Frequently Asked Questions
What do Engineers do?
Engineers and Project Managers create tomorrow’s technology and environment. They apply scientific principles and common sense to make the world a more interesting, comfortable and safe place to live and work. Engineers and Project Managers integrate a knowledge of Mathematics, natural sciences and modern technology with creativity, communication skills and practical thinking. This challenging and dynamic profession is about finding new and inventive ways, and using tried and tested standard procedures, to anticipate, prevent and solve the problems of the physical world. Engineers and Project Managers are always looking ahead, questioning how things can be improved then analysing, planning and designing a way to make that happen.
Is Mathematics important if I want to study Engineering?
Engineers solve problems by quantifying and, for this reason, Mathematics is the keystone of the profession. You must be fairly comfortable working with Maths.
The entry requirement for BE programmes to the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI, Galway is a Grade C3 or higher on the Leaving Certificate Honours Maths paper.
However, if you are studying for Pass Maths in the Leaving Certificate, you can still gain entry to the College of Engineering and Informatics by passing the NUI, Galway Special Engineering Entrance Examination. The standard of this exam is between the Higher and Lower level Leaving Certificate Mathematics. The Special Engineering Entrance Examination is held during the summer months and you can get the exact date, the syllabus and sample papers here.
Is Mathematics important if I want to be a Project Manager?
Mathematics is an important subject for Project Managers. At least Grade D3 in the Higher level paper of the Leaving Certificate, (or its equivalent), or at least Grade B3 in the Ordinary level paper of the Leaving Certificate (or its equivalent), in Mathematics is required for entry to the B.Sc. in Project and Construction Management.
What about Physics, Technical Drawing?
You need one Laboratory Science Subject. This could be Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics with Chemistry (joint) or Agricultural Science. You need not have studied Technical Drawing or Computing to start Engineering at NUI, Galway.
But won't I be at a disadvantage without those subjects?
At NUI, Galway the aim of first year is to bring everyone to an acceptable level in Science, Computing and Technical Drawing. Physics, Chemistry, Technical Drawing and Computing are all taught from first principles assuming little or no prior knowledge. Clearly having covered these topics before is a help but is by no means essential. First year may be easier for those who have covered these subjects at secondary school but by the end of first year, everyone will be on an equal footing.
Are there jobs for Engineers and Project Managers out there?
Job prospects are excellent for Engineering and Project Management graduates from NUI Galway. The world is a fast-changing place and will always need Engineers and Project Managers to create new technology and to anticipate, prevent or solve problems. There is a constant demand for NUI Galway Engineering graduates because a Degree in Engineering from NUI Galway is recognised and respected - locally, nationally and internationally.
What are the employment prospects?
In some sectors, such as computing and electronics, the job prospects continue to be excellent. Clearly other branches of engineering are more affected by the current economic difficulties. However, by the time that the current intake graduates, it is highly likely that areas such as construction will have recovered and that demand will again be strong. The world is a fast-changing place and will always need Engineers and IT professionals to create new technology and to anticipate, prevent or solve problems. There is a constant demand for NUI Galway Engineering and IT graduates because the degrees from NUI Galway are recognised and respected - locally, nationally and internationally.
What about the different kinds of Engineers?
The Civil Engineer is a problem solver who applies the fundamental laws of science to obtain solutions for a broad range of issues associated with the infrastructure that surrounds us, such as the provision of buildings, transportation systems and water supply.
The role of the Environmental Engineer has expanded dramatically in recent years in response to an ever increasing awareness of our surroundings. The Environmental Engineer develops and applies various techniques to ensure a safe water supply, the prevention of pollution and the disposal of waste.
The Mechanical Engineer applies his/her knowledge of Science and Mathematics in the design of devices and machines. Applications of Mechanical Engineering are all around us. The cars we drive, the airplanes in which we fly, the turbines driving the generators producing our electricity, machinery used on farms and in manufacturing and processing industry, appliances in the home such as central heating and so on.
The Biomedical Engineer extends an engineer’s natural curiosity about how things work to include the human body. Biomedical Engineers design and create machines, devices, instruments and materials to enable the Medical Profession to diagnose disease and repair or replace damaged living tissue.
Electrical and Electronic Engineers use sophisticated computers and programmes to design the electronic and electrical products and systems of the future.
