Engineering - FAQ for Prospective Students | Benedictine College

School of Engineering - FAQ

What is so important about an authentically Catholic education?

  • At Benedictine College, being Catholic informs everything we do. Benedictine’s authentic Catholic identity provides our students the opportunity to integrate their faith with all aspects of their education. We are committed to the Catholic understanding that the primary goal of education is the formation of the entire person. Our faculty endeavor to live the teachings of the Church and instruct our students how to integrate the Catholic faith with the vocation of engineering.

Do I have to transfer to the University of North Dakota?

  • Our students remain enrolled at Benedictine College on our campus for their entire undergraduate program. Students receive ABET-accredited Mechanical, Civil or Chemical Engineering degrees from Benedictine College and an ABET-accredited Electrical Engineering degree from our partner, the University of North Dakota (UND). Our students complete their UND upper-division engineering courses at Benedictine College through UND’s Distance Engineering Degree Program. Thus, our students remain at the Atchison campus throughout their undergraduate career and do not have to transfer to another school to finish their engineering degree. Furthermore, our school plans to pursue ABET-accreditation for Electrical Engineering in 2021.

How do the distance classes with UND work?

  • About 75 percent of each of our dual-degree programs is taught by Benedictine College professors without using distance education. The other one-fourth are taught via the University of North Dakota’s Distance Engineering Degree Program. These courses are generally junior- and senior-level discipline-specific engineering courses. When Benedictine College receives ABET accreditation for Electrical Engineering, students will no longer need to take UND classes.
  • There is a huge variation in the quality of distance education. The University of North Dakota is by far the leader in the field of undergraduate engineering distance education. They started their program in 1989 and they are the only university in the U.S. that offers accredited degrees in the four major engineering disciplines via distance learning.
  • For the UND distance courses, we schedule meeting times for the students, just like any other class (e.g. 9–10 a.m., MWF). All of the students enrolled in a particular distance course meet in the classroom to watch the lecture that was recorded at UND earlier that day. The UND lectures are captured using Tegrity – our students see a video of the professor, hear the lecture, and see the Powerpoint slides – exactly what the students see at UND during the class. In the Benedictine College classroom, an engineering instructor is present to take roll, answer questions, and make comments.
  • Our professors also proctor exams, teach help sessions, and are available to help students with questions about the material (and homework). The professors from UND are also available to help our students via telephone, online chat, etc. One advantage of these distance courses is that the UND lectures are available throughout the semester so our students can review them anytime and never have to miss a class due to sports, sickness, travel, etc.

How long does it take to complete your program?

  • Each of our dual-degree programs are designed to be completed in four and a half years. Because these programs generally average 16 credits/semester, they can be completed readily in five years (compared to other “four-year” engineering programs that average close to 18 credits/semester). At the end of the program our students earn an ABET-accredited engineering degree in one of the four major disciplines from Benedictine College. Moreover, they complete all of the general education requirements of Benedictine College, the hallmark of a Catholic liberal arts education.

Can I finish the degree in less than five years?

  • The length of your tenure at BC depends on various factors (AP credits, dual-credit courses, course loads, etc.). Students can work out a customized degree plan with their engineering faculty advisor.

Will my scholarship expire after four years?

  • All scholarships and financial aid offers are available for the five years that may be necessary to complete the engineering program.

What laboratory experiences do you provide for your students?

  • Our program is very “hands on.” In the second semester of the freshman year, we offer a one-credit “Introduction to Engineering Design” laboratory. We also have two semesters of laboratory in the junior year (two credits each). In addition, in almost every engineering course we teach, we require a student group project in which the students design, build, analyze, collect and analyze data, and produce a deliverable. Outside of engineering, our physics and chemistry courses are quite laboratory-intensive, and the college as a whole prides itself on its Discovery Program, that encourages student-led research projects supported by faculty.

How many summers require a trip to UND?

  • Summer laboratory sessions at UND are no longer required for the completion of an ABET-accredited engineering degree from Benedictine College. All labs are completed in the newly renovated and expanded Westerman Hall.

Are there any extra costs due to the collaboration with UND?

  • Our students pay Benedictine College tuition only and do not have to pay extra to take a UND class.

Do your students have the opportunity for cooperative education and summer internships?

  • In fact, we have had more companies seeking out our students than we have students to fill these positions. For example, in summer 2015, our students had internships with the following companies: WisDot (LaCrosse, WI), Elemental Scientific (Omaha, NE), Lennox International (Carrolton, TX), I+S Group (Algona, IA), CRB Builders (Kansas City, MO), FabCorp (Houston, TX), Burns & McDonnell (Kansas City, KS), Mortensen Construction (Chicago, IL), Noble Energy (Greeley, CO), Esign Bickford Aerospace and Defense (Simsbury, CT), Espy Corporation (Austin, TX), Environmental Dynamics International (Columbus, MO), Bartlett & West (Topeka, KS), NextEra Energy (Palo, IA), Cargill (Columbus, NE), Rockwell Collins (Cedar Rapids, IA), EFCO (Des Moines, IA), and Electroimpact (Mukilteo, WI). Moreover, because our students are enrolled at two institutions, they have access to career services offices at Benedictine College and the University of North Dakota. Thus, our students can participate in career fairs and interviewing opportunities that arise at both institutions. In addition, we travel to engineering career fairs with our students to help them seek internships, cooperative education experiences, and full-time employment.

Why is your program better than that at a typical engineering school?

  • Our program combines the strengths of attending a large state school (availability of UND ABET-accredited engineering degrees in the major disciplines, access to laboratory facilities, summer research opportunities, coop and internship connections) with those of a small liberal arts school (sense of community, access to faculty, faculty completely focused on undergraduate education, opportunities for leadership). Graduates of our program will receive two complementary degrees in addition to a complete foundation in the liberal arts - something employers value.

Will I be able to study abroad?

  • Yes! Engineering students have studied abroad in Florence and elsewhere during their time at Benedictine. Many engineering students have taken advantage of this opportunity while staying on track for graduation.
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