Whether you are completing an automotive apprenticeship or have already embarked upon a career in motorsport, choosing the right motorsport degree can have a huge impact on both your career prospects and your home life over the next few years.
According to WhatUni, there are currently 11 Universities offering 34 different Motorsport Engineering courses. Our additional research shows that there are more like 50 courses out there. But how do you choose the best course for you? Obviously, we’re little biased here at the National Motorsport Academy so expect this article favour our own motorsport qualifications. That said, we’re here to give you the best advice we can when it comes to choosing and applying for a motorsport degree.
Reputation is Everything
Choosing a University with a good reputation is incredibly important. Let’s face it, you’re investing a large amount in your future career, so you need to make sure that you’re learning from the best! Universities are ranked in terms of ‘teaching excellence’. This covers drop-out rates, student satisfaction survey results and graduate employment rates.
Under-graduate establishments are ranked Bronze, Silver or Gold by the Teaching Excellence Framework and awarded points based on teaching quality, learning environment and student outcomes and learning gain. These three factors allow you to be sure that you are learning from skilled educators, have access to the best resources and learning everything you need to get a job at the end of it. In the case of a motorsport degree, this is absolutely critical to your future employment potential!
Any future employer will not only look at the level and subject of your degree qualification, they will also look at the pedigree of the University it came from. Getting a mechanical engineering degree from a University famous for its Batchelor of Arts programme could be the difference between you and another candidate who graduated from an establishment known for its engineering facilities.
It will take you between three and six years to finish a degree in motorsport. Make sure the university or training provider you choose invests in qualities which will help you get the most out of your time, money and energy!
All of the NMA’s motorsport degrees are awarded by a university known for its teaching excellence and engineering courses – De Montfort University. DMU has a strong history of producing graduates in all manner of engineering fields. This is a win-win for our students as they not only benefit from our experienced motorsport professionals sharing their knowledge and expertise, they also get to use DMU resources and graduate from a world-renowned University. You even get an NUS card from De Montfort University to help you access student offers in restaurants, shops and to use on software packages such as Microsoft Office and Adobe suite. You can check a University’s TEF ranking here.
Learning the theoretical knowledge needed to operate as a skilled motorsport engineer is obviously hugely important but also consider whether you will get to put any of this knowledge into practice. It’s all well and good saying in an interview that you have been told how to understand simulation or data logging methods, another to say that you have actual hands-on experience of applying this knowledge on a build or race weekend.
Finding a motorsport degree which also allows you to put your learning into practice will go a long way when it comes to making it through the paper-sift when you come to apply for jobs. Here at the NMA, we not only provide hands-on learning opportunities as part of our GTO winning GT Cup team, we also insist that our students take part in motorsport in a practical sense outside of their studies with us. This can be as part of a karting team, as a volunteer scrutineer or marshal or even working in a related automotive field where everything you learn will have some kind of real-world relevance.
Some, but not all Universities have a karting or race team. Some have nothing so it will be down to you to go out and get the hands-on experience which will not only help make your learning relevant but will also help to prove you’ve got the skills needed to hit the ground running in the workplace.
Counting the Cost
There are no two ways about it, studying for a degree is expensive. Fees can run as high as £15000 for an MSc in Engineering which increases to an eye-watering £35000 for international students wanting to study at a UK university. Considering that you’ll be delaying your career by up to three years, the financial implications of studying for a motorsport degree can be a bit terrifying.
Student loans are a great way of off-setting tuition fees until you’re at a point in your career when you can afford to pay them back. The current threshold for earnings is set at £25,000 before the loan becomes repayable, meaning that you can then use your hard-earned qualifications to improve your earning potential.
Watch this quick video to hear from our current students.
The world of motorsport differs from traditional engineering environments. Many motorsport professionals don’t come through the traditional academic channels of A-Levels. They often start out as apprentice or entry level mechanics and then move through the ranks. Once you’ve set out on the path towards a career in motorsport, the idea of then taking a career break can seem financially impossible. Motorsport technology is also constantly evolving so taking three years out of the game can also leave you behind in both career progression and industry awareness.
The National Motorsport Academy was created by motorsport professionals who identified that there was a significant gap in the flexibility offered by traditional universities. The NMA offer the only motorsport qualifications where you can study alongside your current job, no need for a career break, no loss of earnings and the potential that your employer may even help cover some of your tuition fees. Our fees are also 40% lower than other Universities offering similar qualifications, with the option to pay by instalments and/or take out a student loan.
Just because our fees are cheaper, it doesn’t mean that you get a lesser learning experience. Our fees are lower because we deliver all of our course materials digitally. No classrooms, physical lectures, bricks and mortar to maintain. This also means that you can learn from anywhere, rather than moving or travelling to a physical university.
We did warn you that this blog would shamefully promote the National Motorsport Academy motorsport degree qualifications but we’ve got some pretty good USPs to brag about. We think that we offer the best of both worlds – degree courses accredited by a top UK university where you get hands-on experience and don’t have to sacrifice three years of your career progression and salary to improve your skills and earning potential.
To find out more about our motorsport degrees, click the links below:
BSc Motorsport Engineering Final Year Top-Up – For those already well-skilled or who already have an HND, Advanced Modern Apprenticeship or Foundation Degree
Or drop us a line for more details