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Pre-Engineering Program

Dual Degree Program

McMurry University has several Physics and Pre-Engineering programs available for our students. If you are considering engineering, then it may help to read over the Differences Between Physics and Engineering section of the Welcome Incoming Students webpage.  All of the Physics/Engineering options will start you in the same set of classes. It is not until your sophomore or junior year that the schedules will diverge. 

Development of the Dual-Degree Idea

A Professional Degree:  Back in the '50s and '60s, a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering was a 150 credit-hour degree.  This was the professional degree with which an engineer was considered qualified to work in the industry.  Since most degree programs were 125 credit-hours, universities pressured the schools of engineering to reduce their requirements and they did.  However, the Bachelors has remained the traditional professional degree.  Recently, there has begun a push towards making the Masters of Engineering the professional degree because, when counted with the bachelors, it is back to the 150 credit-hour degree scale.  

Engineering Physics Programs:  Engineers typically try to answer the question "How can I make this work in the real world?" and therefore tend to focus on the application of technology.  Physicists typically try to answer the question "Why does this work at all?" and therefore tend to focus on fundamental science.  Physics is in some sense the "liberal arts" of engineering.  With a degree in physics, one may not know enough (yet) to be able to do the details that the engineers do, but a physicist should be able to talk at a technical level with an engineer from any engineering field with a minimum of catching up.  Engineers and physicists use different notation and focus on different aspects of the various fields, but because physics is more general, covering ideas related to all of the engineering disciplines, a physicist should be able to transition into an engineering field.  In addition, an engineer who was trained in physics should be able to connect their discipline to other engineering disciplines.

Dual-Degrees Offered Through the Partnership with University Of North Dakota

Through a collaborative agreement with the University of North Dakota (UND), McMurry University students now have a unique opportunity to earn an engineering degree in Chemical or Mechanical Engineering accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) while completing the majority of their classes in Abilene. In the course of the five-year program McMurry delivers foundational courses in physics, chemistry, math and some introductory level engineering courses, while UND provides upper division engineering courses through the distance learning.

  • Broad Education Rooted in the Liberal Arts tradition
  • Small Class Sizes
  • Personal Attention to every Student
  • Easy Access to Professors
  • Focus on Teaching
  • Open Opportunities for every Student
  • Wide Range of Electives
  • Career Services
  • Network of Engineering Alumni
  • More Opportunities for Research
  • Graduate School

Advantages of McMurry-UND Engineering Program:

  1. The program is designed as a five year program. At the end of the program students will receive not one but two Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees. The Mechanical Engineering track will lead to BS degree in Physics with minor in Mathematics from McMurry and ABET-accredited BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from UND. The Chemical Engineering track will lead to BS degree in Chemistry with minors in Physics and Mathematics from McMurry and ABET-accredited BS degree in Chemical Engineering from UND.

  2. Employers want engineers who are capable to go beyond solving standard text-book problems, who possess intelligence, imagination and integrity combined with strong moral character, good communication and team-building skills. This can be achieved through solid foundations of the liberal-arts education acquired in a small faith-based college combined with ABET-accredited professional preparation in the larger university.

  3. Individual attention is given to each student. In a typical engineering program at a large university students are often taking foundational courses in huge classes of several hundred people and many of them will not go past that point, since these classes are not designed to fit individual student needs. Here we make sure that each of our students will get all the necessary preparation to move to the next level of specialized engineering subjects.

  4. Students are getting much broader education compared to one they would have gotten by completing a standard engineering program. That would open up more career paths to these graduates including graduate programs in physics, chemistry or engineering as well as employment in technical fields and teaching. A typical engineering preparation is very much focused on a single engineering field, while having additional physics or chemistry background would allow for easier transitions from one engineering field to another in case if future career paths would require such a transition.

  5. Students are still getting real college experience complete with sports, clubs and interaction with peers even when they take online courses from UND during their junior and senior years. Even when students are still receiving assistance from McMurry faculty. 

Other Opportunities:

The Dual 3-2 BS Idea:  This idea is sometimes called a 3-2 program; but this name is a little awkward because it is also used in other contexts to refer to a different idea. This dual Bachelor's degree refers to a student who starts as a physics undergraduate at a school with no engineering program, takes their general education and intro physics courses, and then transfers to an engineering school to take nearly 3-years worth of engineering courses (and no general education). McMurry is currently revising our dual degree agreements with several schools. Please stay tuned as more details on these programs will become available soon.  After successful completion of the coursework at both schools (in a minimum of 5 years), you will receive two degrees: a Bachelor of Science from McMurry and a Bachelor of Engineering from another school.

The Other 3-2 Idea: The phrase "a 3-2 program" at an engineering school may instead refer to an engineering student who is academically strong and motivated enough to finish a sufficient amount of their undergraduate coursework in a specific engineering discipline to begin their graduate work in the same engineering discipline while technically still an undergraduate. Some engineering schools developed these 3-2 programs for their students because of the situation regarding the professional degree (mentioned above). This would allow a student to finish their masters in 5 years instead the usual 6. Of course, it is necessary for these students to be continuing on in the same discipline that they studied as an undergraduate.

Changing Fields: If an engineer wishes to change fields from undergraduate to graduate school, then they need what are sometimes called "Leveling Courses" to get up to speed in the new field. (These are also called "post-bachelaureate courses.") Typically after a student takes their bachelors in one field, they can spend their first year of graduate work taking the leveling classes in a new field and then move into the coursework of the new discipline. The number of leveling courses that are needed depends on which discipline one transfers from as well as which discipline one goes to, but these courses generally do exist and there is a demand for them.

A New Idea: For a variety of reasons, it would be advantageous to develop a smooth transition from a physics bachelors degree to an engineering masters degree. Because of the differences in perspective between the fields one cannot reasonably expect to get a jump on graduate engineering courses while working on an undergraduate physics major. However, McMurry faculty are currently working with several engineering schools and continuously adding new courses to the physics curriculum in order to develop opportunities to smooth the transition into various engineering graduate programs. The idea is to make use of the leveling courses that exist for engineers who are switching fields, use these as the physics electives during senior undergraduate year, and allow a student who graduates with a BS in physics from McMurry and who has had these classes to enter directly into the engineering graduate program with a minimal amount of leveling. See below for the latest developments in this regard.

Bachelor-Masters Programs: Because it is not uncommon for students to transition from undergraduate physics or math into engineering graduate programs, there is no formal agreement of acceptance at this time. However, after extensive discussions with Texas Tech School of Engineering there are recommended class lists for undergraduate physics majors to consider as electives if they are planning to go to graduate school in engineering.