Frequently Asked Questions

It is assumed that you navigated to this web page from the Program home page and are somewhat familiar with the program. If this is not the case, visit the home page first and come back to this page later. This FAQ will not answer all of your questions, so please do not hesitate to contact the Program Director.

How do I apply to the NC State Engineering 2+2 Transfer Program at UNCW?

Application is not made to the Program but to UNCW as any prospective student would. There are no additional requirements to enter the Program. For more information, visit the UNCW Freshman Admissions website. Several sources say that engineering appears as a "major" in the UNCW online application process.

How do I transfer to the NC State Engineering 2+2 Transfer Program at UNCW?

Application is not made to the Program but to UNCW as any prospective transfer student would. There are no additional requirements to enter the Program. For more information, visit the UNCW Transfer Admissions website.

I have been out of school for awhile and am not sure what courses to take at first. Suggestions?

Yes. Unless you have had calculus and remember the material, a good place to start is with algebra and then follow that with trigonometry. At UNCW these courses are MAT 111 and 112. At a North Carolina community college, these courses are MAT 171 and 172. You will then be ready to start into the regular engineering curriculum. The rest of the courses will depend on your previous college course work.

I want to enter the 2+2 Program but have been told by admissions that I must go to community college first and accumulate 24 credits. What should I take?

In answering this question, it will be assumed that you need refresher courses in mathematics. With this in mind, the following is suggested at community college:
ENG 111 Expository Writing; ENG 113 Argument-based Research;
MAT 171 Pre-calculus Algebra; MAT 171A Pre-calculus Algebra Lab; MAT 172 Pre-calculus Trigonometry; 172A Pre-calculus Trigonometry Lab;
CHM 151 General Chemistry I; CHM 152 General Chemistry II;
ECO 251 Principles of Microeconomics;
One of the following: HIS 121 Western Civilization I, HIS 122 Western Civilization II, HIS 131 American History I, or HIS 132 American History II;
OR
One of the following: PHI 215 Philosophical Issues, PHI 240 Introduction to Ethics, REL 110 World Religions, REL 221 Religion in America, MUS 110 Music Appreciation, MUS 112 Introduction to Jazz, or DRA 111 Theatre Appreciation;
OR
One of the following: PSY 150 General Psychology, SOC 210 Introduction to Sociology, HUM 110 Technology and Society.

Not all community colleges offer all of these classes. Most, if not all, are offered at Cape Fear CC. Also, you may need preparatory math classes before taking MAT 171.  Check the Cape Fear CC website for a schedule of course offerings.

Is math required to study engineering?

Absolutely!!! The first math course scheduled to be taken in the fall of the freshman year is calculus. At UNCW, this course is MAT 161 (For North Carolina community college transfer students, MAT 161 is NOT the same as MAT 161 in the community college numbering systems). UNCW freshman are given a placement test during freshman orientation. This test should be taken seriously. If you do not place into calculus or at least trigonometry, MAT 112, you may get behind. Be prepared for this test and be sure you take a math course in your senior year of high school to keep your mind fresh in mathematics. Take as much math as your high school offers.

Do I have to take calculus and calculus-based physics to study engineering?

Yes. There are no substitutions.

I am thinking about getting a science degree. What is the difference between an engineering degree and a science degree?

The study of science is a necessary and rewarding endeavor. Engineers could not do their jobs without the principles discovered by scientists. Science is the foundation on which the great "engine" of engineering is based. However, the basic objectives of the two are different. Scientists seek to discover knowledge. Engineers seek to create what never was or to improve what does exist. These distinctions are often blurred because scientists sometimes do engineering work and engineers sometimes do science particularly in the field of engineering research. But a distinguishing educational objective in engineering is design. Design is at the heart of engineering. Engineers design new things such as better airplanes or appliances or materials or things that do not even exist. Instead of a vacuum cleaner, would you like to have a robot clean your house? Someday a group of engineers will design such a device. So it helps to be creative, to imagine, to take risks, to "dare to be different" but not to endanger safety, of course. Unlike art, however, engineer's creations must comply with the principles of science and that is the engineer's challenge: to be creative but within the constraints set forth within a specific project.

I am at a community college and I want to study engineering. Do I take their engineering courses?

No. "Engineering" courses at North Carolina's community colleges are engineering technology courses and will not transfer to a four-year engineering college. Engineering technology is a different course of study from engineering. See the questions on this below. If you are at a community college and want to study engineering, you will need to enroll in their college transfer program. With one exception, Craven Community College, there will be no engineering courses available; but you will be able to take other required courses if they are taught. You may be better off transferring into our Engineering 2+2Transfer Program or transferring directly to one of the engineering colleges after one year.

I have an engineering technology degree. How many of my courses will transfer to the Pre-Engineering Transfer Program or to an engineering college?

Most likely none. Engineering technology programs generally do not include transferable college-level courses, particularly the engineering technology courses. Some English, humanities, or social science courses that might have been taken as electives may transfer if they are part of the college transfer set of courses. The college to which you want to transfer will have to evaluate your transcript to uncover course equivalencies. Some colleges offer a four-year engineering technology degree. These will accept courses taken as part of a two-year engineering technology degree. In North Carolina, UNC Charlotte offers a four-year engineering technology degree. Do not confuse this with UNC Charlotte's four-year engineering degree program.

What is the difference between engineering and engineering technology?

There are many explanations of this. The following is one such explanation. It should be noted that the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) sets guidelines for what defines engineering, engineering technology, and engineering technician educational degree programs. While it may seem elitist to distinguish engineering and engineering technology, there are technical and legal reasons for so doing.

