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A Promising Future in Mechatronic Engineering

What to expect from the “engineering of the modern age”.

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Mechatronic engineers working on a project.

What is mechatronic engineering about?

Mechatronics has a cool ring to it – almost like the combat robot suits that shoot lasers, while in reality - it is almost as cool!

But what is it about?

Engineering studies are divided into 4 big branches – chemical, civil, mechanical, and electrical.

Mechatronic engineering mind map.

If you enrol in the mechanical engineering course, your focus would be more general – wider, in a sense. You will learn about mechanical design in topics like:

i) Mechanics;
ii) Power;
iii) Control;
iv) Manufacturing

However, if you go for mechatronics, it combines the usual mechanical aspect of engineering with electrical, computer and software skills.

Put simply – It is a digitalised version of mechanical engineering, where you will learn theoretically and (actually) put your hands on smart technologies such as robots and many more.

Of course, this robot wouldn’t be as cool as the mecha-fighting robots you see in films or video games, but if you study hard enough, perhaps you’ll be the one creating them in the future.

What are the major fields of mechatronic engineering?

Robotic hand on display.

Now that you know what you would generally learn in mechatronics, it would be helpful to know the fields of specialisation in mechatronics engineering.  Mechatronics is built upon a few fields of specialisation such as:
 
1. Mechanical

Here, you will learn about the mechanics of things! 

The mechanical field is where you would focus on design, problem-solving and understanding the theoretical concepts behind how certain mechanics function. 

You are expected to understand things like motion & energy, thermal mechanics, fluid mechanics and many more. 
 
2. Electrical

Knowledge of the electrical aspect of engineering is another crucial thing that a mechatronic engineer must learn to master.

In this field, you will study the theories regarding the electrical mechanism, electromagnetism and electronics. This is important for you to render your invention functional. 

For example, if you invent a robotic arm, you must also know how much electrical energy it needs, how much power is too much, which electrical system would be the safest, and so on.

You will also study some designs (and at a certain point design them yourselves), and learn how to work with the devices commonly found in this field. 
 
3. Computer

If electricity is the blood of mechatronics, computer engineering is the heart of it. Here is where most of your knowledge will be applied. 

In this field, you will not only learn, design and work with the hardware of a computer, but you will also learn how to combine the two biggest parts of a computer - its software and hardware. 

While upgrading hardware and software of computers and electronic devices is common amongst mechatronics professionals, this field actually goes beyond that. Think bigger - like facilitating a rocket launch into space!
 
4. Software Engineering

Imagine this: You have assembled all the required devices, plugged all the wires, screwed in all the bolts, your rocket is ready to launch, but there is one thing missing - the whole ship is barren of any software.

Software engineering is one of the most important fields of mechatronics. Without it, how do you obtain data about the rocket’s performance and status? How are the ship components going to regulate themselves to not explode? What about updates from the crew?

That is why software engineering is so important. In this field, you will learn how to design, develop, update or maintain software to make sure devices and systems work in the way they are intended, or even better. 

What subjects are taught in mechatronic engineering?

Small robot on the table.

While studying mechatronics, there are plenty of subjects for you to choose from - each will bestow you with a certain set of skills. Our advice is for you to either diversify your choice to cover a lot of scopes or specialise in a field that you are passionate about.

Here are some of the subjects offered. They may vary according to respective institutions:

  • Analogue Electronics
  • Computer-aided Design/Computer-aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM)
  • Communication Engineering Principles
  • Control Engineering
  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Digital Electronics
  • Electrical Systems
  • Electromagnetic Field Theory
  • Engineering Mathematics
  • Engineering Project Management
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Machine Design
  • Machine Vision & Intelligence
  • Numerical Methods & Statistics
  • PLC & Pneumatics Systems
  • Power Electronics & Drive
  • Product Creation Technology
  • Robotics Technology
  • Sensors & Actuators
  • Signals and Linear Systems
  • Strength of Material
  • Thermodynamics & Heat Transfer

Skills and characteristics needed to pursue mechatronic engineering

Mechatronic engineer working.

Here are a few core skills needed for you to ace mechatronics course:
 
1. Mathematics

It is no secret that mathematics is the foundation of most engineering courses. You will need to crunch the numbers, and we kid you not - you will have to do it a lot!

However, don’t let that scare you away. You’re most likely to develop the mathematical skills that you have already learned in high school, such as algebra, calculus, geometry and statistics.
 
2. Physics

Physics is another core subject in which engineering studies are built from. You can’t avoid it - you must know the principles of physics and how to apply them in real life to ace this course. 

Other knowledge in physics such as atomic structures, electrics, dynamics, and materials will also help you easily navigate through the field of mechatronics.
 
3. Problem Solving

This one is more practical in its sense, but engineering itself is about solving humanity’s biggest challenges and problems - energy efficiency, exploring Mars, saving lives, and even putting an end to fried eggs annoyingly sticking to your pans - all these are the wonders of engineering!

However, if you think your problem-solving skills are not yet up to par, don’t worry, you’ll learn them as you go.
 
4. Computer & Electronics 

Mechatronics is more technology-centric compared to its mechanical counterpart. Of course, you’ll need to be prudent in computers and electronics in any branch of engineering, but in mechatronics, you’ll have to dig a bit deeper. 

