Here are some answers to your questions about why the NMITE MEng Integrated Engineering looks and operates the way it does . . .
- Why is NMITE’s degree an MEng versus a basic bachelor’s degree in engineering?
- Is an Undergraduate MEng right for me?
- Wait, how can I go from secondary education, without having studied Maths and Physics, right into an Undergraduate MEng programme – is that possible?
- Why is this degree “accelerated”?
- Is an accelerated degree really intense?
- What is Learning by Doing? How does NMITE’s degree differ from an apprenticeship?
- Why “Integrated Engineering”? What does that mean? How does that change what I’m learning and doing?
- Really? No lecture halls? No exams?
- What does Industry-Led, Community-Based mean?
Why is NMITE’s degree an MEng versus a basic bachelor’s degree in engineering?
When NMITE was conceived we were determined to put students and the organisations who would employ them at the centre of our plans and programmes. Making sure that both of these groups are satisfied is at the core of NMITE’s mission. Companies told us they want more and better engineers, and you told us you want an exciting, challenging career – whether working for those companies or building your own. Employers told us that the work they were producing, and therefore the employees they were most looking for, would be those who had more than a basic bachelor’s level of engineering knowledge. They wanted graduates with knowledge, contextual understanding, and skills including collaboration, communication and the ability to apply all of these to problems and challenges. Quite frankly, those attributes either come from a bachelor’s degree and several years of external work experience, or from an immersive, employer-engaged, multi-dimensional master’s degree programme like NMITE’s where the knowledge, contextual understanding, work experience, employability skills, and perspective are all part of the learning built into the programme.
Is an Undergraduate MEng right for me?
In addition to increasing your knowledge, skills and employability, an Undergraduate MEng degree moves you closer to the point when you can become a Chartered Engineer, may allow for quicker career progression, and may move you closer to being able to work on those projects that you are so passionate about.
Wait, how can I go from secondary education, without having studied Maths and Physics, right into an Undergraduate MEng programme – is that possible?
Throughout this site, and in all of our materials, you’ll hear that NMITE’s mission is to “broaden access” to the field of engineering. To us this means encouraging and making it possible for people who would not ordinarily consider a career in engineering to bring their talent, new perspectives, and different approaches to improve the field of engineering and the problems it can solve. Would engineering be different if more women were engineers? What if people with more creative backgrounds got involved in engineering? Different outcomes? You bet! So, we looked at what was stopping different groups of people such as these from looking at engineering as a career and we decided to do something about it. Following in the footsteps of some of the greatest engineering universities in the world (including some in the UK) who had already identified barriers to engineering, we made the decision to look at you as an individual, what you’ve studied, how you’ve studied and what you aspire to in the future. Your individuality is what we are interested in, what you can and want to bring to the table of learning, your passion, your grit, your curiosity. And yes, you will need to learn the maths necessary to be an engineer. But it is your grit, curiosity, and passion that will get you through learning the maths, particularly when we’ve got your back.
Why is this degree “accelerated”?
There’s lots of evidence that you and your generation want to get on with their lives, that you’re seeking an education that offers good value for money, and that you too (not just employers) would like to develop good employability skills and get a leg up on what it’s like to work in the real world. NMITE’s accelerated programme allows us to meet your requests in all these areas. Working 9-5 Monday through Friday for approximately 46 weeks each academic year allows you to experience what a working day/week is like. The compressed schedule delivers real value for money in terms of your time (and funds) spent on education. And finishing your three years with an MEng will catapult you forward into your career and future.
Is an accelerated degree really intense?
We’re not going to tell you NMITE’s accelerated Undergraduate MEng is not more intense than a normal degree approach. But it’s important that you think about how your days will be structured. You’ll be “working” (read learning) from 9-5, Monday to Friday. This leaves your evenings and weekends free by design. Your day learning will be spent in a varying combination of seminars and tutorials, independent research, learning activities in an engineering studio, practical tasks and projects, engagement and problem solving with teammates and employers, and general hands-on, learning by doing. These learning periods will take the form of 3.5 week-long periods we call Sprints which follow a pattern of learning and reflection. Kinda like the real world. And in three years, with your Undergraduate MEng degree in hand, your shift to the work world will simply feel like you’ve changed the venue, not the activities.
What is Learning by Doing? How does NMITE’s degree differ from an apprenticeship?
