Academic Programmes

The Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering's vision is to be a leader in the field of tertiary education at a university that is internationally recognized for academic excellence, and that is the premier national university in South Africa. The way in which the Department attains this goal is to place a premium on quality as the ultimate differentiating factor in our under- and postgraduate programmes, research programmes, quality of staff and students, service quality, quality of student life, quality of governance, quality of management and administration, and the quality of our facilities. We feel that there is no substitute for quality. It is integrated and part of the value framework of the Department.

The University of Pretoria's Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering has adopted a new framework for education in 2004. The main goal with the new framework is to teach engineering students not only the technical fundamentals of their disciplines, but also non-technical skills, such as working in teams, communicating through written or oral presentation, and considering their work within the context of society and professional ethics. Instead of emphasizing analysis and problem solving in a theoretical realm, classes will now stress team-based projects in which students go through the cycle of conceiving, designing, implementing and operating (or CDIO).

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) formally founded the CDIO initiative in the late 1990s and in 2000 it became an international collaboration, with top Swedish and British universities adopting the same framework. The collaborators maintain a dialogue about what works and what doesn't and continue to refine the project. Determining additional members of the collaboration is a selective process managed by the four founding institutions. The University of Pretoria was invited in 2004 to become a collaborator – the only university (at that stage) in the southern hemisphere and the only one in Africa.

The undergraduate programme of the Department is accredited by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) every years. It regularly receivs full accreditation. The accreditation gives full recognition of our programme by all the signatory countries of the Washington Accord (United Kingdom, Ireland, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Hong Kong).

A variety of new outcomes-based programmes have been implemented since 2000 to address the needs of the community in a constantly changing and highly technological environment. A wider choice of both specialized and more general training programmes have been developed, taking into account the demands made by life in South Africa today, particularly by its job market. The lecturers who present these modules are all specialists in their respective fields.

The Department frequently adjusts its under- and postgraduate training to ensure a unique contribution to the training of high-level human resources demanded both nationally and internationally. Your decision to register at this Department may change your life: you are taking the first step towards an exceptional career-oriented and academic training, and you are committing yourself to life-long learning, continued personal growth and service to the community. You will learn to:

  • equip yourself with specialist knowledge, insights and skills;
  • develop skills that are in demand in both the South African and the international labour market;
  • develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills;
  • do research;
  • make responsible specialist decisions, and talk and write confidently about your chosen field as an expert.

The Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering offers a BEng-degree and students may choose in their final year to concentrate on either mechanical or aeronautical engineering. It takes a minimum of four years to complete the degree. The Department also offers an extended study programme, namely the Five-Year Study Programme. The purpose of this programme is to create an alternative access route for students who are at risk because of their educational background, but who show the necessary academic potential, and to assist them to complete their studies successfully.

After completion of a BEng degree, students may qualify for postgraduate studies by enrolling for the following degrees: BEng(Hons) which consists entirely of course work, MEng (research work) and PhD (research work). More details are available in the Postgraduate section of this web page.

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