Bachelor's Degree info

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by mafesa, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. mafesa

    mafesa New Member

    Hi, my name is Promise from south africa and hold a 3 year National Diploma in "Mechanical Engineering" from the "University of Johannesburg" which I understand is equivalent to the US Associate degree, please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm planning to migrate to the US with my family just after the green card lottery results. I want to enrol for a Bachelor's Degree online and want to know if I do qualify for this program. I want to be based in New Orleans, is there any time frame for registration, what are the fees estimates?
  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Hi Promise,

    Do you want to continue to study mechanical engineering, or would you rather do your Bachelor's degree in something else? Do you plan to study by distance or would you prefer to be in a classroom?

    By the way, New Orleans is an interesting choice, as it's always been a somewhat economically depressed area, and that's been more the case since the disaster there of Hurricane Katrina, from which the city really never fully recovered.
  3. mafesa

    mafesa New Member

    Hi Steve

    Thank you for replying back. My plan is to continue with Mechanical Engineering as I'm currently working as an Engineering Technician here in South Africa. It is my dream to acquire the highest qualification is this career path as its also my passion. As I'm still in South Africa, I wanted to enrol online than sitting while waiting for either the green card lottery or visas. I also wanted to be based on the cities paying more in this field as I'll continue working while I study. Please feel free to advice me n give me more info, also ask if you stil want more clarity before you reply.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2013
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Engineering is not my field, so hopefully someone else will chime in if I say something that's off.

    I believe the only U.S. university that offers a Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering is the University of North Dakota, and that this six year programme is extremely expensive. Note that there is a big difference here between "engineering" and "engineering technology".

    Therefore, you will probably want to wait until you arrive to enrol at university. When you do, you will want to ensure that the programme to which you apply has ABET accreditation, because this is a factor in various states for qualifying for licensure as a professional engineer.

    If you win the green card lottery, you will have permanent residency and thus access to student loans and employment. If you come on a student visa, you will not, and will need to pay entirely out of pocket because students are not allowed to work legally in the U.S. except under limited circumstances.

    Is the U.S. the only country to which you're considering moving?
  5. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    He means "the only U.S. university that offers a Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering online is the University of North Dakota". Engineering degrees are not typically offered online in the US, because there are too many hands-on laboratory requirements for ABET accreditation. Even in the UND program, you have to travel to North Dakota during the summers to take labs.

    You might have more luck finding an online "mechanical engineering technology" program. For example, Indiana State has an MET bachelor's completion program that is mostly online:

    However, the ISU program is not available to students outside the US:

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2013
  6. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Most mechanical engineers do not pursue PE licensure (unless they design HVAC systems for buildings). However, ABET accreditation is still considered valuable by employers. It is more important for "engineering" degrees, and less important for "engineering technology" degrees.
  7. mafesa

    mafesa New Member

    Thank you all for this info I have more clarity now. To steve, US is my only only choice for now with the benefits of green card. One more last thing I needed help with is: I would like to work as a consultant, project engineer or even to the design path, less hands on after completion of my degree. With the Associate degree I have, after I moved in to the US, would you advice me on engineering or engineering technology? Which one is more intense and deeper? What is the duration of the study with my entry level?
  8. instant000

    instant000 Member

    Engineering is more intense, and deeper than Engineering Technology.

    I looked at three schools in the New Orleans, Louisiana area:
    University of New Orleans
    Tulane University
    Louisiana State University

    Note: Louisiana State University is more than one hour away (via car) from New Orleans.

    First up, the University of New Orleans.
    Departments & Programs | University of New Orleans

    Here are their attendance fees:
    Cost of Attendance | University of New Orleans

    Here are Louisiana State University's programs:
    LSU College of Engineering

    Here are the fees for Louisiana State University:
    Tuition & Fees

    Here are the engineering programs offered by Tulane University:

    Note: Tulane does not have Mechanical Engineering. I'm not sure if another of the Engineering programs can provide what you're looking for.

    Here are Tulane's costs:
    Tulane University - Cost of Attendance 2013-2014 Historical

    Hope this helps.
  9. instant000

    instant000 Member

    It is difficult to predict the duration of study that you would be looking forward to.

    It would depend upon how favorable your transfer evaluation was.

    Since the school model that you took has a lot of major-specific courses in it, you would probably be lacking a good portion of the general education courses.

    Schools usually have a minimum number of credits that you have to earn *at* their school, prior to conferring the degree. In your case, you could be close to that limit, or not.

    My advice would be (if possible) to take the courses at the school that you absolutely had to, and to just CLEP the rest of them.

