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Topic Title: 1st BEng vs. 2:2 MEng
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Created On: 03 March 2012 08:43 AM
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 03 March 2012 08:43 AM
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anand89

Posts: 4
Joined: 15 July 2009

Hello all,

If I had a choice between a 1st class BEng and a 2:2 MEng, which should I choose? I see a lot of employers asking for a 2:1 or higher without specifying which degree they are looking for so would the 1st BEng be more beneficial? So which is the better career option?

Also what is difference in IEng and CEng? So would it be worth going for a 2:2 MEng just to get a CEng or is it better to go for 1st BEng?

All your inputs will be greatly appreciated.

Edited: 03 March 2012 at 11:03 AM by anand89
 03 March 2012 01:09 PM
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westonpa

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Joined: 10 October 2007

If you are considering a degree then it would be better that you decide the career you want and then choose the qualification(s) required and then try to achieve the best result(s).

I suggest you take the 1st class BEng and then do an MSc and try to get a 1st in that as well.

Regards.
 03 March 2012 01:21 PM
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anand89

Posts: 4
Joined: 15 July 2009

Ok thanks, may be I did not make myself clear. I have a degree and I have a choice between a 2:2 MEng and 1st class BEng. I have completed 480 credits worth of modules. My overall score was 66% (which would generally lead to a 2:1 MEng) but due to some complications I was awarded a 2:2 (I am not going into the full long story). After an appeal I have recently been given chance to opt for a 1st class BEng instead. So I was wondering which was the best way to go for my future career prospects.

P.S: I have made a career choice too, I currently work as a Software Engineer (in area of embedded systems).
 03 March 2012 03:23 PM
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westonpa

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I do not see your issue then. Take the 2:2 MEng and keep the offer paperwork and state on your CV that the BEng part of your MEng was at 1st class. Your transcipts and offer paperwork will back up what you say.

Regards.
 03 March 2012 04:02 PM
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anand89

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Well what I am worried about is when I have a piece of paper saying 2:2 I would not get a chance to justify with my marks/transcripts. I know that my current employer would not be happy with that degree and my line manager said that I normally would not get a chance to explain myself. I am glad I acquired this job when I was at Uni, I doubt I would have the same chance if I was a new graduate searching for job with a 2:2.

Infact I lost out on PhD opportunity because of this, I even had a chance to explain myself and even then the person was not happy.

Note: I have no documentation/offer for the 1st BEng, it was over the phone. I just realized how cunning that was, as I was asked to call them to discuss my options instead of them just emailing me with the offer.

Edited: 03 March 2012 at 04:25 PM by anand89
 03 March 2012 05:14 PM
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westonpa

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You will have transcripts, by default, and from that you can work out your result for each year, for example:

Yr 1 = 2:1.
Yr 2 = 1st.
Yr 3 = 1st.
Yr 4 = 2:2.

The first three years are basically equivalent to BEng and so if you got an overall 1st for the BEng part of the study you can state that this part of your study was classed at 1st.....on your CV. I have explained many things about my qualifications at many interviews so I would disagree with what your line manager says.

If you already have an MEng then you cannot trade it in for something less and so you have to word your CV as you would want an employer to see it. With regards to worrying I would suggest you get on with your career and build some experience and then you will find your grades matter less and your experience will matter more. The grades may later make a difference to NASA but providing you avoid applying to work for them you should be ok.

Regards.
 03 March 2012 05:33 PM
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anand89

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Thanks, I take your point. Your example actually very accurately describes my situation. I donot want to seem like I am asking you to do my CV for me but how exactly would you word that I have 1st BEng? Could you please give an example?

I can't exactly claim to have 1st BEng as technically I dont have that degree... I have 2:2 MEng. I asked the University if I could have both and they said I couldnt as I did not do two degrees I did one MEng degree.
 03 March 2012 08:24 PM
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westonpa

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Under your MEng either show a simple breakdown of the overall results by year:

Yr1 = 2:1, Yr2 = 1st, Yr3 = 1st, Yr4 = 2:2

or add a Note: The first 3 years of studies which are equivalent to BEng were equivalent to 1st class.

Whilst there are guidelines on writing CV's you do not need to stick to each and every rule when you can simply say something extra which gives a better picture of your achievements rather than just saying MEng 2:2.

Good luck.
 06 March 2012 06:22 PM
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scottseedell

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Was it an integrated MEng? If not that seems an extremely unusual way of grading it. The grading of 1st, 2:1, 2:2 etc is normally only existent in an honours (bachelors) degree. Once a masters is undertaken, it is graded pass, merit or distinction from the results attained and selected grade descriptors for the award. In fact some MEng degrees are not graded at all (i.e. pass or fail). The OU being an example of this.

If what you are saying is true, I would take the 1st in the BEng all day long. You could then have the option of 'topping up' to an MEng programme and would even be able to carry over some of your best completed modules for the previous MEng. In fact, you may only have to do a minimal amount to achieve it. The problem being that universities (with the exception of distance learning) tend to charge by the year. This means that completing the module or two it would take to complete your MEng may actually cost you a full year of fees. This happened to some of the part time guys at my university.

