Is BEng with OU well thought of?

(37 Posts)
paininthepoinsettia Tue 05-May-20 18:51:09

I don't mean is OU in general well thought of, but the BEng in particular. Have been looking into this and compared to red brick unis that run labs for engineering I'm wondering if it is regarded as equal. I think some of the OU modules have summer schools but they are only 1 week long so you wouldn't get the same experience I think? I'm wondering all things considered are they equal?

OP’s posts: |
titchy Tue 05-May-20 18:54:43

Check the accreditation status. I think you need MEng to be accredited, BEng isn't enough to be an engineer I don't think.

paininthepoinsettia Tue 05-May-20 19:00:57

Yes @titchy it did say that after the MEng you can apply for Chartered status. Does this mean that if you get an OU BEng and apply for a MEng at a red brick that they won't consider your degree?

OP’s posts: |
titchy Tue 05-May-20 19:05:15

Problem is the MEng is normally an integrated degree - it's part of an undergraduate degree, with an extra year rather than a stand alone Masters which you apply for in the same way as an MSc.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 06-May-20 09:09:53

My DP has a BEng from the OU, he specialised in motor engineering in the degree so being chartered is not a thing in that field. In particular transmission systems. He moved in to high spec car design and from there into formula one cars - rising to being a racing performance engineer.
He was a qualified mechanic originally so that did help.
But yes with an OU engineering degree he rose to the top of his profession.

paininthepoinsettia Wed 06-May-20 11:19:05

That's great to hear @Lonecatwithkitten, thank you.

OP’s posts: |
hellsbells99 Wed 06-May-20 12:03:16

DD shares some of her 4th year (integrated masters in engineering degree) lectures, labs etc with students doing a 1 year Masters degree. So that is a possibility after doing 3 year BEng.


Decorhate Wed 06-May-20 14:20:07

It’s more straightforward to do an integrated masters though in terms of funding. And the requirements to have a masters rather than batchelor degree changed at some stage for Civil Engineers - it wasn’t like that when I graduated so please do research on the current situation for whichever field of engineering is relevant rather than going by what someone says on here.

paininthepoinsettia Wed 06-May-20 15:01:42

For those in the know, is it a bad idea to do a BEng Engineering ie, not a specialized branch as the student doesn't know which branch he wants to go into? If you then go onto do a masters in Civil or Electrical for example, would you still get chartered status?

OP’s posts: |
hellsbells99 Thu 07-May-20 09:28:23

I think the problem will be making sure you have the right entry requirements for the masters if you decide to go that route. E.g. University of Leeds specifies for their Mechanical Engineering MSc (masters):
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a related engineering discipline. Successful applicants will have strong grades in relevant modules including advanced mathematics, fluid mechanics, strength of materials and dynamics. We may ask for further detailed module information if these are not clear on your transcript. Some optional modules will also require studies covering thermodynamics but this is not essential to gain entry onto the course.

hellsbells99 Thu 07-May-20 09:31:50

Also if you are doing the whole degree at a normal university, you spend a lot of time in workshops and labs and there are a lot of group projects - designing and making things. As you say, that would be very limited in the OU course.

Decorhate Thu 07-May-20 15:03:36

Yes labs & practicals are integral to an engineering degree. I’m interested in how the OU gets around this - maybe they have a week or two per year where you have to attend an intense series of labs? Many traditional universities put a big emphasis on group work & even run projects across different departments to model how engineers work in RL. I guess at the end of the day it’s a question of do you want an engineering degree or do you want to be an engineer!

If going to a traditional uni is not feasible for you, have you considered applying for an apprenticeship with one of the big companies? I think you still end up with a BSc level qualification.

BubblesBuddy Thu 07-May-20 15:51:20

BEng degrees now lead to Incorporated Engineer status. That’s still a qualified engineer but below Chartered status. You do not have to be Chartered but many companies pay more for Chartered engineers for obvious reasons. It’s by no means standard that all companies expect it though. Some prefer experience and don’t support grads via the Chartered CPD.

It’s vital to look at the Engineering Council before embarking on this degree. It looks very limited to mechanical engineering. It appears you must do a particular pathway to ensure the degree is accepted too. In my view, that’s risky. You then need to top up with a separate masters for CEng fast track. BEng holders can get Chartered but it’s slower.

So, go the traditional route if you can. Do MEng if you can. Always check the course is accredited and does what you want with the Engineering Council. Think about which branch of engineering before you start. In the end you cannot swap from Civils to Mechanical for example. The best degrees for most people are where you start knowing what outcome you want. This is why so few degrees are general and real engineers value the in depth knowledge of their discipline. So do Engineering employers . Check all the branches of engineering and which one is best for your interests.

My view is to avoid OU. It cannot have the dread that or depth you need unless you are working at the same time.