Engineering normally involves detailed analysis and design that results in the creation of machines, structures, processes, materials, and information for the benefit of society. Engineers bear responsibility for their creations through professional registration which is regulated by each state. The first step in this registration process is to earn a bachelor of science degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited college of engineering. There are four in North Carolina: Duke, NC A&T State, NC State, and UNC Charlotte. The curriculum includes courses in calculus, calculus-based physics, chemistry, English, humanities and social sciences as well as engineering courses required by the major (mechanical or civil engineering for example). A good description of engineering can be found at the American Society for Engineering Education. See also Discover Engineering.

Engineering technologists and technicians assist engineers in making their creations a reality. They sometimes serve as a liaison between a customer and a design engineer. They sometimes design equipment using off-the-shelf components. They also service equipment that is of a highly technical nature. Engineering technologists usually have a four-year degree in engineering technology from an accredited engineering technology program. In North Carolina, there are three universities that offer four-year engineering technology degrees: NC A&T State, UNC Charlotte, and Western Carolina.  Technologists take math, sciences, and other related courses but do not take the full calculus course sequence, nor science and engineering courses that are based on calculus. Technologists can become registered professional engineers but must have more work experience than engineers to do so.

Engineering technicians generally have a two-year Associates in Applied Science degree from a community college or technical school. Many community colleges in North Carolina offer various types of programs in engineering technology. For many students who may not be able to afford a four-year degree education, this is an inexpensive way to a rewarding and financially secure career.

A good description of engineering technology can be found here.

In summary, in terms of academic challenge, expense, and career advancement potential, the career hierarchy is as follows, in general: engineer, engineering technologist, and engineering technician.

I already have a bachelors degree. How can I get an engineering degree?

This depends on the degree. If you have a bachelor of science degree that required chemistry, calculus, and calculus-based physics, then you may have as much as one-and-one half years of requirements completed if you also have the appropriate humanities and social science courses. In reality, it will likely take three years to complete an engineering degree because of the highly prerequisite-dependent nature of the engineering curriculum.

If you have a bachelor of arts degree, you will probably only have a year of the requirements for an engineering degree completed.

A transcript analysis either by the college of engineering to which you want to transfer or by the UNCW 2+2 Program Director will give you some idea of how much course work will be required.

It seems like I am not getting much credit for the courses I took in my previous degree.

It does seem this way, but the engineering degree is a professional degree and requires a number of basic-level prerequisite engineering courses in place of electives that non-engineering degrees might normally require. And because of national accreditation guidelines, requirements for math, science, and other courses that compose the curriculums are very specific and not open to substitution.

In looking at the engineering curriculums, I see humanities and social science requirements. What are these?

These requirements vary slightly from college to college but are structured to meet national engineering accreditation guidelines and meet most universities' general education requirements which are called University Studies requirements at UNCW, and core requirements at other universities. Because there is so little room in an engineering curriculum for these courses, the accreditation agency requires both a breadth of courses and some depth of study in these courses. At most colleges of engineering, approximately 21 hours of humanities and social sciences are required. This requirement is typically met with some combination of literature, history, philosophy or religion, economics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, music, art or theatre. In addition to this breadth of course work, courses at an advanced level in one or more of these subjects is usually required to satisfy the depth requirement.

Are the first two years of the NC State Engineering 2+2 Transfer Program at UNCW the same for all majors?

No. The first semester is the same. After that the course requirements diverge. The second semester is the same for most curriculums with the exception of chemistry and programming languages. The following curriculums, regardless of engineering college, require the second semester of chemistry (CHM 102 at UNCW): biological, biomedical, chemical, environmental, and materials science and engineering.

Why should I pursue the NC State Engineering 2+2 Transfer Program at UNCW instead of starting at one of the colleges of engineering?

If you are accepted at one of the colleges of engineering and have visited the campus and like it, then you should go there. Our objective is not to compete with them. We serve instead as a conduit for students to them. If you like a smaller campus that will most likely have smaller classes and perhaps a more student-friendly ambiance, then you might want to consider UNCW. Being close to the beach is also a nice feature! Many students from this area start here because it is financially beneficial. Parents sometimes want their children to stay closer to home the first year or two of college. Some students come here because they were not able to be admitted to the colleges of engineering of their choice.

There are disadvantages. Like other colleges with smaller enrollments, classes are not offered as frequently so scheduling can sometimes be a problem. Engineering scholarship opportunities are not as plentiful. The engineering courses are taught live via video conferencing technology. They are the same courses students at the colleges of engineering take, but some students do not like this learning environment. On the other hand, the classes are recorded and can be reviewed as often as one would like. Students have to enroll in these engineering courses at the college of engineering offering the course and not UNCW. This can result in added tuition costs or tuition savings depending on the number of credits taken at the different colleges and at UNCW.  This also results in added paperwork for the student so that insurance and financial aid benefits are not lost. Most of it is taken care of by staff. 

If I follow the NC State Engineering 2+2 Transfer Program at UNCW, will I lose credits when I transfer?

Not if you follow the advice of the Program Director, follow the curriculums properly, and take the approved electives. Credits accumulated before entering the program, such as those taken at other colleges and community colleges may transfer but most likely will not count towards engineering degree graduation requirements if they are not equivalent to those required by the engineering major.

How well will I be prepared when I transfer?

The quality of the classes and instruction at UNCW is generally very high. So far, approximately 138 students have transferred. In a recent post-2009 assessment study, approximately 95% of those students that transferred from UNCW have either graduated or are still pursuing an engineering degree at NC State. The average grade point average of those students that have transferred since 2009 is 3.02.


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