I'm surprised your current university haven't offered this advice too but anyway, I hope this helps.

-------------------------
Scott Seedell - BSc(Hons) IEng MIET
 07 March 2012 10:50 AM
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mbirdi

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Originally posted by: scottseedell
The grading of 1st, 2:1, 2:2 etc is normally only existent in an honours (bachelors) degree. Once a masters is undertaken, it is graded pass, merit or distinction from the results attained and selected grade descriptors for the award. In fact some MEng degrees are not graded at all (i.e. pass or fail). The OU being an example of this.

A 4 year (Full-time) MEng degree is treated as an undergraduate qualification. Hence the same classification as BSc/BEng. 1 year (FT) MSc or MEng is a post graduate level qualification and grades of pass, merit and distinction are awarded accordingly.

Hope that helps.
 07 March 2012 12:46 PM
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amillar

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Personally I would take the 1st BEng - to try to explain how it is "equivalent" assumes that anyone is going to bother to read that explanation: given the average CV filter time by recruiters of about 3 seconds at the first pass you need to make your "headline" figure good.

Plus, what sort of person do you come over as if you appear to be saying "I've got a 2.2. but really it's a 1st"? (I know that's not what you're saying, but that's how it is likely to come over.)

BUT before you decide, look at job adverts (you've obviously already started) and see what they ask for: if the majority want MEng that's your decision made, or if the majority want 2.1. or higher that's your decision made the other way.

Recruiters are just looking for simple pass/fail criteria to get their pile of 100-200 cvs for each job down to 10-20. The game is getting past those criteria.

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 07 March 2012 01:22 PM
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mbirdi

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Originally posted by: amillar
Personally I would take the 1st BEng - to try to explain how it is "equivalent" assumes that anyone is going to bother to read that explanation: given the average CV filter time by recruiters of about 3 seconds at the first pass you need to make your "headline" figure good.

If recruiters are always looking for people with 1st class, then where do everyone with 2nd, 3rd etc. go to? I don't see them on life's scrapheap of unemployment. They do get a job eventually.

Secondly, how does one demonstrate being a well-educated engineer? Well not by trimming back one's academic achievement just to look like the rest of the field.

What sort of logic is it in believing that someone with a 1st on a 3 year course is better than someone with a 2nd or 3rd on a 4 year course? The guy with the 1st is a whole year behind in education.

Sorry Andy, but you seem to have gone to the 'dark side' of management. Come back to the 'good side' of engineering.

Engineers apply the fundamentals of Maths and Science to practical problem solving. So the more one has studied, the more one is educated, even if they scored a 2nd or 3rd class.

Let's not forget all those Bankers employed with their 1st class degrees were the one's who messed up the economy. It couldn't have been the guys with the 2nd and 3rd classes as they didn't get the jobs in the first place.

Edited: 07 March 2012 at 01:29 PM by mbirdi
 07 March 2012 03:11 PM
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Gruff

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Originally posted by: mbirdi
So the more one has studied, the more one is educated, even if they scored a 2nd or 3rd class.


I'm not sure I'd agree. A 2:2 puts you in the bottom third of graduates nowadays, and I would not want to have to advertise that on my CV.

We all know that a degree is absolutely not some universal indicator of the quality or calibre of an individual, but the grade achieved does give a very strong insight into the personal attributes of a candidate. Also, crucially, it's one of the most important metrics that employers use when filtering applicants during recruitment activities. A strong grade is absolutely vital if a young engineer wants to access the most interesting and rewarding opportunities.

I've spent the last couple of years in the classroom, getting my HNC/D and (almost finished!) my Mech. Eng. B.Eng. I'm an old dog now and it's been very interesting for me, a mature , internationally experienced engineer, to witness the education and performance of young undergrad students. This is going to sound harsh but a very significant proportion of them are either lazy or stupid or both. These are the guys who are indolently cruising towards 2:2 or 3rd class degrees, and I genuinely wouldn't have them anywhere near one of my sites or projects.

Leaving aside the one or two very gifted students in the group, the guys on my course who are going to graduate with firsts and upper seconds are mostly quite average individuals who simply enjoy their engineering, have a natural affinity for the discipline, and have been working their backsides off to stay at the head of the field. It's that sort of commitment that deserves acknowledgement and the best career opportunities.

It may not be entirely fair, but many employers nowadays interpret a 2:2 degree as indicating a bottom of the barrel candidate and, given my experience over the last year or two, I think that view will be justified in many cases.

I agree with scott and amillar, I'd take the first class B.Eng and then look to transfer some of that unused credit to an alternative masters course at another institute.

*edit*

Re-read this and it sounds very unsympathetic to the OP, which was not my intention! It looks to me like you worked very hard to earn yourself a 1st class engineering degree but then had some difficulties in the final year of your integrated course. I think it would be a great shame to have those difficulties mask the fine achievement of a B.Eng. 1st.

So, I'd be tempted to draw a line under that final year, take the first class degree you've earned, and transfer what credit your can from your 4th year to another masters course where you should hopefully be able to get a result more consistent with your overall ability.

