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Any ideas for home study second degree?

  1. Nov 3, 2011 #1
    Any ideas for home study second degree???

    Hi guys,

    I'm one of the many thousands of people that did completely the wrong degree and I'm now stuck wanting to do Mech Eng, which I should have done the first time around. I enrolled at Bristol Uni a couple of years ago, but had to drop out during the first year as paying for a full time second degree proved far too expensive.

    Has anyone got any advice or idea of how to progress???

    I have had a look at the Open University but the problem is that, firstly it seems a little bit 'early-learning'. Don't mean any offence to the OU, but they do have to cater for everybody, including the ... less achademic. The bigger problem however is that it would take 8 year to complete my masters (I'm 28 now), and that's a rediculous amount of time concidering I'm already well versed in 1st, 2nd (maybe 3rd) year engineering as a self taught enthusiast. I can see myself losing interest at that kind of studying pace.

    I will also point out that I would like to do a PhD eventually, so this isn't just purly whimsical and I would like to do it as fast as possible.

    ANY advice from anyone would be great. Especially if you've done or are doing a similar thing. Unfortunately, unlike some subjects, a PhD would require lab time etc. and therefore funding, so I need the Masters.

    Thanks for your help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2011 #2
    Re: Any ideas for home study second degree???

    >>I have had a look at the Open University but the problem is that, firstly it seems a little bit 'early-learning'.

    I studied in various universities (including the OU and Oxford), and I can not disagree more with the above statement. The requirements for an honours degree are: 360 credit points, where minimum 240 credit points are at level 2 or above, out of which minimum 120 credit points are at level 3. There is no requirement to do any level 1 courses for a BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences degree (Physics), although I can see how the suggested route planner can be confusing:


    >>he bigger problem however is that it would take 8 year to complete my masters (I'm 28 now)

    Completely inaccurate. See www.open.ac.uk for more details (or better yet call an OU advisor). You can do a degree in 3 years (or less, if you can transfer relevant credit).
    Level 3 courses are brutal so don't even consider starting there without having a look at a sample exam paper.

    Birckbeck used to do a part time Physics degree (BS) but they have now discontinued it. I am not aware of any serious institution in the UK , other than the OU, offering part time Physics degrees (undergraduate). And frankly, not many univerisites ( world wide) beat the OU in terms of quality anyway. I am not sure if you know, but many universities use OU's teaching materials. Of the 24 subjects assessed by the public Quality Assurance Agency, 17 were placed in the top 'Excellent' category, making the OU one of the top institution in the UK. it is also one of only two universities in England to have been awarded the leadership of four Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

    I am less familiar with the engineering route, but:

    "On graduating with the BEng (Hons), you should be eligible to apply (via an appropriate engineering institution) to the Engineering Council for registration as Incorporated Engineer.

    Or you might want to work towards Chartered Engineer status by continuing your academic study. The postgraduate MEng (M03) qualification, which builds upon the BEng (Hons), is accredited as satisfying the educational requirements for registration as Chartered Engineer (see the Engineering website for further information ). You will need to complete your postgraduate MEng studies within four years of completing the BEng (Hons) element of the qualification. Otherwise you can select the alternative route, which is to the MSc in Engineering (F46) via the Postgraduate Diploma in Engineering (E22).

    If you’d like to know more about professional recognition, download our Recognition leaflet 3.3 Professional Engineering Institutions."

    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
  4. Nov 10, 2011 #3
    Anyone else studied with the OU?

    Thanks for advice "jspenuk".

    I had no idea that I could do the degree with the OU over 3 years. I assumed that the time scales in the route planner and the course guides were rules rather than guide lines. That is very interesting. If that is the case then it would suit me perfectly as I can continue working. I had no intention of causing any offence to the OU. I am aware that they are recognised as a high quality institution, as I spoke to a few lecturers about it during my full time course. I'm sure you can understand where my 'early-learning' view point comes from, as the level 1 courses suggested in the route planer seem to be an introduction to learning in general, rather than the subject.

    It's also interesting that you recommend it having studied in various routes of education. I'll definetly speak to an OU advisor.

    Thanks again.

    Anyone else studied with the OU in an accelerated route (i.e. more than one module at a time)? I would be very interested in finding out whether you think it is just too much to take on, doing multiple modules AND full time work.
  5. Nov 10, 2011 #4


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    Re: Any ideas for home study second degree???

    Home study? Engineering?

    Maybe things have changed a lot since I was in college, but somehow, it feels a bit weird to be able to do an engineering degree via remote or "home" study. Of all the college degrees that one can have, engineering, to me, is the last degree that would be suitable for that kind of a self-study/home degree. Considering that an engineering degree requires that a student not only know the material, but must at least have "engineering skills" that involve laboratory work, I don't see how that can be done without being present on a university campus. As far as I am aware of, many of the engineering degree programs that I am familiar with have quite a number of laboratory requirements where you have to do something. I think Engineers in this forum can correct me on this.

    In any case, I would not feel comfortable with an engineer designing a bridge or a building who has not done any practical or laboratory work, even if the process of designing such a thing nowdays involve mainly computer-assisted design.

  6. Nov 10, 2011 #5
    Re: Any ideas for home study second degree???

    I've done four OU modules in maths over two years while working full time, and for level 1&2 modules it's easily doable if you are organised. In the first year i did a level 1 and a level two module and i was comfortable with the pace, second year two level 2 modules was more of a challenge.
    Since i want to complete the degree in four years i need another 180 points over two years, of which 120 points must come from level 3 courses, 10 points from a residential school, and the other 50 are free choice. So next year i'm doing one level 2, one level 3 and the summer school, and it's going to be very challenging i think. The final year will be two level 3 modules.
    Four years is hard while your working full-time, less than that and i think most people would struggle. I have a really easy and menial job as well - just casual work to get by. If you have a challenging job, maybe consider longer than four years.
  7. Nov 13, 2011 #6
    Re: Any ideas for home study second degree???

    This is offensive. They try and cater for anyone who has a serious interest in further education, not "everybody". They do offer starter courses for any academic level, so you can start even with out GCSEs. But look at courses like:


    An OU degree, if you take all the hard physics courses, is as good as a physics degree from any other university.
  8. Nov 13, 2011 #7
    Re: Any ideas for home study second degree???

    The OU do offer a BEng, but say "You must include at least two undergraduate residential school modules or modules with embedded residential schools in total for this degree"

    This includes such projects as "designing, optimising, constructing and testing a load-bearing beam using a combination of skin and core materials" - which might make you feel safer when crossing British bridges, Zapper :)

    For other courses they provide interesting kits, e.g. programmable lego robots...
  9. Dec 4, 2011 #8
    Re: Any ideas for home study second degree???

    It may be a bit of a waste of time explaining to an American what an OU is, imho. Not because they are daft, but due to cultural differences--they have no concept of the OU. ZapperZ, you made me laugh! And OU ain't University of Phoenix, mate!

    Last edited: Dec 4, 2011
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