BubblesBuddy Thu 07-May-20 15:53:36

Yes, look at the apprentice route but many of these degrees are BEng, take forever part time and then you can become Incorporated. It will take a lot longer to be Chartered. How much time do you have?

paininthepoinsettia Thu 07-May-20 16:59:32

Many thanks for the responses, they are all very helpful. This is for DS, Y12 who was supposed to have his personal statement handed in 2 weeks ago but still doesn't know what he wants to do hmm He thinks some type of engineering, but isn't sure. I was thinking rather than spend a lot of money on a degree that your heart isn't in that he could start the OU degree and work or whatever else at the same time until he was clearer. He probably isn't very keen on that option anyway.

University of Birmingham does a BEng (general) that you choose which branch you want to go into in the 2nd year, the website isn't very clear however, it says to contact the school for more advice. I'm just thinking if that requires an extra year will SF cover it?

@BubblesBuddy, what is the process to go from Incorporated to Chartered? Is it exams or further study? Do all BEng degrees just lead to Incorporated now?

OP’s posts: |
ChippyMinton Thu 07-May-20 17:14:04

Student finance covers the MEng degrees.

Decorhate Thu 07-May-20 19:42:25

I don’t think the Birmingham degree is necessarily a year longer. Ds had an offer from there but did not like the fact the first year is general & then you specialise. He knew what he wanted so felt he’d rather specialise straight away. But I think it was no longer than doing the equivalent degree elsewhere.

Regarding the incorporated engineer status, I think this is basically equivalent to a technician in my day, back then they would have had a HNC or HND & maybe did that on day release initially.

BubblesBuddy Fri 08-May-20 09:36:30

It is equivalent to a technician engineer but it’s now a fully recognised qualification. There is an Eng Tech is a qualification too.

It can take a long time to work up to CEng if you don’t have the right degree because a post BEng qualification is necessary. You have to view it as a two tier profession with regard to being chartered or incorporated.

The Engineering Council spells it out for you. See a snapshot attached.

With regard to which discipline, he should by now have done some research. What makes him interested in engineering? Look at the web sites if the different institutions. Ask him: what does he think an engineer does? What does he enjoy doing that relates to engineering? Is he interested in the environment, buildings. Roads and bridges, materials and chemicals, electricity? So many things. He needs to be aware of the opportunities and then see if they excite him. I think no idea at all isn’t showing much research. Can he phone up any local engineers to chat? They might not have offices open but someone should answer an email. He really must do some research.

BubblesBuddy Fri 08-May-20 09:39:10

MEng is 4 years. BEng with a year in industry is 4 years. MEng is the way forward if you have the right A level predictions. Some courses do have general principles in the first year but others don’t . It’s quicker by and large to know what you want and go for it!

Phphion Fri 08-May-20 10:00:55

Generally, if you start on an MEng, you can decide after the 2nd year that you would rather finish in three years with a BEng instead. That is easier than trying to add on a Masters to a degree that was only designed to lead to a BEng.

I think for course like engineering, the OU is good for people who already have a lot of technical experience (like Lonecatwithkitten's DP) and who are looking to credentialise or, sometimes, specialise. I don't think it is such a good idea for someone with little to no hands on experience because they won't get so much of it at the OU.

Phphion Fri 08-May-20 10:11:47

Lots of universities have a general engineering first year and allow you to transfer to all or some of their specialist degrees for year 2 onwards. Some also allow you to transfer between specialist degrees at the end of year 1. The courses are still the same length.

He really needs to do some research. Engineering is a demanding degree and if he isn't even interested enough to research his options now, he may find it hard going.

paininthepoinsettia Fri 08-May-20 10:27:11

Thank you all for the advice, very much appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Fri 08-May-20 23:45:51

BEng degrees normally let students transfer to MEng after year 1 if they are good enough. It’s mostly the real strugglers who go from MEng to BEng. That’s not desirable and often leads to a poor degree classification.

Canyousewcushions Fri 08-May-20 23:59:24

I think Warwick uni also used to do similar to Birmingham; a generic first year for multiple engineering disciplines so there was the chance to move between them before the start of second year.

As a school leavers I'd avoid the OU and a generic BEng course. As PP said, these will really be aimed at mature students with industry experience who need a qualification to progress.

Achieving charteeship is simplest for those with an MEng or accredited MSC. Getting to a CEng qualification from a BEng is much harder work, and even more so if the BEng is not accredited by the specific institution he wants to join.

Much better if possible to go to a red brick uni and do an MEng degree.

ErrolTheDragon Sat 09-May-20 12:15:24

There seem to be more unis offering a general first year and then specialising than there were just a few years ago when DD was going through the process (she's a 3rd year MEng student now) - so those may be ideal of your DS. At the time she came to the conclusion - which may or may not be correct! - that the only general engineering degree which would allow for sufficient specialism by the end (because of its workload and pace) was Cambridge. All her other applications were for Electrical & electronic eng.
Note that some of the more esoteric engineering options get chosen after starting on a more general field such as EEE, which may have a common first year and then they can choose more and more specialised options in subsequent years.

I think PP who've suggested that the OU degree may be best suited to people who are already engaged in engineering rather than typical post-a level freshers may be right. Whichever route he takes, getting practical experience via proper internships is pretty vital for engineers.

In normal times, going round open days to get a feel for the different departments would be helpful - he should look to see if there are online 'virtual open days'.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in