Good luck!

Edited: 07 March 2012 at 03:24 PM by Gruff
 07 March 2012 03:45 PM
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mbirdi

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Originally posted by: Gruff
This is going to sound harsh but a very significant proportion of them are either lazy or stupid or both. These are the guys who are indolently cruising towards 2:2 or 3rd class degrees, and I genuinely wouldn't have them anywhere near one of my sites or projects.

Well maybe things have changed since my day back in 1885 . So I'll just have to take your word for it.
 07 March 2012 08:54 PM
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scottseedell

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I think some may be overestimating the value of the lower classifications of degree. Owing to the fact that there are fewer available jobs out there than graduates, anyone with a 2:2 has quite a slim chance of landing a good job in their field. A 3rd on the other hand; you may as well throw it in the bin. Owing to the fact that a student could do very poorly (even failing a module or two) and still get a bottom end 2:2 tells a potential employer exactly what kind of person they are dealing with when someone tells them they have achieved a 3rd. The fact that the student obviously knew they were heading towards that grade yet still did nothing to improve, also tells any prospective employer a lot.

I agree with Gruff in the fact that a surprisingly large amount of students at university are prepared to sit back and do the bare minimum and accept a 3rd, most knowing they would be virtually unemployable in the field. I think this is where maturity comes in. These students obviously have not actually sat down and worked out a career path for the future and what they need to accomplish it. I imagine most will look back with regret at their lackadaisical approach once they find they struggle to actually get a job. Maybe if the same student was taking it a few years down the line it would have been completely different.

It's not even like the classifications are entirely dependent on ability, effort is just as highly rewarded. In fact effort and understanding are synonymous at HE and improve in direct proportion. Whilst some would naturally be more gifted than others at certain topics, a large amount of effort (especially in the project modules which carry all the weight) would be recognised by the lecturer during marking. Someone on my degree actually left one exam halfway through and one of my friends heard her whisper to a friend that she had got the 40% required for a pass and as such was off home. It's plainly obvious that someone not even willing to push themselves during an exam is not going to push theirself for an employer and I would be very surprised if someone of that ilk ever finds themselves in an engineering role at all.

-------------------------
Scott Seedell - BSc(Hons) IEng MIET
 07 March 2012 09:28 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
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Originally posted by: Gruff
I've spent the last couple of years in the classroom, getting my HNC/D and (almost finished!) my Mech. Eng. B.Eng. I'm an old dog now and it's been very interesting for me, a mature , internationally experienced engineer, to witness the education and performance of young undergrad students. This is going to sound harsh but a very significant proportion of them are either lazy or stupid or both. These are the guys who are indolently cruising towards 2:2 or 3rd class degrees, and I genuinely wouldn't have them anywhere near one of my sites or projects.

Well they have their degrees at a young age and you took until you were an 'old dog' to get yours and so maybe they are not so stupid after all.

Regards.
 07 March 2012 10:12 PM
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Gruff

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Originally posted by: westonpa

Well they have their degrees at a young age and you took until you were an 'old dog' to get yours and so maybe they are not so stupid after all.


A very fair point!
 08 March 2012 11:11 AM
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mbirdi

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Dogs have feelings you know, as westonpa would say.

I wonder why graduates from the medical profession are so well educated? Does lack of motivation suggest that engineering lecturers aren't up to the job themselves? Are the exams just too easy?
 08 March 2012 01:28 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: mbirdi
I wonder why graduates from the medical profession are so well educated? Does lack of motivation suggest that engineering lecturers aren't up to the job themselves? Are the exams just too easy?


They must have the qualification in order to be a doctor, so there is the initial motivation. However let us not assume that all doctors are somehow perform at the highest levels because many people can speak about experiences which suggest they do not......they have their strengths and weaknesses as do all professions.

Regards.
 12 March 2012 04:42 PM
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promsan

Posts: 10
Joined: 25 July 2008

Originally posted by: anand89

Well what I am worried about is when I have a piece of paper saying 2:2 I would not get a chance to justify with my marks/transcripts. I know that my current employer would not be happy with that degree and my line manager said that I normally would not get a chance to explain myself. I am glad I acquired this job when I was at Uni, I doubt I would have the same chance if I was a new graduate searching for job with a 2:2.



Infact I lost out on PhD opportunity because of this, I even had a chance to explain myself and even then the person was not happy.



Note: I have no documentation/offer for the 1st BEng, it was over the phone. I just realized how cunning that was, as I was asked to call them to discuss my options instead of them just emailing me with the offer.


That last bit sounds rather shady tbh.

I know of someone who opted for BEng instead of MEng (not a result of poor marks or any complications).
They got a 1st for the BEng, then got on an MRes course (no idea if they won funding or have a rich daddy - possibly both!), they are now ona PhD at Cambridge.

Take the 1st. MEng is a poor man's MSc (literally - as who can afford to do an MSc these days unless they are the son of a Sheikh!?!).

A 1st keeps it simple for interviewers... they will assume you are brainy (most people assume people with PhDs are brainy, yet many of them are not). In addition, you've already indicated what your current employer thinks - and money talks.
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