So, You Want to be an Engineer?

Engineers are problem solvers. To solve problems, they use scientific and mathematical principles as tools.

To be an engineer, you must have a strong aptitude for problem solving, mathematics, chemistry and physics, physics is probably the most important tool. You must be interested in applying these scientific principles to the real world.  If you are interested in building, understanding, and making things better and more efficient, engineering may be right for you.

There are four main branches of engineering as well as some specialised fields.

1. Mechanical Engineering – You will learn a little bit of everything at a basic level, but will focus on mechanics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and materials science. Aeronautical and Mechatronic Enginering are sub-fields.

2. Electrical Engineering – A broad field that has three main branches: Electrical Power Engineering, Electronics Engineering and Computer Engineering. In general, you will study how electricity can be applied to provide energy. Telecommunication Engineering is a sub-field.

3. Civil Engineering – One of the oldest engineering disciplines. This deals with designing buildings and other structures, such as bridges and roads. Industrial engineering, traffic engineering and environmental engineering are sub-fields.

4. Chemical Engineering – This field deals with synthesizing new chemical to be put to good use. It also involves studying chemical reactions and how they can be harnessed to produce energy. Process Engineering (Chemical and mineral) and Materials engineering are sub-fields.

Engineering and Engineering Technology – how are they different?

Graduates from engineering degrees at University of Cape Town or University of Stellenbosch are called engineers.  They often purse entry –level work involving conceptual design or research and development.  Many continue on to graduate-level work in engineering.  An engineering degree allows you to register with the Engineering Council of South Africa.

Graduates of four-year engineering technology programs are called technologists, while graduates of two-year engineering technology programs are called technicians.  These professionals are most likely to enter positions in sectors such as construction, manufacturing, product design, testing or technical services and sales.

Tertiary Institute

Field of Study Qualification Entry Criteria

UCT

Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Computer, Electro-Mechanical, Mechanical, Mechatronics. Bachelor of Science in Engineering (three years with option to take an honours year) Probable offers of places with an to candidates with an aggregate of 70%, Maths 80% and Physics 70%

Stellenbosch

Chemical, Mineral Processing, Civil, Electrical, Electronic, Industrial, Mechanical, Mechatronic Bachelor of Engineering (four years) At least an aggregate of 60% with 70% for Maths and 60% for Physics

CPUT

Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Industrial, Mechanical, Marine, Mechatronics National Diploma (two years course work, one year practical) BTech (additional one year) Maths, English and Physical Science at least code 4 (50-59%) with at least code 3 (40-49%) for other subjects

Cape College

Building and Civil Engineer National Diploma (two years plus 24 months in workplace to register) Matric pass with pass in Maths and Physical Science

False Bay College

Electrical Engineering, Fitting & Turning, Suspension Fitting, Civil Engineering, Motors, Fabrication National Certificate Various, some courses have entry with Gr 9 pass, some with Matric pass, some require matric maths

Northlink College

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering National Certificate and National Diploma Diploma: Matic pass with pass in Maths and Physical ScienceCertificate: Gr 10 pass with pass in Maths and Physical Science

 

13 replies
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      You apply with your end of Grade 11 report for all applications. At UCT they will consider your application for early place offers once you have submitted two sets of results.

      Reply
  1. Tshepo
    Tshepo says:

    Thanks..My final question is what happens,if you merely decide to study abroad.Within international universities.Can you also send your final grade 11 results for early admission or should you only utilise your grade 12-results

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      You will need to check with the institute you want to study at. Some do give early offers and some do not. Early offers are always conditional on your final results.

      Reply
  2. lina
    lina says:

    Hey..Can we apply to start to apply to wits with our grade 12 June results instead of grade 11 final
    Or are the grade 11 final results needed most

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, Many companies will offer you a work shadow. This is a worthwhile experience in getting to understand how your chosen career field works and also checking that you are really interested in it. Kath

      Reply
  3. Tatenda
    Tatenda says:

    Is the any University in SA that you can study civil engineering with grade 11 results

    Thanks in advance for those who are going to help

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, You will need matric to study at an SA University or any university internationally. You can study a certificate course at a TVET College without matric and they will have options in engineering. TVET college courses are funded by NSFAS. All the best, Kath

      Reply
  4. Lesego
    Lesego says:

    Gooday..I want to find out if I have 4 distinctions along with 91% for physical sciences,100% for life sciences,66% for maths,90% English…What are my chances of getting accepted into wits for electrical engineering???Please help!!!

    Reply
    • Kath Morse
      Kath Morse says:

      Hi, Was the 66% for maths a mistype? If you have distinctions Maths and Physics then you are in a very strong position. You can calculate your APS using the table here – https://www.wits.ac.za/undergraduate/entry-requirements/ You need an APS of 36+ and English HL or 1st Add Lang – 5 Mathematics – 5 Physical Science – 5 to meet minimum requirements. They suggest that an average of at least 70% puts you in a better position because there is a lot of competition for spaces. All the best, Kath

      Reply

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