Subject Group: Practical
These subjects are 'hands- on' and involve working with tools and machinery on physical things like wood, metals and plastic. They may involve designing, planning and building things.
Engineering promotes an educational understanding of the materials and a knowledge of the processes associated with mechanical engineering. This is achieved through the development of skills and initiative in the planning, development and realization of technological projects in a safe manner.
You would really have to have done Junior Certificate metalwork to have a good idea as to what is involved in engineering. There is a good mix of theory and practice involved in these subjects. Many students enjoy the practical aspect but are not too happy when it comes to the theory. You will have to present a project as part of the Leaving Certificate examination, so talk to the teacher involved so that you know exactly the balance between the theory and practicals in this subject.
Third Level Entry Requirements This subject is not an essential requirement for any courses in the CAO system.
Data Sources: The information on these pages has been compiled from a variety of sources including the NCCA, Newbridge College / Brian Howard, Dept. of Education & Skills, and student interviews. Information in the 'People who took this subject' section reflects the views of those people interviewed on this website and is offered as informal and potentially useful information only.
While CareersPortal.ie attempts to keep this information as up to date and accurate as possible, we do not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of this information or decisions made on the basis of this information. Students should always discuss subject options with parents / guardians / guidance counsellors..
In hindsight, I am happy to say I wouldn't have done anything differently to date! In my Junior Cert I did 9 subjects ; Maths, Irish, English, History, Geography, Science, Business Studies, French and Tech Graphics. I liked Languages and history the least. I won't lie, Maths, Geography, and Tech Graphics were the ones I enjoyed the most.
When I was choosing for my leaving Cert I still hadn't decided what I would do when I was finished. I was thinking of Engineering, Teaching or Physiotherapy. I wanted to leave my options open. To do physio you need a language (to get in to UCD) and 2 science subjects. I decided to do Maths, Irish, English, French, Geography, Physics and Chemistry for my leaving. That left all the options open.
I was good at Business Studies, but after looking at courses in college, I discovered you don't usually need a business subject to get into a business course. This is not the case for Science based courses. In 6th year I took up Applied Maths. Since I was doing Physics and Maths I had a good background for the subject. Twenty classes and just homework, and I got an honour. If anyone was to ask me if they should do it, if you like maths, its a great subject!
Subjects I look were Chemistry, Technical Drawing, Business Studies and German for my Leaving Cert. All of which I have used since and believe it or not business aspects including accounting are an integral part of engineering
I would say that Physics and Applied Maths would have come in very useful as it was tough entering an Engineering Degree without having either of these.
My Leaving Cert subjects were as follows: English, Irish, Maths, French, Physics, Technical Drawing, Art and Engineering.
I initially chose my options subjects based on what I thought would be good for a career in Civil Engineering or Architecture but I soon discovered that Physics, Engineering and honours maths provided me numerous choices when I eventually had to decide which career path I wanted.
I would highly recommend these subjects for anyone thinking of doing engineering as a career.
After my Junior Certificate in secondary school, I chose to study Physics, Chemistry and Classical studies for the Leaving Certificate.
Physics gave me a basic understanding of mechanics, which I found very enjoyable and this influenced my decision to choose mechanical engineering.
Chemistry and Classical Studies were subjects that I found very enjoyable but did not really entice me to choose a career in those areas.
Engineering drawing provides a basic understanding in this area and this is a subject that I studied through-out my 5 years in college and use on a regular basis in my job.
I would recommend a student to study physics and engineering drawing and possibly metalwork as these subjects would best support mechanical engineering as a career.
However I believe that it is not imperitive to study these subjects or to excel in these areas to pursue a career in engineering. My first year in college involved learning the basics of many subjects including maths, mechanics and engineering drawing. This allowed those who were weak in those subjects to catch up.
The subjects I took in school were: English, Irish, Maths, Physics, Music, Social and Scientific, History and French. Having not realised until late in 5th year that I wanted to study engineering in college, I then took physics as an 8th subject at the minimum required pass level. As I had an interest in engineering and the right mindset, the pass physics course was relatively straight forward. As my wise physics teacher advised me, if I didn't enjoy the physics course I most likely would not enjoy engineering.
In hindsight, I should have chosen a science subject as part of my core subjects - all students should. But sometimes school timetables can simply not facilitate everybody's preferences and choices must be made - the important thing is to choose the subjects that are right for you. It is also important to note that it is not essential to have either science subjects or honours maths to achieve a degree in engineering. There are many routes of entry to suit all levels and skills. However, the important thing is to have an interest and enjoyment of these subjects in order to become a good engineer.
Apart from the core subjects such as Maths, English and Irish, I also studied Biology, Geography and German. Nowadays students have access to courses such as environmental science, heritage studies and engineering, which would be of benefit if they decided to study Forestry.
In hindsight I would have loved to have studied more Environmental subjects and attended some management/business style courses.
I took honours Engineering, honours Physics, and honours Chemistry. The other subject I had was Technical Drawing.
If I was to do it again, I would do French and Home Economics, and the Engineering because it did help me in this role, and probably Business. I would take more on the finance side if I knew I was taking this route.
My Leaving Cert subjects were as follows: English, Irish, Maths, French (obligatory subjects. My choice subjects were: Accounting, Physics & Chemistry. I did all honours subjects and I think doing honours Maths and English especially really help.
English is not immediately obvious when one thinks of a career in Engineering, but from the point of view of report writing and corresponding with team members and even customers via email etc, it is a very important skill to master.
I was not 100% sure of my career path at the time of choosing the above mentioned "choice-subjects". My way of thinking was, one business subject, one science and another one that I thought I might like or be good at. Physics, Chemistry and Accounting all have a common theme of maths and problem solving, this was my link into Electronic Engineering... In hindsight, had some form of technology or electronics courses been available in my school, I think these might have been helpful. I'm not sure which subject I would have replaced though!
I always loved biology, chemistry and languages and I was quite good at these subjects. I never really liked maths and physics but I knew that environmental studies and forestry had some technical and engineering elements. That is why I chose these subjects as the main ones during my college years.
For my final exams, which are equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate, I choose Biology and English. At this stage I didn’t even know how important this language would become in my future life and career.