IT Sligo: Irish Distance BEng EE Degrees (and others) for Americans (and others)

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by RKanarek, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. RKanarek

    RKanarek Member


    I’m old and getting older, I have no small quantity of RA college credits and ET experience, and I’m still pursuing a BSEE (or BSEE’ish degree). I just stumbled upon IT Sligo -- the “IT” stands for Institiuid Teicneolaiochta (Institute of Technology) -- which is an Irish institution. Despite the name, it also offers Engineering top-up degrees. It seems swell for me, and possibly for others.

    While rare meet-and-greet visits to the campus are a normal part of their distance learning program (someone clearly needs to explain the principles of distance education to these fine folks ;-), making exceptions to this requirement is not unheard of. They seem equally potentially flexible towards making local arrangements for other activities that might normally be done on campus.

    In my one contact with them, I was impressed with the speed and courtesy of their reply, though this proves nothing in and of itself.

    Has anyone dealt with these folks before? Would anyone care to vouch for the legitimacy of the institution? GAAP?

    Thanks in advance.

    Richard Kanarek

    P.S. I think their distance offerings are listed on Open & Distance Learning, but do not be confused: some of their terms are homonyms of US educational terms.
  2. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    For engineering in the US, the issue would be equivalency with ABET-accredited degrees. ABET has signed several international mutual recognition agreements, including the Washington Accord, which addresses bachelor's degrees in engineering.

    Engineers Ireland (EI) has also signed the Washington Accord. So in theory, any Irish engineering programs accredited by EI should also be recognized by ABET. And EI does accredit engineering programs at IT Sligo.

    However, there is a potential problem. EI accredits two kinds of undergraduate engineering programs, for "Associate Engineers" and "Chartered Engineers". Most of the programs at IT Sligo are accredited by EI as "Associate Engineer" programs. Only the Civil Engineering program has "Chartered Engineer" accreditation.

    I don't know for certain, but my guess would be that ABET would only accept an EI-accredited "Chartered Engineer" bachelor's degree as fully ABET equivalent. My guess would be that an EI-accredited "Associate Engineer" degree would only be considered partially ABET equivalent, perhaps equal to 2 or 3 years of undergraduate study. You could try contacting ABET to see if they can provide more info.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2012
  3. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    I looked into this a little more. Now it looks to me like EI-accredited "Associate Engineer" degrees are actually covered by the Sydney Accord, which covers bachelor's degrees in engineering technology.

    So my guess would be that an "Associate Engineer" degree from IT Sligo would be considered ABET-equivalent -- but it would be considered equivalent to an ABET/TAC-accredited engineering technology degree. It would not be considered equivalent to an ABET/EAC-accredited engineering degree.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2012
  4. RKanarek

    RKanarek Member


    On behalf of myself and, I’m sure, others interested in distance BSEE/BSEE’ish offerings, thanks for taking the time and trouble to research this matter.

    The whole question of whether their BEng degree was a real engineering degree was literally the first question I asked the nice folks at IT Sligo. Here’s my question and their answer, verbatim:

    a. Am I correct that, despite the "Technology" in your institution's name, the BEng degrees you offer are actual engineering degrees and NOT engineering technology degrees?

    Yes, the Level 8 degrees (Honours) are equivalent to 4 year degree programmes in the US.​

    Still, you inspired me to do a bit of research at Engineers Ireland - Home, too, now that I know it exists. ;-)

    Roughly speaking, it would seem that a BEng EE Level 7 Degree is a BSEET’ish degree but shorter, while the Level 8 degree is BSEE’ish. Engineer’s Ireland accredits the Level 7 degree for “Associate Engineer” purposes, but it does not mention the Level 8 degree. I’m not sure one could say with certainty what ABET would think of such a degree, one way or the other. I’ve sent EI an e-mail with some questions, and I’ll post the information I receive.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Richard Kanarek
  5. RevPeter

    RevPeter Member

    Hi Richard,

    I'm from Ireland, and for a few years lived literally round the corner from Sligo IT. Don't be put off by the name, an IT here is basically a university with a specific focus on certain more practical subjects such as Engineering. They started off life many years ago as "Regional (Technical) Colleges", offering a range of vocational qualifications and training, some certificates and diplomas. They soon began to award degrees alongisde other qualifications, and rapidly these became the principal qualification offered. Once this happened, and as they began to add a few masters degrees to their offerings, they were re-branded as "Institutes of Technology", reflecting this change in their course offerings in a more academic direction. While they are not in the premier league of academically-orientated Universities, their degrees are 100% legitimate and well respected here.


