One of the broadest of subjects at university, general engineering embraces everything from electronics to infrastructure projects. General engineering is a creative as well as an analytical subject, and its spread is vast: from the microscopic intricacy of nanotechnology or the civil engineering challenge of designing a hydroelectric dam to the more everyday problems of constructing efficient lawnmowers or washing machines, the engineering of new materials used in sports equipment or space suits, or the field of software engineering.
Engineering courses of all kinds tend to place the emphasis on mathematical and scientific knowledge, on putting that knowledge into practice through design projects, on links with industry and often on building background skills that will be useful in the workplace, such as teamwork and management capability.
Most degrees with "engineering" in the title are specific to a particular branch of the subject, with the student choosing the field in which they want to specialise from the start. For example, courses in chemical engineering; civil engineering; electronic and electrical engineering; materials science and materials engineering; and mechanical and production engineering lead to separate degrees which are profiled elsewhere in this guide.