Electronic and Computer Engineers focus on computer hardware, software and systems to meet the demand for combined hardware and software design. By having a full understanding of both hardware and software applications the Electronic and Computer Engineer is well placed to design and develop systems that maximise the potential of both areas.
Sports and Exercise Engineers use their expertise in Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Health Sciences (Anatomy, Physiology and Rehabilitation) to design systems and devices to monitor and enhance sports and exercise performance both for elite athletes and for young, old and disabled exercisers. For example, Sports & Exercise Engineers can develop: wearable systems that tell a runner if he/she is on target with an exercise programme and is training within his/her training zone; devices telling a coach in real-time how his players are responding physiologically to the demands of competition; systems providing a rower with real-time feedback on his/her rowing style and portable electronics encouraging an elderly person to adhere to an exercise programme prescribed by his physician. Sports & Exercise Engineers also can design more effective gym equipment, making exercise equipment more suitable for use by elderly exercisers and can design systems to: enhance children’s adherence to exercise or enhance the effectiveness of the wide range of sports equipment used in competititve sport.
For more details on the various branches of engineering, see the programme description for NUI Galway programmes in this Prospectus.
What if I don't know which programme I want to take?
NUI Galway was the first University in Ireland to offer a one year “Undenominated” Engineering programme, in addition to the individual programmes, especially for people who would like more of an insight into all the disciplines within engineering before deciding which career path to follow. Students entering the College via this route have until the end of their first year to decide which of the denominated programmes they wish to join. While most students can expect to be assigned to the programme of their choice, this cannot be guaranteed. Allocation of places may be based on overall performance at the First University Examination in Engineering and/or CAO points at entry.
The course outline for this programme is available here.
Are Undenominated Engineering students guaranteed a place in the specialist area they choose in second year?
While most students can expect to be assigned to the programme of their choice, this cannot be guaranteed. Allocation of places may be based on overall performance at the First University Examination in Engineering and/or CAO points at entry.
Can I transfer from an Institute of Technology/Other University? What are the guidelines/entry requirements?
Guidelines for the Admission of Students holding N.C.E.A. Diplomas or HETAC B.Eng. (Ordinary) to Engineering Courses at NUI, Galway
- Third Year Entry: The minimum attainment required of holders of HETAC qualifications seeking admission to Third Year of the BE Degree Courses in the College of Engineering and Informatics is a Distinction in an appropriate National Diploma/Level 7 Degree.
- Second Year Entry: The minimum attainment required of holders of HETAC qualifications seeking admission to the Second Year of BE Degree Courses in the College of Engineering and Informatics is Merit in an appropriate National Diploma/Level 7 Degree.
- Repeat results of Autumn will not normally be considered.
Guidelines for the Admission of Students holding HETAC
Certificates/Diplomas/Ordinary Level Degrees to the B.Sc. Degree Course in Information Technology Courses at NUI, Galway
- Third Year Entry: The minimum attainment required of holders of HETAC qualifications seeking admission to Third Year of the BSc in Information Technology is a Merit I, Merit 2 or Distinction in an appropriate National Diploma/Level 7 Degree. Only candidates who have completed courses with primarily a Software/Applied Computing focus will be considered.
- Second Year Entry: The minimum attainment required of holders of HETAC qualifications seeking admission to Second year of the BSc in Information Technology is a Merit I, Merit 2 or Distinction in an appropriate National Certificate/Level 6 Higher Certificate. Only candidates who have completed courses with primarily a Software/Applied Computing focus will be considered.
For further details see: http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering/transfer.html
What is PEP?
The College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI, Galway incorporates a Professional Experience Programme (PEP) in all its undergraduate programmes of study. Following completion of their third year of study, students undertake a five-month (April-August) off campus work-based learning programme. In the event that no external placement is available, students will be given projects on campus by their discipline. PEP gives undergraduate students an opportunity to work on projects, relevant to their course of study. PEP is an integral part of the third year programmes of study and all students must complete a PEP module prior to graduation. Following PEP students return to the University for their final year of study.
The NUI, Galway industrial placement or work-based training programme gives participating students a practical appreciation of the needs and modus operandi of industry and so improves significantly their prospects of obtaining employment after graduation. Companies and organisations from the Building and Civil Engineering, Local Authorities, Consulting Engineers, Healthcare, Electronic, Software, Insurance, Banking and Financial sectors partake in the programme. The majority of students are placed within Irish companies and enterprises; however in approved circumstances overseas placement is possible.