  6. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    The "IT Sligo Courses Homepage" doesn't list any Level 8 BEng degrees, except for the BEng (Hons) in Civil. That one appears to be accredited as a "Chartered Engineer" degree by EI. My guess is that it probably would be accepted as fully ABET/EAC-equivalent (i.e. an ABET engineering degree).

    But all of the other IT Sligo BEng degrees (in Environmental Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Mechatronics) are listed as Level 7 degrees. My guess is that the Level 7 degrees would not be considered as ABET/EAC equivalent, but might be accepted as ABET/TAC equivalent (i.e. an ABET technology degree).

    It looks like the IT Sligo BEng (Hons) Add-On is considered a Level 8 degree. But it doesn't appear to have EI accreditation as a "Chartered Engineer" degree, and therefore might not be accepted by ABET.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2012
  7. RevPeter

    RevPeter Member

    In the UK and Ireland degrees can be awarded at "pass" and "honours" level. Sometimes the distinction is made on the basis of final results, sometimes it depends on the extent of the course, or the number of credits involved. I think in Sligo that the Honours degree would require the pass degree with several additional courses (but I stand open to correction).


  8. RKanarek

    RKanarek Member


    The folks at Enginner’s Ireland (Engineers Ireland - Home), like the folks at IT Sligo (Open & Distance Learning [link points to distance and open learning webpage]), responded very quickly to my query, but I have not updates this thread very quickly. Sorry.

    Thanks, Pete, for vouching for IT Sligo. Given that an assortment of IT Sligo’s degree/whatever offerings are also accredited by Engineer’s Ireland, there seems little question that IT Sligo is, if nothing else, an entirely legitimate institution.

    Regarding your sharp-eyed observation, CalDog, you seem to be right: “IT Sligo Courses Homepage” doesn’t list a “BEng (Hons) in Electronic Engineering (Level 8)” degree. It is, however, listed at Open & Distance Learning » BEng (Hons) in Electronic Engineering (Level 8) . I confess that I don’t quite know if or how a level 8 “add on” would differ, in any practical way, from a Level 8 degree. It seems to me that calling a level 8 an “add on” degree is somewhat like calling the senior year of US college an “add on” year: in both cases, the level/year is not complete in and of itself and in both cases prior tutelage is a necessity.

    Perhaps -- and I’m *only* guessing -- the BEng is a bit new and they having quite integrated it into their website or with EI? According to a representative with EI, the BEng EE Level 8 is not accredited by EI because it hasn’t been reviewed by EI, not because it was found wanting in any way. Perhaps EI accreditation is a future possibility?

    Richard Kanarek

    Below are questions extracted from an e-mail I sent to EI and EI’s answers. They have been edited only slightly for posting:

    [Me] Am I correct in assuming that the Level 8 degree would substitute for the Level 7 degree for Associate Engineer purposes?

    [EI] Only if it the level 8 degree is accredited. The college may have plans to get the programme accredited.

    [Me] Have you reviewed the Level 8 degree offering, and, if so, can you explain why it was found to be unsuitable for Chartered Engineer purposes?

    [EI] The level 8 offering in electronics has not been reviewed at this time. Other level 8 programmes in the college have been accredited e.g. Civil.
    Even if it the programme is not accredited there are still pathways to Chartered Engineer however if the education element is not accredited then this will place limitations on the international recognition of the title e.g. some US states may not recognise it.

    [Me] The reason why the question of the BEng Level 8 being suitability for engineering certification purposes came up was to determine the similarity between IT Sligo's BEng EE Honors (Level 8) degree and a US ABET accredited 4-year BSEE degree. Any thoughts?

    [EI] If both programmes are recognised under the Dublin/Sydney/Washington accords then substantial equivalence between the US /Irish programmes is de facto established.

    [Me] Although the possibility of actually becoming an EI Chartered Engineer is not as important in the US as it is in Ireland, just for curiosity: is there a prohibition against non-resident foreigners obtaining any of your qualifications?