In mechatronics, you will learn how to use software to model designs, solve problems, programming, apply theories on simulations, and the list goes on! 

Mechatronic engineering programmes in Malaysia

Looking for mechatronics programmes in Malaysia? We can assist you! Check out these programmes and universities:
 
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) 

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical-Mechatronics) 
  • Master of Engineering (Mechatronics and Automatic Control)

Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Mechatronics Engineering

International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics) (Honours)    

Universiti Teknikal Malaysia (UTeM)

  • Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering with Honours
  • Master of Science in Mechatronic Engineering (MEKM) - Research

University of Malaya

  • Master of Engineering (Mechatronics

Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN)

  • Master of Mechanical Engineering - Research

Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP)

  • PhD in Mechatronics & System Design - Research

Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UNIMAP)

  • PhD in Mechatronic Engineering - Research

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)

  • PhD in Mechanical Engineering - Research in Automation

Salary outlook of fresh graduates in mechatronics engineering

Upon graduating with mechatronics engineering, there is a vast area of practice that you can dwell in. To make it easier for you, here’s a list of the jobs and their potential salaries (per month):

  • Robotic Engineer: RM 3,211 - RM 4,789
  • Automation Engineer: RM 4,449 - RM 7,052
  • Electrical Design Engineer: RM 2,750 - RM 4,580
  • Mechanical Design Engineer: RM 2,750 - RM 3,800
  • Data Scientist: RM 2,500 - RM 6,080
  • Instrumentation Engineer: RM 1,500 - RM 3,800
  • Software Engineer: RM 1,500 - RM 4,300 

From all the salary ranges mentioned above, the average salary that you would most likely expect is around RM 3,875.

In terms of geographical area, many openings are around the industry-heavy district of Shah Alam, Selangor. There are also a few openings around Kuala Lumpur, followed by other states/districts such as Penang and Melaka.

Do they pay higher when you work closer to, if not within Kuala Lumpur? The answer is - not really. There are a few job openings with remarkably higher salaries offered in Kuala Lumpur, however, on average, the job offers in industry-heavy districts such as Shah Alam have a range of higher pay. 

Here’s a tip - when applying for jobs, your future employers sometimes would try to negotiate your salary to its lowest. Our advice is to know your worth and stand your ground! 

How long is the duration of studies for mechatronic engineering in Malaysia?

It will depend on the level of studies and chosen universities, but this is the general estimate:

Bachelor’s Degree: 4 - 6 years
Master’s Degree: 1 - 4 years
Doctoral Degree: 2 - 5 years

How much does it cost to study mechatronic engineering in Malaysia?

Here is the general estimate for the tuition fees:

Bachelor’s Degree: RM 5,600 - RM 73,550
Master’s Degree: RM 5,986 - RM 59,400
PhD: RM 10,650 - RM 63,390

What are the entry requirements in Malaysia?

Here are the general requirements for you to be in mechatronics engineering, however, this may vary by institution. 

Mechatronic engineering fresh graduate signing a document.

Bachelor's degree

Malaysian:

  • STPM or equivalent with PNGK (CGPA) of 2.00 and grade of C (NGMP 2.00) in three (3) subjects including Pengajian Am; OR
  • STAM with a minimum grade of Jayyid Jiddan and SPM grade of C in five (5) subjects including Bahasa Melayu and Mathematics; OR
  • Matriculation / Foundation / Asasi from Public or Private Higher Education Institutions with a minimum CGPA of 2.00 and SPM grade of C in three (3) subjects including Bahasa Melayu; OR
  • Diploma programme in relevant field with minimum CGPA of 2.50 and SPM grade of C in three (3) subjects including Bahasa Melayu; OR
  • Other equivalent qualifications recognised by the Government of Malaysia
  • Some universities may require you to pass Malaysian University English Test (MUET) at Band 2. 

International student:

  • Senior High School / Senior Secondary School / Other Equivalent Pre-University Examinations from the Government School (12 Years). OR
  • Level / Diploma in the related field; OR
  • Other certificates recognised by the Malaysia Qualifications Agency (MQA) & senate of the university
  • Students must also obtain a band score of 5.5 and above in IELTS, 
  • OR 500 and above in TOEFL; OR
  • 59 and above in TOEFL IBT; OR
  • Completion of ELS Certified Intensive English Programme (CIEP) Level 107 or higher

Masters

Malaysian:

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in relevant fields from any recognised institution; or
  • Any qualification equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree and experience in the relevant field that is recognised by the university.

International student:

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in relevant fields from any recognised institution; or
  • Any qualification equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree and experience in the relevant field that is recognised by the university.
  • English language tests as follows - IELTS, TOEFL, or MUET (depends on the institution)

Doctor of Philosophy

Malaysian:

  • A Master’s Degree in related fields from any recognised institution; or
  • Other qualifications equivalent to a master’s degree recognised by the University.

International student:

  • A Master’s Degree in related fields from any of the institutions of higher learning recognised by the University Senate; or
  • Other qualifications equivalent to a Master’s Degree recognised by the University.
  • English language tests are as follows - IELTS, TOEFL, or MUET (depends on the institution).  
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