Mechanical Engineering student stories

Students from the Mechanical Engineering course at Edinburgh Napier talk about their experiences.

I chose mechanical engineering because I think it covers a huge range of topics and has lots of career opportunities.

I went to China in late August and it was excellent. Immediately upon my arrival I started to meet people and make some friends.

BEng Mechanical Engineering

Emily Rankin, Mechanical Engineering 4th year student, discusses her love for the subject and what her hopes are for the future career

Tell us a bit about yourselfMechanical Engineering student Emily Rankin with a hard hat and high vis

I am from a small village outside Inverness called Beauly, I first moved to Edinburgh in 2014 and a few years later I decided to go to college and study for my HND in mechanical engineering. I then proceeded on to join Edinburgh Napier with an advanced entry into year three.

Why did you choose to study at Edinburgh Napier University?

I chose to study at Edinburgh Napier because I love Edinburgh and I think this university has really great industry connections. I think Edinburgh Napier, as a university, is really welcoming and has great facilities for students, such as the Jack Kilby Computing Centre and the libraries on each campus.

What attracted you into studying your course?

I always knew I wanted to be an engineer, I chose mechanical engineering because I think it covers a huge range of topics and has lots of career opportunities. The different opportunities that come with an engineering degree are very important to me, the career options are so varied, and you can work in many different industries. There is also a lot of opportunities to work in different countries.

Has your course given you any practical opportunities out-with standard teaching?

I took part in a student summer design challenge, called Are You Offsite Ready? where I helped design a sustainable visitor centre. This wasn’t directly part of my course; however, it was a great opportunity for me to gain some new skills and meet industry professionals. I also completed the Built Environment Exchange (beX) internship in my third year where I gained really valuable skills for future employment. These were great opportunities for me to expand my professional network.

Do you have any highlights of studying at Edinburgh Napier University?

I am on the committee for Napier’s Engineering Society which has been a really interesting experience. We work closely with lecturers to try and bridge the gap between academia and industry by providing opportunities for students. This was a great learning experience for me as I worked closely with lecturers and industry professionals to create these opportunities for students. I would highly recommend joining a society as I also met some great friends who I wouldn’t have met through my course.

Have you faced any challenges?

Covid-19 was a challenging situation, adapting to a completely different teaching style as well as completing exams online. It was also sad completing my fourth year remotely, I missed my class mates a lot and surprisingly really missed the Jack Kilby Computing Centre!

Would you recommend the course to others? If so, why?

I would recommend this course; mechanical engineering opens up a lot of options. There are also really interesting master’s courses you could go on to do after if that was something you wanted to do. The modules cover a lot of interesting topics and set you up for starting your career as an engineer.

What key skills have you learned from your university experience?

During university, I would say my confidence, technical and problem-solving skills have improved a lot. I do think it is important to speak to the career’s services at Edinburgh Napier alongside your studies and attend events such as careers week. I learnt a lot of employability, interview and CV writing skills by attending these events, which has helped me secure internships.  

Can you sum up your student experience living in Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is such a great city to live in, especially in the summertime. Around the Merchiston campus there are so many great coffee and brunch places. The city is so exciting during the Fringe Festival and its always great fun working in a Fringe venue!

What advice would you give to anyone considering studying this course?

Mechanical Engineering is a great challenging course to study and has lots of advantages, it certainly is not easy but as long as you manage your time well and don’t leave everything to the last minute you will have no problems! Be sure to speak to lecturers and make sure you understand exactly what is required from you for coursework. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions!

What’s next for you?

At the moment I am finishing off my dissertation, I am trying to secure a graduate job, with a few interviews lined up in the next few weeks. I hope to build a career working in sustainable construction or renewable energies and possibly work in a different country for a few years.

4th year student Nicole Pannekoek talks to us about her experience on Edinburgh Napier’s Mechanical Engineering course. She gives some tips and advice about studying in her favourite city, Edinburgh. 


My name is Nicole Pannekoek and I am a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student at Edinburgh Napier University. I originally came to Edinburgh Napier as an exchange student from another university in the Netherlands, but I fell in love with the Edinburgh sunsets and for some reason studying here worked better for me.

During my exchange I enjoyed all aspects of university life, and I was achieving much better grades than before, so I decided to switch universities and stay here.

I've always loved building and fixing thingsNicole Pannekoek in the lab

I’ve always loved building and fixing things. Mechanical Engineering gave me a chance to make a career out of that.

When I was like 6 or 7 maybe, I remember taking stuff apart, or breaking stuff, but I discovered if I do this, then that happens, but what if I add this? What happens then? You just kind of mess about until you get the result that you want. Or you end up getting something you didn’t want but it works anyway or it does something you like a lot more so you go in that direction. It’s that kind of tweaking, adjusting and just getting something that somehow clicks. I love when you get that lightbulb moment and that is why my sister and I ended up building a catapult when I was eight years old. The best part about that is I had to rebuild one for a university project years later with my class.

At first, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to study, I just knew I wanted it to be something technical, because I enjoy fiddling about with things and figuring out how they work. I chose mechanical engineering because I knew it was a broad subject, meaning it would provide me with many opportunities and I could go down many different routes with this degree.

During my time at university, I have learned many valuable skills that I can take forward with me into my career. 

Making the most of my student experience 

Living in Edinburgh during my studies has made my student experience indescribable. I have been part of the university’s Kayaking society and I believe this is one of the best ways to see Scotland’s beauty, you get to see and go places that are otherwise impossible to reach.

Walk-off the exam stress

The feeling that hangs around the Jack Kilby Computing Centre close to exam time is tense, but it can all be forgotten by just walking around, finding a pocket of green grass of which there are many hidden all around Edinburgh. You can soak up the beautiful sunsets on the walk home from a long day or from the top of Arthur’s seat. 

Why I love Edinburgh 

The spirit of everyone on a rugby day, the wind that almost blows you off your feet – all of these things sum up Edinburgh yet there isn’t one way to describe the city. You have to feel it, breathe it- and I am very lucky to do so.

Come see for yourself

My advice to anyone considering to study at Edinburgh Napier University would be to go to an open day, talk to students, talk to lecturers and walk around the campus. See if you can see yourself studying here. See if you can picture yourself not just around the campuses and the people but walking around the city as well.