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Engineers here? degree question


TwoEdgedSword
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My son has been admitted to several schools with engineering programs. Some offer BSME, a Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering and some just a BS in Engineering with an emphasis or concentration in Mechanical.  At this moment his plan is to either to go to grad school for aerospace engineering after getting his BS, or transfer and complete the 4 year in aerospace engineering.

My thinking is that the universities that offer a BSME would be more desired and specialized than a BS with an emphasis in Mechanical.

All are ABET programs.

Should he only be considering the BSME? Or also consider the BS programs that have an emphasis option?

Thank you!

 

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I don't know the answer. I would look into what the grad school wants. Have you compared the classes of each program? UFL doesn't specify whether it has to be a BSME but it does have to be ABET accredited 

 

Quote
  1. A baccalaureate degree in Mechanical Engineering or in Aerospace Engineering, or baccalaureate degree in a closely related engineering discipline from an ABET accredited program.
  2. A minimum undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0/4.0.
  3. A minimum combined score of 301 for the GRE® Verbal and Quantitative portions with minimum of 151 Quantitative.  (GRE® tests taken prior to August 1, 2011 require a combined score of 1100 for the Verbal and Quatitative portions with a minimum of 650 Quantitative.)

 

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I can't answer definitively, but I agree with your instinct that a BSME is going to be the preference. MEs are recruited for the aerospace industry. My Dh and ds are chemEs, not MEs, but all the jobs they have had have specifically required a chemE or ME degree. I have never seen a job description for a general engineering degree with a ___________ focus.  I would be concerned about being filtered out bc of the lack of the BSME.

FWIW, I would have him spend time doing research on who hires and what degrees they are hiring. When our physics geek ds was considering engineering vs straight physics and cosmology, researching career options showed that MEs were at not a disadvantage for recruiting in the aerospace field. (Dh's opinion is that MEs are better qualified for jobs in general than AEs. I just asked him your question and the first words he uttered were, "I guarantee you that the MEs can run circles around the AEs.  He obviously doesn't have a very good opinion about the AEs he has worked with.  But he is not in the aerospace industry, so maybe he has only worked with the AE aerospace washouts!)

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Why not do an undergraduate program in Aerospace? That would best chance of getting into an aerospace graduate program if he already knows that is where he wants to end up. In ME you would not see aero-elasticity, orbit mechanics, aerodynamics, etc. The basic principles would be covered, but the applications and vocabulary would be different.

Doing well in an engineering degree program of any kind will give him flexibility to change focus or programs, but if he already knows he wants an advanced degree in AE, why not start there?

I'm writing this as someone with a BSME and MSAE, so clearly I sympathize with the approach you've outlined!

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Perhaps, but I think the most important factors are how well he does wherever he goes and then the reputation of the school. Until 2018 Stanford didn't have an Aero undergrad degree, but that presumably wouldn't stop a week-performing student from getting into a graduate program. 

I am not terribly familiar with BSE options and outcomes.

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Not an expert, but we do have a lot of big companies employing engineers in our city, and I don't tend to see them looking for a general engineer -- they are looking specifically for chemical, mechanical, electrical, and computer engineers most of the time.

On a side note, have you checked out the University of Arizona's engineering program? They offer undergrad degrees in all the engineering fields, and also have graduate (Master and PhD) in almost all of the engineering fields as well. They also offer an "accelerated master degree" in most of the fields as well -- that is graduating in 5 years with both a Bachelor and a Master degree. UA has a good reputation for their engineering program, and there are a lot of internship opportunities with companies around town.

And another side note: has DS looked at Optical Sciences & Engineering? Homeschooled friend of DSs got his bachelor, master and now in the midst of his PhD all in Optical Sciences and Engineering at the University of Arizona. He was sharing with us that there is such a high demand for people, that UA students with new Bachelor degrees are being courted with high starting salaries by big national and international companies. (:D
 

ETA -- PS
Also might be helpful to look at job prospects for general, Mechanical, and Aerospace engineers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, future job growth is about 9% for Mechanical Engineers and 6% for Aerospace Engineers. I can't find any data for general engineers.

The BLS labels growth in the following manner:
14%+ = job field growing much faster than average
9-13%+ = job field growing faster than average
5-8%+ = job field growing as fas as average
2-4%+ = job field growing more slowly than average
1% or less, or a decrease = job field with little or no change in growth
2% decrees or more = job field that is in decline

Edited by Lori D.
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My dh and I are both engineers...I don't think I have come across anyone with a BS in Engineering.  Mechanical Engineering would leave a lot more doors open.  I would probably do the ME degree for a BS and then Aerospace for a Master's because it would give you more flexibility than Aerospace for both a BS and Master's degree.  Aerospace companies hire ME's without a problem.  Also if he has any interest in doing Stress Analysis, there can be big money in contracting, just taking a quick look at a contracting site there are places paying up to $85 an hour with per diem worked into it one way or another.

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2 hours ago, Mama Geek said:

My dh and I are both engineers...I don't think I have come across anyone with a BS in Engineering.  Mechanical Engineering would leave a lot more doors open.  I would probably do the ME degree for a BS and then Aerospace for a Master's because it would give you more flexibility than Aerospace for both a BS and Master's degree.  Aerospace companies hire ME's without a problem.  Also if he has any interest in doing Stress Analysis, there can be big money in contracting, just taking a quick look at a contracting site there are places paying up to $85 an hour with per diem worked into it one way or another.

These echo my thoughts exactly.

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If he wants to get a Masters, it'd be excellent to have done some undergrad research.  That would be another lens to use when comparing the schools that offer a BSME vs a BS.  My guess would be that the BSME schools would offer more research opportunities to undergrads (both in quantity and variety); but that's just a guess.

(I vote for a BSME.)

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In school often times the tech degree is not as rigorous and often does not include calculus and calculus based physics.  In the working world, the job is definitely more of a technician's job.  It is very difficult at best to get a PE license and the pay is much lower.  I had a friend when I graduated college who had just started making starting engineering salary after graduating and working with and engineering tech degree 20 years earlier.  Most, but not all companies will not consider an engineering tech degree for an engineering position.

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10 minutes ago, Sebastian (a lady) said:

If I  may hijack a little bit, what are the distinctions between a bachelors in an engineering major and engineering technology. For example mechanical engineering vs mechanical engineering technology


"The Difference Between Mechanical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Technology"

According to this article, it sounds like the difference between full knowledge/supervising versus lesser knowledge/assisting -- a little like the difference between a Physical Therapist vs. a Physical Therapist Tech. The differences show up in:

- pay level (ME = $85K, MEtech = $55K)
- job position (ME = engineer, MEtech = technician)
- job focus/duties (ME = math/theory heavy, design/build/test, MEtech = assists ME with blueprints, tests, inspections, adjustments, cost estimates)
 

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  • 4 weeks later...

BS-Eng w/ some focus vs BSME will depend on the school, much more than the degree. Some truly excellent programs (Harvey Mudd comes to mind) only offer an 'Engineering' degree, and students specialize within that.  HM, in particular, focuses on producing 'shovel ready' engineers and recognizes that all real projects are cross-disciple so everyone gets at least some exposure to everything, even though each student has a focus.

I'd suggest selecting based on the quality/reputation of the program, rather than the specific degree.

 

Edited by AEC
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