View Full Version : UK Distance learning aerospace engineering degrees (again!)

Genghis the Engineer
20th Feb 2004, 21:45
My friends and occasional detractors will know that I've a bit of a bee in my bonnet about aerospace engineering degrees in the United Kingdom.

Specifically, it's my opinion that there are enough...

- Junior design / analysis professionals in the industry who want extra academic qualifications to advance their careers, and
- Experienced technicians / LAME who would like the academics to move out of the rain and into the design office, and
- Talented amateurs or potential startup companies who would like to design their own aeroplanes / engines / avionics, and
- People, either inside or outside the industry, who would like to make a career change into aerospace engineering...

To justify there being available at least one distance learning (OU style) BEng degree in Aerospace Engineering. My vested interest is mainly that I deal with a lot of people in the light aviation industry who would benefit enormously from this (and if they had this sort of education, it would make my own job far easier).

It's niggled me for a long time that there isn't and I've spent quite a lot of time knocking on the doors of various Engineering professors to try and persuade them to make one available.

Well, I seem to have finally persuaded a university to take a serious look at putting this together. I can't say who at the moment (it's up to them to make such public announcements, not me), but it is a top-league Engineering university "somewhere in England" who already run several well regarded full-time undergraduate courses in the same subject.

They've asked me if I would try and do a little digging for them - specifically they need some idea of a minimum number of people in the UK who might be interested, and roughly what their academic background is.

So, would anybody be prepared - either here or privately to me, to give any indication? The sole reason I'm asking for this is to help the Prof. who would be driving it persuade his university to release the funding to start advertising and putting it together. I believe that this could be of huge benefit to the industry as a whole, as well as to many people's careers (not mine, I've got one already!) - which is the reason I've expended so much time and energy on it.

Given what I'm trying to do, by all means anybody cross-post this to other places; my Email address is [email protected]


21st Feb 2004, 01:19
Are non-residents/non-citizens likely to be eligible?

Genghis the Engineer
21st Feb 2004, 02:05
It's early days, but so far as I know, apart from the occasional security exception (not many Libyans on Nuclear Engineering courses) UK universities have never had any problem with foreigners.

But, you would need to spend a certain amount of time at the university (probably 2-4 weeks per year) to do the essential labwork, and presumably would get no subsidy from HM Government. (Before you ask, at the moment I don't know what it would cost, and can only suggest looking at the cost of general Engineering degrees on the OU website for a rough idea).


29th May 2004, 22:11
Genghis any news regarding the course?
Does it look like it may happen?

Genghis the Engineer
29th May 2004, 22:54
Yes, I had a meeting at the university about ten days ago and passed Email addresses of those who had contacted me saying they were interested to the head of department there.

I don't have a firm timescale at the moment, but the senior management at the university seem to be increasingly keen on the idea. As they keep me posted, I'll post details of what's happening.

My best guess however is, all going well, an official announcement sometime late this year with a view to enroling the first students sometime in 2005.


26th Nov 2004, 14:18

do we have an update of the possible degree course. I and a few others are in the final HND year and are planning for next year, so any info would be appreciated.

26th Nov 2004, 15:40

As far as I understand, it is entirely possible to enter the final year of an Honours Degree directly from an HND in a similar subject.

For those that are physically near to a University it may well be advantageous to inquire as to whether they accept such advanced entry and also if they run the course P/T.

P/T would be 2 years usually and result in a B.Eng(Hons), or occasionally B.Sc.(Eng) if these are still around.

Faster than a distance learning degree (unless advanced standing can be claimed) otherwise you'd be looking at 4-6 years study if starting a distance learning course from scratch (unless you work like a maniac, theoretically a University of London BA/BSc/LLB or even BD can be achieved distance learning in three years, but those that do usually are on full time private courses elsewhere).

As far as I understand one of the biggest obstacles with a Distance Learning degree is the matter of getting it validated by the Uni wishing to offer the course (easier since the CNAA days for some)

It is likely the exams will be of the same standard but they will not be identical to the F/T ones - the syllabus and other issues would also need to be defined such as materials - as well as breaking down to a modular framework (easy for the "new" Unis but can be somewhat arduous at some of the old Unis if at all possible).

I imagine building a tertiary level three year FTE engineering course for distance learning delivery not to be an easy task.

I hold a BEng btw, but it was obtained 4 years F/T (Scottish University).

Genghis I hope it goes well.

26th Nov 2004, 16:49
Thanks for the advice flash8.
Some students are going to Leicester Uni, 18 months part time, but this gets them a Mechanical degree.
I am after an Aeronautical or Aerospace Degree, it must be part-time, ie one day a week, or distance learning.

Rivet gun
27th Nov 2004, 12:06
If this course had been proposed 12 years ago when I started my OU degree, I would have been interested.

For what it's worth I think that the key to such an enterprise will be the quality of the course materials and tuition.

The OU courses are very good. Distance learning is their core buisness and they are experts at it.

I also have experience of distance learning courses from a conventional university which were very poorly presented and supported in comparison with the OU (though the residential element was good).

OU quality standards should be the benchmark for distance learning. You could perhaps take the core engineering and mathematics courses from the OU (including mathematical models and methods and fluid mechanics courses), then just add the specialsist aeronautics courses from the awarding university.

I imagine the requirement would be for a M Eng degree recognised for MRAES / C Eng status.

28th Nov 2004, 15:53
Believe the OU also offers an M.Eng. currently.

Also, for C.Eng (Chartered Engineer) status, the academic component can be fully satisified by a B.Eng (Hons) of Class 2 (upper or lower) standard (or even 3) - at least it was when I graduated around 10 years ago.

I think M.Eng's only differ in offering an industrial project component coupled with some extended academic study taking a year longer than a B.Eng(Hons).

HND's offer exemption from Part I Engineering Council exams, Part 2 can be taken separately (after your HND) and are equivalent to a good Honoures degree in the related disicpline.

In fact it used to be possible to take Parts I & II and obtain C.Eng status *without* a degree.

Could be wrong though - has been 10 years!


28th Nov 2004, 16:23
I believe Prof Spence and Prof Banks of Strathclyde fame decided to muck around with the CEng requirements a few years ago.

It was rumoured that there would be minimum Secondary level quals required as well as a MEng. Funny enough there would have been only about 16 Uni's in Britain who had high enough entrance standards to allow acredited degrees strathclyde being one of them. And the amusing situation that someone could pass all the MEng degree exams with distinction and not be allowed to go for CEng because they left school at 16 for an appentiship. And some little wasock could scrape through with a 41% average could get one because they a couple of extra B's in media studys and sport science

I don't know if the changes were across the board of Engineering perversions or just for IMechE or for that matter if they got completely adopted.