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Thread: ANU versus other South Australian Unis for Engineering

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    Question ANU versus other South Australian Unis for Engineering

    Hey. So, I'm in Year 12 at the moment and it's probably really late to be re-thinking this and I'm a little stressed. I want to study Biomedical Engineering in the future, most likely in the more research and development side of things... though, I'm not that certain on that yet. Anyway, I've been accepted into a scholarship program at ANU. It's a small one, but it's still a big help if I'm going to move. I was really set on ANU because they boast a very research-intensive program (Bachelor of Eng R&D) and have a major/minor system that seems great (I'm obviously going to major in Biomedical Systems). But I've been perusing the dark world of forums recently and many say that ANU is fairly terrible for Engineering. I've visited the uni and the allocated building for Engineering looks fairly tiny too (I know, I know, it's just one building and that's not where all the facilities are. It's materialistic, but I think it says a lot). I live in SA and I'm wondering if going to the local universities like Adelaide University or Flinders would be better. I understand that ANU has a better world ranking and whatnot, but I'm curious about their engineering faculty compared to my local unis. Though, even if the SA unis were better, I'm a little stuck on which-- Adelaide or Flinders-- would have better prospects for employment (I'm thinking of working for a bit before pursuing my Masters)? The Adelaide degree offers Biomed under Electrical and Electronics, which means I graduate with an E&E Eng degree. I feel like that would give me a better chance if I'm super hard-pressed for a job. Whereas, Flinders is a little more direct... though, I've toured their new Tonsley facilities and they seem amazing. It seems that they're really pouring everything into their Biomed degree. I dunno, am I being overly simplistic in my thinking?

    (Also, no, I don't think other unis in other states will be possible. The time for applications have passed, anyway)
    I appreciate that there are few that will know both these unis intimately, but any sort of experience/information you can offer on either would be great! What do I do

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    Re: ANU versus other South Australian Unis for Engineering

    First of all, ANU's engineering program isn't "terrible" by any means. But it's good to see you're reading these forums because there is some fair criticism, and you should be aware of what you're picking if you choose to go there.

    Normally, I would encourage you to apply to UNSW which has the largest and, arguably, the best engineering faculty overall in Australia. Alternatively, people often do well at their local Go8 university (surely it applies to Adelaide, although I'm personally not very informed about SA unis, including Flinders which may be unusually good in this area).

    My advice above, however, is directed to those who are after a traditional engineering stream like civil/mech/aero/EEE (indeed most people). In your specific case, ANU might be a particularly good fit (depending also on how you feel about moving to Canberra).

    If you are reasonably confident you're interested in a biomedical major (while studying more general engineering principles) and you're attracted to a research career too, then the R&D program would be excellent. Seeing as you've been offered a scholarship as well, it sounds like a fantastic opportunity!

    Perhaps, you could even consider combining the BEng with a BSc and doing a flexible double-degree for a greater focus on the biomed side. In fact, one of the strengths of ANU's program is how well it mixes with other fields of study to give you a transdisciplinary education. On the other hand, its main downside is the small size of the faculty/department (the facilities you've visited are a reasonable indication of that). Also, lots of graduates (too many?) end up in non-engineering positions, like two friends of mine who both started on the R&D path and, somehow, have wound up in corporate/consulting jobs instead.

    One last thing: please try to get a second opinion from someone who's familiar with Adelaide/Flinders and who, ideally, can make a meaningful comparison with these institutions. Good luck with your future studies wherever they may be. Also, don't stress because you will be fine either way.

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    Re: ANU versus other South Australian Unis for Engineering

    UNSW was my 'dream' university for a time, though, living in Sydney isn't economically viable personally so I gave up on that. Perhaps in the future, ahaha

    Also, yes, I have been really interested in biomedical engineering for years now. Also, yes! I was thinking of doing a combined/double degree in a science. I've heard many do go down that path. Flinders does offers a unique set of double degrees that I can combine with the BEng course as well. Between Adelaide University and Flinders, I think many here would pick Adelaide. Though, for biomed engineering, the Adelaide course isn't really well-known. I'll ask around some more.

    Thanks for the reply! It was great help. And I'll try not to stress
    Also, since you seem to have some knowledge on this... How's the job market out there in Australia for engineers? From what I've heard, electrical and electronics or mechanical engineering is suffering a little.

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    Re: ANU versus other South Australian Unis for Engineering

    Quote Originally Posted by niruom View Post
    Thanks for the reply! It was great help. And I'll try not to stress
    Also, since you seem to have some knowledge on this... How's the job market out there in Australia for engineers? From what I've heard, electrical and electronics or mechanical engineering is suffering a little.
    No worries!

    Sorry, despite my encyclopaedic knowledge of ANU degrees, I don't actually know anything about useful life facts like the job prospects for engineers.

    Just by looking it up now, the Australian government seems to agree with your impression that the prospects for Electronics Engineers and Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers are on the decline, although "employment for Electrical Engineers to November 2020 is expected to grow moderately." Unfortunately, Biomedical Engineer has been lumped into Other Engineering Professionals so the statistics there aren't really helpful.

    Speaking of employment, my final piece of advice is to read 80,000 Hours for some excellent guidance on your future career options. Their website a treasure trove of thoroughly researched, evidence-based articles on the topic. See: https://80000hours.org/
    Last edited by xixander; 15 Oct 2016 at 8:39 PM.

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