Looking for a engineering masters, with a business degree

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by fr0sty, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. fr0sty

    fr0sty New Member

    Hello all
    I have recently graduated with a BA in business adminstration and have come to the realization that it is, as you put it, useless haha. I am looking to move in to the engineering career path and this is where I have a few questions. I should also make it known that distance learning is really my only option.

    - I heard you can be accepted into a masters of engineering program with an undergraduate degree in something other than engineering or a closely related field, but you need to take some prerequisites. Is this a viable option?

    - If the above plan is acceptable, I would need to take the required prerequisites on a distance learning basis. After reading the CNU thread I'm assuming that isnt the best option. So does anyone know of any schools that would fit the bill? Does a school need to be accredited if you're just picking up the prerequisites?

    Thanks a lot for any help, I've been pretty lost in a sea of useless info, this seems to be the first place I might be able to find some answers.
  2. atrox79

    atrox79 Member

    The amount of prerequisites you'll have to take will depend on the field of engineering you want to get your M.S. degree in. I haven't seen too many of the required undergrad engineering courses offered through distance learning, at least not where you can just sign up for an individual course. If you absolutely have to take the prerequisites via distance learning, you could probably enroll in a 2nd Bachelor's program at University of North Dakota for one of their ABET accredited engineering programs. Then you can take our required courses over a period of time and transfer them in to the school of your choice. The one caveat is that that although they offer the courses online, you will still have to make it onto their campus in the summer to complete your lab work. Another caveat is that the school is quite expensive for out-of-state students. There may be other ways to get these prerequisites accomplished as well.

    Just to give you an idea of the types of prerequisites you would need, the following is a list of prerequisites required by Cal. State Northridge for students who wish to enter the electrical engineering graduate program with a Bachelor's in an unrelated discipline:
    MATH 150A Calculus I 5
    MATH 150B Calculus II 5
    MATH 250 Calculus III 3
    MATH 280 Applied Differential Equations 3
    PHYS 220A/L Mechanics and Lab 3/1
    PHYS 220B/L Electricity and Magnetism and Lab 3/1
    ECE 240/L Electrical Engineering Fundamentals and Lab 3/1
    ECE 320/L Theory of Digital Systems and Lab 3/1
    ECE 340/L Electronics I and Lab 3/1
    ECE 350 Linear Systems I 3
    ECE 351 Linear Systems II 3
    ECE 370 Electromagnetic Fields and Waves I 3
    ECE 450 Probablistic Systems in Electrical Engineering - Design & Analysis 3
    ECE 455 Mathematical Models in Electrical Engineering 3
    source: Electrical and Computer Engineering - Graduate Program
  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Atrox is essentially correct. This is a difficult transition to make and if you had any real problems with the math/physics oriented courses you took during your undergrad days then you might want to test the waters by taking some of those courses first, just to find out how it feels. Otherwise, you really need to look at the different engineering subdisciplines and make some hard choices. Chemical v Electrical v Electronic v Civil v Mechanical, etc. They are not even close to being interchangable, especially on the Masters level.
  4. JBjunior

    JBjunior Active Member

    Have you thought about getting a second bachelors? If I was going for an engineering degree that would be what I would do, at least you would get something, other than entry into a much harder MS, from all of the work. You can reapply all of your generals and will just have your concentration and then a little more. You are going to be looking at 30-50 credits of pre-reqs regardless.
  5. jaer57

    jaer57 New Member

    It will be an uphill climb, but it is possible. I don't have an engineering undergrad degree, and am pursuing a Masters in it. However, my undergraduate degree is on par with an engineering technology degree, so I had already completed many of the prerequisites.

    You'll find that undergraduate engineering and distance learning are hard to find together. The University of North Dakota is the only engineering bachelors degree offered online that I know of (though you need to do the labs in person), while Excelsior offers the only engineering technology bachelors program online that I know of. There are many online graduate programs, though.

    Since you will have to take many prerequisites anyway, have you considered getting a second bachelors in engineering technology? Excelsior offers a distance Electronics Engineering Technology degree via distance. Once you have that degree, you can at least get your foot in the door and get some experience. Also, Excelsior's program is ABET accredited, which will mean a lot if you ever plan to get a license. At least this way you will have a credential before you even start your graduate program, rather than taking many classes in order just to start working on a graduate credential.

    Good luck!
  6. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    It is possible, but you would need to take extra classes. I would select an engineering field close to BA such as Industrial Engineering. IE also requires business background so this might reduce your requirements.

    If you are in IT, you can always do an MIS or IT masters that is close to engineering.
  7. Sauron

    Sauron New Member

    JBjunior has a point; your undergraduate degree is enough to fulfill general education requirements. Going forward you will need to fulfill one year of mathematics and depending on your field of interest, several courses in physics, chemistry or both.