Time and again employers told us that, while they appreciated the theoretical/book learning that the UK’s universities delivered to many engineering students, there were two key elements missing to make graduates great employees. The first missing element was the ability to apply “book learning” to real, practical projects and solutions. In some cases, employers told us they’d prefer an apprentice who could “learn by doing” over a graduate for this very reason. We also know that the best way to cement the learning of concepts and theories is to apply those learnings as quickly as possible to real and tangible projects which allow you to really “see” how the theory actually works. So at NMITE, we designed a programme of learning that combines the best of both approaches – we deliver the knowledge and technical learning that you’d receive in any other accredited engineering programme in the country, at a Master’s degree level, and combine that with the critical skills you need to learn and develop so that you can apply your knowledge to real work, from day one. (The second missing element identified by employers was their concept of “employability” – we think that’s important to you too. Please see more about this in the next section – Integrated Engineering.)
Why “Integrated Engineering”? What does that mean? How does that change what I’m learning and doing?
If there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that the world isn’t getting any simpler. In each of our lifetimes, we can name dozens of things that – while perhaps more interesting and functional – have also become more complex and, well, integrated. Employers told us that “nothing they do is single disciplinary anymore.” They were clearly able to demonstrate that their work and their world are – and therefore their engineers need to be – interdisciplinary. So, what does that mean? There are actual two parts to this. First, it means that engineers from the traditional sub-categories like electrical, mechanical, civil, or materials, while still important, are now struggling to provide the best solutions to engineering challenges. Why? Because the challenges themselves have become interdisciplinary and this then requires engineers to work in teams, learn other categories of engineering, and basically broaden their engineering perspectives. But that isn’t the only thing. Employers also identified that these very same interdisciplinary engineering challenges present another problem – they include the need to grapple with topics outside of engineering like finance, sustainability, public relations, regulation, and ethics. These are topics that most graduate engineers have not been educated in and often therefore cannot consider effectively as part of solutions. Both these aspects of interdisciplinarity have become increasingly important to delivering solutions in the engineering profession in our changing world. NMITE’s MEng course has designed these topics right into our degree. As an MEng graduate, you will have understanding of many of the sub-categories of engineering (and, yes, you will likely to favour one over all the rest), and you will have studied and come to understand the wide range of topics and challenges outside the field of engineering that impact its day-to-day application. But even that’s not it at NMITE. Because within all that knowledge, in combination with learning by doing, we’re committed to also giving you significant experience with applying your knowledge and skills to collaborating with others, working in and leading teams, managing projects, and communicating in multiple mediums. A triple armoury – multi-perspective engineering, contextual grasp, and the skills and ability to deliver.
Really? No lecture halls? No exams?
That’s right. You’ll be learning in Engineering Studios, with a group of about 25 or so fellow learner engineers, and often working in smaller teams of about 5 – just like you’ll often do in the real work world. Lecture halls are great for passive learning. At NMITE we’re into learning by doing, and that’s hard to do in a lecture hall environment. And as for no exams, that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to make sure that you’re learning what you need to learn, when you need to learn it, and applying it as you approach the next topic. Our assessments take the form of in-studio quizzes, presentations and debates, display of artefacts you’ve developed and built, industrial reports, development of specifications, test reports, and project plans, creative media presentations, journal papers and ‘white papers’ and general question and answer sessions where your participation and knowledge can be assessed. Sound different? We think it sounds like what you’ll need when you’ve left NMITE and are working in the real world.
What does Industry-Led, Community-Based mean?
Life is not all about work, and neither is NMITE. Put another way, it’s probably as important to you to get a good job as it is to learn how to live in and contribute to your community. That’s why at NMITE, while our programme is built around what the world of work is saying it needs (Industry-Led), our schedule and student life are built around helping you to develop the skills and experience you need to develop work-life balance, social responsibility, and understanding what it means to live within a community (Community-Based). We’ve spoken a lot about Industry Led, but not so much about Community Based. The skills of work-life balance, social responsibility, and community living are very important to your quality of life at NMITE and in the future. Whether it’s through your participation in Community Based Sprints as part of your learning, joining teams or events, volunteering with Hereford charities, taking advantage of the surrounding countryside or restaurant scene, getting this right, and getting the right amount of this into your life, is important. You can learn more about student life, the community and the services and resources available to you in the Life @NMITE section.