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Do i really want to be an engineer?

  1. Jun 13, 2012 #1
    Hey guys, i want a bit of help.
    I recently found a great interest in engineering. I have a friend who did engineering at college for 2 years but then decided to drop out so ive been speaking to him a bit.
    I dont have any qualifications apart from the basic maths and science that i left school with.
    I'm thinking of doing mechanical engineering because that seems more practical from what i can tell and opens up the most opportunities.

    Q1. Would i have to go to college full time or part time? (I have a child and i would also like to have a part time job aswell so im not sure how i could fit in a full time course)

    Q2. If i go to college, how many hours per week will i have to do and for how many years?

    Q3. Will i have to go to university too?

    Q4. Will i have to study some sort of science and maths?

    Q5. Could i do an open university course and just learn from home in my spare time?

    Q6. The Open Uni course i have seen online will cost me £10,000 but it is only Mechanical Engineering Foundation. I'm assuming i'm going to have to invest in some more advanced courses if i pass the foundation level?

    I'm living in the UK and was planning on moving to london for work. My girlfriend is about to move to london for work too but she will be earning a very high wage im just not sure i want to ask her to support me for 4 years while i study! It's also a 4 hour drive to collect my daughter every week so if i somehow manage to fit in an engineering course and maybe a maths/science course then im going to lead a very hectic lifestyle for many years. Not sure if this is a good idea :/

    I'm also worried that this might just be a 'phase', something i found interesting out of desperation to find my calling in life. Also, the Open University course i found will cost me £10,000 so if it is just a phase then i am going to be rather upset and im not sure if i am going to have to do a maths/science course too.

    All advice appreciated!

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2012 #2

    I did a similar thing.

    I spoke to some unis who said that I needed A-level equivalent results, so I had to do an Access course.

    If you are going to be in London, Birkbeck College does a Cert. in Higher Education in Physics and Maths 2 evenings a week, so you can maintain a fulltime job and get your qualification. This will be instead of the foundation year (assuming that you get good marks) and will get you into 1st year of an undergrad course. Foundation degrees aren't really "degrees", they just get you to a level where you can begin an undergrad course.

    You will have to do an accredited course, which is 3 years full time (i.e. September to June with summers off) to get a B.Eng in mechanical engineering. If you are British, you will get tuition loan and maintenance loan, and a maintenance grant to live off depending on your income previous to studying.

    You will need A level Maths (not necessarily Further maths) and physics during your course. Email universities and ask what their requirements are, but when I did it Bristol/Birmingham/Bath/Leeds/Glasgow/Manchester/Imperial all had about the same requirements. There are easier unis to get into, but they have a high drop-out rate.

    list of unis that do mech eng:
    http://search.ucas.com/cgi-bin/hsrun/search/search/StateId/QjzxXwp3-DoZQtwVu0LRFBOvCk_Bs-3F71/HAHTpage/search.HsKeywordSuggestion.whereNext?query=941&word=MECHANICAL+ENGINEERING&single=Y [Broken]

    You need to commit time to it, even to get ordinary marks. Honestly, the hard part is getting in, then you just plod along.

    I just checked out the Open Uni B.Eng degree description, and I don't think it will get you to being a Mechanical Engineer. The three "pathways" they give are kind of woolly like engineering for design, etc. I'm not saying that they aren't good degrees, more that you may have to be pragmatic in your degree choice because of your circumstances.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Jun 13, 2012 #3

    Hello and thanks for the reply. Im a bit confused as to how uni works. So i need to get A level Maths and Physics first? And that will be 1 year on a full time course? That gets me to a position where i can start the undergrad course for ME?

    Could i do the OU foundation degree in 1 year and then go onto a ME course? or engineering design like you said.

    Basically i need step by step info. I left school with no qualifications due to dropping out because of some issues at home. Im assuming im going to have to go get English GCSE and Maths/Physics A levels? Then i can apply for an ME-like course (engineering design etc)?

    Thanks again :)
  5. Jun 13, 2012 #4
    ok, step-by-step. BTW, the best advice will be from specific universities.

    From where you are now, you won't need GCSE stuff (i wasn't asked for any). You will just jump into A-level, so make sure you can get to this level.

    1) You need to get A-level equivalent in maths and physics for most ME courses. that means either an Access course (runs for one year) at a college or a Foundation degree (again, one year). After you get these, you apply to universities and give them your marks (Either of these will get you into First year uni - and you can use them at any uni). Birkbeck in london does one in the evenings (6-9pm, two nights a week), but a lot of colleges arpund the country run theirs during the day.

    2) After your foundation/access year course, you should be able to get into a uni course. This takes 3 years, full time. I don't know of any in the UK that do it part-time, but they could exist. You get your summers off, and a lot of people work or do paid placements in industry to get experience and get cash.

    3) After 3 years, you get your bachelors.

    Honestly, the best people to ask is a university. They usually have an undergraduate admissions tutor on their department website. Just email them and ask if they accept mature age students after an Access of Foundation year.

    If you get your act together, by this time next year you could be preparing to start university.
  6. Jun 13, 2012 #5
    Awesome! Thats the best bit of advice ive found since i decided this is what i wanted to do. Thankyou! Another question though :)

    Can i do an open university Foundation Degree in Engineering? That should be the equivalent of the access course right? I dont know if open uni is taken as seriously as just going to uni.

    Again, thanks!!
  7. Jun 14, 2012 #6
    I BELIEVE the OpenU foundation degree is equivalent to Access/A-level, but again the best folk to ask is OpenU. If you are direct with them and tell them what you want to get out of it, they will usually be pretty straight-forward.
  8. Jun 15, 2012 #7
    I have an interview with the course advisor of my local uni. Any suggestions on what i need to ask? I dont wanna finish the interview and then realise i have loads more questions to ask :)
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