    I would recommend taking mathematics prerequisites online, at a community or at your alma mater to simplify the transferring of credits. See how well you do in those courses.

    Pursuing an undergraduate engineering degree will be a much more viable option on your way to a master's in engineering which you should pursue after having worked in the professional field of engineering.
  8. Balios

    Balios New Member

    You didn't say what kind of engineering you're interested in or what level of school you hope to attend, but if you're looking at a top-tier computer science school, Stanford has an (admittedly expensive) bridge program that's worth a look -- Foundations in Computer Science Graduate Certificate | Stanford University Online
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 6, 2012
  9. BobbyJim

    BobbyJim New Member

    Others are addressing the transition part of the post, but my question is why do you think a BA in business administration is useless?
  10. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    First problem: while it is possible to get into an engineering master's program without an engineering bachelor's degree, the people who do this normally have degrees in related sciences (e.g. chemistry for chemical engineering; physics for mechanical or electrical engineering; geology for mining engineering; etc), or mathematics; or engineering technology. As a rule, graduate schools in engineering have little interest in history, English, or business majors.

    Second problem: Scientists and engineers fully expect undergraduate classes to include labs, with hands-on supervised use of equipment. Distance learning is generally not good at providing this. The best-known undergraduate engineering programs offered by distance are at Univ. of North Dakota, and they require residencies in North Dakota every summer, just to meet all the lab requirements.


    If distance learning is your only option, then computer science would be a much more practical option than engineering. Another practical option for a business major seeking more "useful" career training would be accounting. Your business degree may give you a head start towards the CPA licensure requirements in your state, if you supplement it with some rigorous distance-learning accounting classes. Accounting is hard too, but you won't have to worry about science/math prerequisites or lab requirements.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 6, 2012
  11. Andy Borchers

    Andy Borchers New Member

    The comments here exactly match what I've seen working at an engineering school (Kettering University) for 10 years. As noted, most masters programs in engineering look for ABET accredited engineering undergraduate degree (typically NOT engineering technology). At most, students from related fields like math, physics or chemistry may be admitted.

    For many business students the biggest hang up is in math. Most business programs require (at most) one semester of calculus. For fields like mechanical or electrical engineering, this is only the beginning. In advising students, I've seen many students interested in hands on topics (like working with cars or electronics) that wanted to purse ME or EE programs, but simply couldn't master the math needed to earn an engineering degree. I frequently advise dissatisfied engineering students that shift to business.

    A suggestion? Start by taking some serious math courses - calculus I, II and III. If you are comfortable with these courses than move on to other engineering related courses. If not, you'll know pretty quick that engineering may not be for you.

    Regards - Andy
  12. fr0sty

    fr0sty New Member

    Thanks everyone for the advice, let me try and answer some of these questions and tell a little more about myself.

    As far as the 'business being useless' comment, after graduating I went straight into a sales job with an insurance firm. I completed all the required exams, series 7/series63 etc, and after 4 months of pressuring people to buy my companies products, I was miserable. So I quit my job and went on a full on job search, which resulted in a long list of sales positions. It became clear to me that I would need an MBA for a decent job, well one that wouldnt involve sales, which I've discovered I loath. So I talked to my family, which consists of several engineers in different fields, and realized that it might be the career path for me.

    Now I understand that a lot of business majors hate math, but I am not one of them. I took all of the math classes offered at my alma mater and did well and enjoyed them greatly, but unfortunately they only offered classes up to precalculus. You're probably wondering why I would go to liberal arts college if I enjoyed math and science, but I was offered a full scholarship to play tennis and that was more important to me at the time.

    After doing some internet research i've decided that the areas of engineering I would like to go into would either be mechanical or chemical. I looked into the industrial engineering field and while I dont think it would be ideal, if it became my only option I wouldnt be opposed to it.

    My tentative plan from here is to take Calc 1, discreet mathematics, and intro to Bio 1 this fall at my alma mater, as they have recently added a mathematics major. I am then thinking the only option I have from here is to try UND distance learning, complete the engineering and science prerequisites, and try to apply for a graduate program that would look at applicants without an engineering bachelors degree. The main school I have been looking at is texas tech, specifically the masters of engineering program (MEN).

    While I would like to complete a full 2nd bachelors degree, I dont relish the thought of spending another 4 years as an undergrad, and the more I search online, it seems the better route would be to go straight to the masters program, if possible.

    Any thoughts on this? Does anyone know of any schools other than texas tech that would offer such a program? Is TT any good? Does anyone know of any distance learning programs that would fit my situaion and have continuous enrollement? as I would like to start right away and I wouldnt be able to start UND until january.

    Again thanks a lot for all the help, and sorry this post was so long winded, Im just excited I seem to have found a group of people who can actually help.

