The general purpose of this research is to determine the readiness of the mechanical engineering programme candidates for distance education. The quantitative research method was used in the study. The research was carried out in the spring term of 2020–2021. The working group consists of mechanical engineering students studying at universities in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Russian Federation. 460 volunteer university students participated in the study. In order to improve their readiness in the research, a 4-week online training was given to the mechanical engineer programme candidates. The ‘readiness for distance education’ measurement tool, which was developed by the researchers and was prepared by calculating the reliability coefficient, was applied to the university students. The measurement tool was simplified by consulting experts in the field. Data were collected by an online questionnaire and a hand-held questionnaire. The collected data were analysed using the SPSS programme. Frequency, percentage, mean, standard deviation, minimum and maximum values were used to analyse the data obtained from the measurement tool. According to the results of the research, it was concluded that the university students’ readiness for distance education showed positive results and they did not have any problems while using the distance education system in their classes. © 2022 Kassel University Press GmbH. All rights reserved.