and enjoyed learning a bit of civil and electrical prior to specialising in the final 3 years and this has actually been pretty useful in my current job.
    I ended up graduating just as oil prices hit the skids so left Afternoon and now work in a nuclear power station the future of which is pretty shaky in the Scotland.
    I also played in a band during this time but a really cheesy cover band so can add no insight into the health of the ‘scene’

    Premier Icon squirrelking
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    now work in a nuclear power station the future of which is pretty shaky in the Scotland

    Same, been spending the last week throwing isolators everywhere. Decommissioning is the name of the game, not sure what’s available for an Optech with a BSc honours in STEM though.

    IIRC I had the opportunity to go to Aberdeen or HW but took GU out of ignorance and a perception of prestige. 20 years later I’m not sure that was the best or most informed choice I ever made.

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