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Engineering and Community College

  1. Jan 11, 2012 #1
    Hello all. I am starting school soon and have a problem with what major to take. In the beginning I wanted to go for computer science but I changed my mind and would rather go to school for either computer engineering or mechanical engineering. Since I didn't do so well in high school I decided to go to community college to improve my math skills. It's not that math is hard but in high school many of the concepts were not taught very well and I ended up missing out on a lot.

    The basic problem is what major to take. Since I technically can't take engineering as a major at all in community college I was told to pick liberal studies as a major. The problem with that is that they seem to be forcing me to take filler classes like philosophy and public speaking that have nothing to do with my major. And if I don't declare some sort of major at all then I can't be awarded any financial aid. I don't know what to do. I thought that I could take some core classes and then transfer to a normal university and continue education but I am unsure of what classes I would have to take. I am also unsure of what major I would have to declare to even be able to take those classes. Another problem is that since I have to take a developmental math class, I can't take any college physics courses until I pass it.

    I was thinking that I could just major in computer science just to take some of the classes that are core to engineering. Once I get through that I could transfer and change my major to one of the engineering fields. That way I wouldn't be stuck with filler classes and I could still get financial aid. But even if that did work I am still unsure of where I could transfer. I hear that some schools won't accept credits from certain schools/classes. I really don't know what to do. Basically if this doesn't work I may well be forced to just take computer science. But I really don't want to do anything programming heavy for a living and I don't think there is much room to be creative there. Is there any way that this could work out so that I could take engineering classes?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2012 #2
    You need to check with your CC and any universities where you may plan on transferring, and see if they have a transfer agreement. Most of the "engineering core" classes that can be taken at a CC, seem to be math, physics, and chemistry.

    I am currently taking classes at a CC with a transfer agreement, and there are very few actual Engineering classes that can be taken and will transfer. I assume this is because the CC is not ABET accredited, and the engineering specific classes need to be taken at the accredited university.

    My declared major at CC is: University Parallel/Pre-Engineering, and I have to take all the normal Gen-ed classes (speech, psychology, sociology, English).
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  4. Jan 12, 2012 #3
    I'm majoring in engineering at a community college, are you sure that yours doesn't offer it? If not, would it be possible to go to another one near by that could be higher quality? My general impression of CCs is that they vary in quality a lot. Going to one in a different county could dramatically improve the quality. The reason I'm mentioning this is that if your school really doesn't even offer engineering it would seem to me that it may not be the best, or at least not for math/science majors.

    At my school the engineering, math, and physics majors are all basically the same (one or two classes different). So if you have to go a school that doesn't offer a direct engineering major, then math or physics could be good substitutes.

    As for credits transferring that is a broader question. Many states have laws that force in state public schools to accept associates degrees as the first two years of a four year degree. In addition, many CCs arrive at transfer agreements with nearby four year schools. In those cases you can read the agreement and it will tell you what classes will transfer into what other classes. In any case you should call the schools you would potentially transfer to and ask specifically about transfers.

    Some things to keep in mind about transfers in general. It isn't always as simple as a yes/no will this class transfer. Look up what major you would like to do at the four year school and then see how many of those classes are filled by ones at your two year school. Many classes from the CC may transfer, but transfer as classes not actually required for your major. It's also worth noting that many early prereqs might not actually transfer, but are still useful, since you couldn't take the higher classes without them.
  5. Jan 12, 2012 #4
    Don't they have a physical sciences major?
  6. Jan 12, 2012 #5
    I think you need to talk to an adviser. When I went to community college for engineering, I just picked a generic associate of arts major and took what I wanted (making sure the classes would eventually transfer). However, this is specific to the community college.
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