Broadly speaking, your options are the same as those for researchers in other disciplines; see the career options pages for more details. The aim of this page is to look at some career options that may be particularly suitable for researchers in Mechanical Engineering. One important question to ask yourself is the extent to which you want to use your subject in any future career moves. It's entirely your choice - you will have acquired and developed many skills during your time as a Mechanical Engineering researcher which are complementary to the scientific and technical skills you might think define your career choice.
If you'd like to continue using your Engineering and would like some ideas as to how, see details of what previous Bath doctoral graduates in Engineering have gone on to do.
This covers the most obvious choices (academic and commercial engineering jobs) but there are many other options.
You might want to continue in engineering as a whole, but leave lab-based Engineering behind. There are many occupations in which your PhD would be valuable, including technical sales engineer, health and safety specialist, quality assurance, production or operations management, energy conservation, patent attorney, scientific journal editing or technical writing. Teaching (of design & technology, or maths or physics following an extension course) can also be an attractive option.
For more information about what these jobs involve, check out the 'Information sources' section below.
Options outside of your subject
If, having got to this stage, you're not sure that you want to use your Mechanical Engineering any more, don't despair! You have many skills and experiences that are highly valuable to employers - including numerical, IT, project management and business skills - and you can choose from the huge range of graduate jobs on offer, from structured training with large financial services firms to analysing policy for governmental departments. The key is to think of the skills you have and enjoy using and explore occupations that use them to suggest possible alternatives. For information on different types of jobs, explore the occupational profiles on Prospects.ac.uk.
One sector that particularly welcomes engineers is the finance sector. Investment banks, actuarial firms, accountants and professional services organisations value your numerical and problem-solving skills highly. Some may have slightly different recruitment pathways for PhD graduates so it is worthwhile checking on company websites. The role of quantitative analyst, which usually requires a PhD in a quantitative subject, involves using research, programming and analytical skills to design financial models used to trade in financial instruments. Quantitative analysts are employed in financial institutions including banks, hedge funds and investment banks. For more information on this role, view the Finance Train website and the Banking Blog on The Guardian website.
Some key resources to help you research career options with Mechanical Engineering:
Where to find jobs in your field
The engineering sector is huge and we can't provide an exhaustive list of vacancy sources; below are some of the more popular places to look:
Other pages for researchers