    It may take a bit to explain what that means. CLEP is college level examination program (CLEP). CLEP and other similar program(s) allow students to complete an exam, and thus gain credit for a course. CLEP is administered as a computer-based examination (CBE) at an approved testing center.

    The U.S. model requires a lot of "fluff' courses that have nothing to do with your major. I wouldn't be surprised if you mostly lacked those, considering that you have a worldly degree.

    Of course, if that is the case, you may not be able to use CBE in order to gain the credits necessary to save money on the general education courses. (To be more clear, most of the CLEP-type exams are designed for general education courses that are not usually major-specific.)

    Hope this helps.
  10. major56

    major56 Active Member

    Another BSME option in addition to UND ...

    University of Alabama (ABET): BSME

    UA engineering courses can be taken via the internet; however, three courses have on-campus lab requirements which can be completed at the UA lab facility on the Troy Dothan campus or at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

    BS in Mechanical Engineering Distance Degree Program (Blended) | Overview
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2013
  11. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    You probably want an "engineering" degree (more theory and design), not an "engineering technology" degree (more hands-on).

    Your existing qualification may not be a straightforward fit into the US framework for engineering education. You think your qualification is equivalent to an Associate's degree. But in the US, there are no Associate's degrees in engineering (although Associate's degrees are common in engineering technology). The first engineering degree is the Bachelor's, which is a four-year program. The first two years (which would ordinarily correspond to the Associate degree level) generally focus on background courses in mathematics, computer science, physics, and chemistry, which may or may not be what you studied in South Africa.

    You might consider getting your qualification evaluated by NCEES, the organization that handles licensing exams for professional engineers in the US. An engineering license typically requires an ABET-accredited Bachelor's degree; NCEES evaluates non-US degrees for equivalency with this standard. Your qualification will presumably not be ABET-equivalent if it only represents the Associate's level, but the evaluation will tell you exactly what the deficiencies might be.
  12. mafesa

    mafesa New Member

    Thanks a lot for all this information, I really appreciate it.
  13. major56

    major56 Active Member

    Perhaps the Baccalaureus Technologiae: Engineering: Mechanical (4-year qualification /honours) may also be a consideration for you?

    UNISA: Qualification name: Baccalaureus Technologiae: Engineering: Mechanical
    Undergraduate and honours qualifications
  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Normally degrees from South African universities are evaluated as the equivalent to those at U.S. universities. But because of the ABET accreditation issue, I'm not sure whether a UNISA degree will qualify her for licensure in U.S. states.
  15. major56

    major56 Active Member

    You’re absolutely correct Steve re ABET; however, the OP has not personally mentioned that the BSME degree must be ABET accredited. Of course ABET is a valid consideration; and if a requirement, both the Universities of North Dakota and Alabama will meet the ABET prerequisite.
  16. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    ABET has international agreements (the Washington, Sydney, and Dublin Accords) with a number of foreign engineering societies, including the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), regarding mutual recognition of engineering and related degrees.

    My guess is that an ECSA-approved BEng degree would qualify as ABET-equivalent on the engineering track. However, the OP doesn't have a BEng.

    My guess is that an ECSA-approved BTech degree or National Diploma would qualify as ABET-equivalent on the engineering technology track or the technician track. But those tracks are different from the "engineering" track.

    But I don't know for sure.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2013
  17. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    If a South African qualification is approved by ECSA, then ECSA should be able to tell you if it falls under the Washington, Sydney, or Dublin Accords.

    The Washington Accord covers engineering, the Sydney Accord covers engineering technology, and the Dublin Accord covers technicians. If you want to pursue the engineering track in the US, then you want a qualification that is covered under the Washington Accord.
  18. major56

    major56 Active Member

  19. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Yes -- but what type of ECSA accreditation does UNISA have? ECSA has different types of accreditation (just as ABET does in the US).

    The UNISA School of Engineering home page says:

    A technician or technologist qualification may be offered by a School of Engineering, and may be approved by ECSA. However, this is not the same thing as the qualification for an engineer.

    ECSA has published a list of "University Degrees Accredited as meeting the Educational Requirement for Registration as a Professional Engineer". UNISA doesn't seem to be on that list.

    ECSA has also published similar lists for engineering technologists and engineering technicians. UNISA is on those lists. However, a technologist or technician's qualification is not equivalent to an engineer's qualification, in either South Africa or the USA.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2013
  20. Is jy 'n Afrikaner? New Orleans is 'n walglike, vieslike stad met 'n hoë misdaadsyfer. Jy sal baie gelukkiger in Silicon Valley. Dit is baie uiteenlopend, lae misdaad, en die aanvaarding van buitelanders van alle soorte. Dink aan die Universiteit hieronder gekoppel. Dit is 'n klein, hande-op, en dit sal help om 'n werk.


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