    [EI] There is no prohibition against non-residents acquiring the professional title of Chartered Engineer. The process is much more straightforward however if you are professionally recognised in your home country - in your case hold PE certification from your State in the US. The paths to membership and professional titles are set out on our website under the appropriate headings.
  9. RevPeter

    RevPeter Member

    There is no question whatsoever about the legitimacy of Sligo IT.

    Regarding the level 7 / 8 question - from a brief look at the website the different is that a pass degree (level 7) is awarded after 3 years of study, and that an Honours degree (level 8) is awarded after 4 years. I think the reference to the "add on" is a reference to those who enrol in the pass degree, and who subsequently choose to add on the "honours" component, year 4, to their existing 3 year degree. It may be that initially they are not sure what path they want to take, or their grades were not high enough to enter the 4 year programme, or simply that they only required a pass degree, or that finances dictated that three years was all they could spend in college, or any one of a number of circumstances which led to choosing the shorter option. In some of the ITs it is possible to enrol for a year at a time - at the end of Year 1 you are awarded a certificate; year 2 is diploma; year 3 is pass degree; year 4 is honours degree; year 5 is masters... So After the certificate you "add on" the diploma, and keep "adding on" to the basic qualification you started with. Hope that helps in terms of explanation


  10. RKanarek

    RKanarek Member

    Dear Pete,

    Thanks for the additional information.

    Clarification: I’m becoming concerned that my previous requests for information on the legitimacy of IT Sligo might be interpreted as a disparagement of IT Sligo. Of course, this was not my intent. Being unfamiliar with the ways of Ireland, it seemed wise to inspect any potential Irish institution.

    Indeed, the more I learn about IT Sligo, the more I like it, and, if it obtains EI certification for its BEng EE degree, my like could well blossom into love. Should I find myself with the necessary resources -- time, money, mental and physical energy -- and if they are and can-be as accommodating to extremely distant distance-learners as they seem inclined to be, the question would not be whether I would enroll with them but whether they would have me.

    Regarding your speculation as to the etymology of their use of the term ”add on”, it seems perfectly reasonable but logically flawed. From a different e-mail:

    [Me] Are there limits to how many suitable credits can be transferred into one of
    your degrees?

    [IT Sligo] You can transfer any amount for entry into a programme. An Associate Degree of equivalent, in a relevant area should get you into our level 7 programme. US credit hours are equivalent to 2 European credits (we do 60 a year - 30 part-time).

    Since they don’t seem to limit transfer credits -- though *I* can’t imagine they would function as a US Assessment College does -- any of their degrees could be an “add on” degree. It would therefore seem unnecessary or inconsistent for them to designate some of their degrees as an “add on” degree. Not that I’m complaining; surely these fine folks must be allowed a harmless peculiarity.

    Richard Kanarek
  11. RevPeter

    RevPeter Member

    There is a slight difference - coming out of high school you could enrol straight into the BEng(Hons), or you could begin with a Certificate or Diploma in Engineering, and slowly "add on" each level. So the BEng(Hons) could be a four year course, or a one year "add on" to existing qualifications.


  12. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Technically, IT Sligo's BEng degree in Electronic Engineering already does have EI certification -- but as an Associate Engineer program (or rather "programme").

    Presumably you are referring to the BEng (Hons) degree in Electronic Engineering, which should be eligible for EI accreditation as a Chartered Engineer programme, but which currently seems to lack such accreditation (for whatever reason).

    My guess is that ABET would accept an EI-accredited Chartered Engineer degree as fully ABET-equivalent. Conversely, I wouldn't expect ABET to put its "seal of approval" on an Irish engineering degree in the absence of such approval from Engineers Ireland.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2012
  13. robotron

    robotron New Member


    I'm thinking on enrolling on the same course, but from the beginning (the Qualifier year, distance learning). What are the options after obtaining the BEng (Hons) degree, can one enroll in the masters course somewhere else or could this "adding-on" present a problem?

    What if IT Sligo obtains the Chartered Engineer programme accreditation? Would that mean that everyone who finished the program prior to accreditation but according to that accredited curriculum becomes Chartered Engineer?

    Thank you.
  14. robotron

    robotron New Member


    1. What about pursuing a masters degree after BEng(Hons) at Sligo? Has anybody tried?
    • What if the course becomes accredited? Will all students that finished according to the accredited program, but prior to it being accredited, retroactively become Chartered Engineers?

    P.s. I'm not from Ireland so I'm not acquainted with the educational system, that's why I ask.

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