    PS- Expense isnt the biggest issue as I have saved up a fair amount of money while I was under my tennis scholarship
  13. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Engineering master's with business bachelor's? I think it is more common to get a business master's with an engineering bachelor's.
  14. fr0sty

    fr0sty New Member

    Thank you all for the responses, they are very helpful, let me try to answer some of the questions posed.

    -Ideally i'd like to go mechanical or chemical, not opposed to the idea of industrial
    -i plan on take calc1&2, discreet math, and bio1 at my alma mater this fall as they were just added to the catalog
    -Unlike most business students i enjoy math and science and am fairly good at it, the reason I went to a liberal arts school was because I was offered a full ride to play tennis
    -I would consider getting a second bachelors, itsjust I dont relish the thought of spending the next 4 years as an undergrad, especially if there's a chance to go straight to a masters
    -After investigating it looks like UND is the best option, I shall be applying for the uncoming spring semester

    A couple of questions
    -Are there any online programs wheree I can knock out some of the science prereqs and can apply and start any time? Do the programs where I get my non-engineering prereqs need to be accredited?
    -I was looking at the texas tech online graduate program. They have a special case masters of engineering (MEN) program, does anyone know if this is a good option? Or if there are any others like this one.
    Again thanks a lot for the help

    PS cost isnt the biggest concern as I have saved a fair amount while I was under the tennis scholarship
  15. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Maybe not. Undergraduate science and engineering courses (but not math) won't be credible unless they include labs. It may be very difficult or impossible to find online programs that can deliver labs.

    Ideally you should take science and math courses at a school with ABET-accredited engineering programs, so you can say that you took the same classes as undergraduate engineering majors.

    If necessary, you could take science and math courses at a non-ABET regionally accredited school, like a liberal arts college, if they are the same classes that science and math majors take. But this may not be as impressive to an engineering school.

    I doubt that science and math classes from a DETC or other nationally accredited school would have much credibility at an engineering graduate school.

    Check their non-resident tuition, it isn't cheap. Also note that you will be paying to travel and stay in ND for the summer residences.

    If you are good at math and are familiar with the insurance industry, you might want to consider a career as an actuary (sometimes known as a "risk engineer"). This is consistently ranked as one of the top career choices in the country, and it doesn't require any particular degree as long as you have the math skills. You qualify by passing a series of exams, usually after self-study.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2012
  16. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    Why not go for a BSET (EC), a BSAST (TESC), or BSES (COSC) degree as a starter - include as many courses as you can in CAD.

    With this degree you could get a job as a test technician (often pays well and is interesting), as a tube jockey (CAD), or in quality assurance (and then look for a QE qualifications through ASQ). Many companies pay tuition so you could then pursue a BS engineering (you probably meet many of the degree requirements).

    A BS in engineering provides all the fundamentals required for a career in engineering; a masters just builds on those fundamentals.
  17. atrox79

    atrox79 Member

    Shorter University has all of the undergrad math courses you'll probably need and they have open enrollment. Distance Calculus @ Shorter University. There are other places that offer those courses as well. A cheaper alternative would be to go through LSU, who also has open enrollment (https://is.lsu.edu/home.asp?level=CO&online=0&nid=101). I've never tried Shorter, but I like the look of their online math courses. They seem like they really work with you to get the concepts, whereas LSU is a bit more impersonal and you're 100% on your own.

    As far as science courses go, you'll have to wait to do those somewhere were you can complete lab work. Your best bet will be UND if you decide to go there. There are places that offer these courses with online labs like Ocean County College (Ocean County College E-learning) and the Colorado Community College System (Colorado Community Colleges Online | Finding Opportunities), but you'll have to check with Texas Tech to see if they'll accept those. Just make sure you look at the calculus-based physics courses as opposed to the algebra-based ones.

    By the way, you say you're taking discreet math. Is that required for chemical or mechanical engineering? It's usually more associated with computer science and computer/electrical engineering.
  18. JBjunior

    JBjunior Active Member

    Also, I saw it in your first post a couple of days ago, you didn't have to spend 04 years in undergrad the first time and you definitely wouldn't have to do it a second time. Depending on the bachelors, some schools only require 30 additional credits to award a second bachelors. If you are ready for graduate work you should be able to knock out quite a few more credits of undergraduate work per semester and be done within 06 months with the right program.
  19. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Maybe for a liberal arts degree. But not for a bachelor's degree in engineering, which is a professional degree with strict ABET accreditation requirements.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2012
  20. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Let's suppose that a previous bachelor's in business is sufficient to fulfill the General Education requirement for an engineering degree.

    Unfortunately, the General Education requirement for engineers is small: at Iowa State, for example, it is 15 credits out of 127.5. So even if the business degree completely satisfied this requirement, that still leaves 112.5 credits in science, math, and engineering needed for a second bachelor's degree. It doesn't sound like the OP has previously taken any of this (math to pre-calc doesn't count; calculus is the starting point)
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2012

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