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How long does it take to graduate with mechanical engineering BS from SLO

SharonBSharonB Posts: 4Registered User New Member
edited March 2011 in Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
My daughter was just accepted to SLO in mechanical engineering. In evaluating which university would work best for her, I would like to know how many years it takes to graduate with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. I read on the SLO official website that only 25% of students graduate after four years. Should she expect to attend for five years? six years?
Post edited by SharonB on

Replies to: How long does it take to graduate with mechanical engineering BS from SLO

  • fermiumfermium Posts: 83- Junior Member
    5 years if she is like most students. 4.1 to 4.5 if she is a rock star scholar.

    The issue with CP engineering is that they require soooo many labs in addition to lecture classes. It is simply a massive number of units require for engineering.

    Also, the school is academically challenging thus precluding students from taking a large number of engineering classes concurrently.
  • SharonBSharonB Posts: 4Registered User New Member
    Thanks, Fermium!
  • vballmomvballmom Posts: 3,132Super Moderator Senior Member
    Whether your D can graduate in 4 years really depends on how well prepared she is going in. Have your D take a look at the ME flowchart here:

    Advising Information - Current Students - Mechanical Engineering - Cal Poly

    Has she taken Calc BC? AP Physics? AP Chem? Those courses will determine what level she can start out at in her first year. For example, if she's doing very well in Calc BC, she could probably start with Math 143. If she's doing well in Physics AP, she could start with Phys 133. She might be able to test out of Chem 124. If she can skip a course or two in math & physics in her first 2 quarters, and take the next in the sequence instead, then she'll be well ahead of the game.

    It's not as easy to take courses outside of their regularly-scheduled quarter, but there are always at least 1-2 sections offered so it's still possible.

    Worst case she could take a general elective at a local community college over the summer or even online if she falls behind in GEs.

    If she keeps her eye on the curriculum flowchart, is well-prepared, and works hard, I think chances are good that she can graduate in 4 years.
  • RezaReza Posts: 65Registered User Junior Member
    I would plan on 5 yrs. As mentioned above, the Engineering classes are quite challenging. Be careful how many Engineering/Math courses you schedule per Quarter unless you want to absolutely work your tail off, or settle for a low GPA. I have seen CalPoly turn High School "A +" Honor students, National Merit Finalists, etc into B- students ,or worse, in no time. And, with the budget situation the number of class sections offered per Quarter is becoming ever more limited.
  • vballmomvballmom Posts: 3,132Super Moderator Senior Member
    Reza can you give some details on your experience? Will you graduate in 5 years? What do you think the biggest factor is for not graduating in 4 years? Did you enter Cal Poly with AP credits and/or start in the more advanced math & physics courses? Were you taking 16-18 credits/quarter? Were you able to get the classes you needed?

    Thanks!
  • HPuck35HPuck35 Posts: 1,079Registered User Senior Member
    My son will be graduating with a BS in ME this coming June. It will have taken him 5 years. The student/parent/department meeting that was held during the first weekend of WOW week, the question was asked of the department head; how many graduate in 4 years? Answer 15%. He did go on to say that 85% graduate after 4 years and 2 quarters.

    Not sure if his answer holds now. You must do a senior project and it lasts an entire year and must be started in September (or so my son has told me). He did not have all the prerequisits done at the beginning of his 4th year, so 5 it is. (He is taking a full load his last quarter, but only needs to finish his senior project to complete the BS requirements. The other courses are ones in his field of specialty and ones that he believes will be usefull to him in his career; so he isn't wasting his time.)

    He had the most trouble getting into the first of a sequence of classes. Once you got past the first one, it acted as a flow valve and the rest of the sequence was good to go. CA budget issues are only going to make this worse, not better IMHO.

    My son started Cal Poly with a bunch of AP credit and still wound up on the 5 year plan.

    Cal Poly isn't the only school with this problem. His other school that he was interested in was UC Davis, and they had the same issue. There are web sites out there that will give the 4, 5 and 6 year grad rates. A lot of schools have issues with the 4 year rate.
  • vballmomvballmom Posts: 3,132Super Moderator Senior Member
    Thanks for chiming in, HPuck.

    I admit that I don't know a lot about the ME curriculum. My son started as EE and changed to CPE. He's a 2nd year student this year and is well on track to graduate in 4 years. He started in Math 143 and Phys 133. He took all engineering courses this past quarter, no GEs. He'll have to catch up on GEs this spring quarter. He's taken 16-19 credits every quarter so far.

    CPE and CS students who have to repeat the first couple of programming courses have a tough time staying on track. These are typically students who didn't do any programming in high school or in summer computer camps.
  • universityfreakuniversityfreak Posts: 85Registered User Junior Member
    My son is a first year EE student. So far, he is on track to graduate in 4 years, but he is only a freshman. However, he did start in Calc 3 and had AP English, and a couple of community college GE courses under his belt. From what I have heard, the biggest problem for the engineering majors is is trying to fit in all of those time consuming labs while keeping a decent GPA. Many kids opt to take it a bit slower, but so far, my son is intent on getting out in 4 years.
  • Ricardo1993Ricardo1993 Posts: 43Registered User Junior Member
    wow cal poly sounds really riggooorrrroouusssss!!!!! but im up for the challenge! for all you engineering students, do you guys have any free time? as in, going hiking, beach, basketball, football, golf (for me), or any recreation time? do any of u guys play video games? (any time for that either?)
  • ParentalUnit58ParentalUnit58 Posts: 97Registered User Junior Member
    My son is a freshman ME student. At SOAR, the student parent pre-orientation event, the administration for engineering met with parents while the students were working on their schedules with advisors. They made it fairly clear that most people take five years to graduate. The issues seemed to be more of scheduling a feasible set of classes each quarter and achieving balance, rather than merely having trouble getting the classes needed. The total number of units for ME is nearly 200. If students can take summer classes for certain GEs, I understand they can speed up the process, as better described by some of the students on this board. I am a university professor in a state institution (not in CA) and it is apparently common here to take five years to graduate, regardless of major.
  • VentureManVentureMan Posts: 255Registered User Junior Member
    We toured CP in November... the guides were Mech Eng and Bio Eng students. They said realistically, most students can complete their classes in 4 years and 1 quarter, providing they don't have any issues getting their classes. Of course, some manage summer school to get out in 4 years, but that's not the norm.
  • RezaReza Posts: 65Registered User Junior Member
    By VBallMom:
    Reza can you give some details on your experience? Will you graduate in 5 years? What do you think the biggest factor is for not graduating in 4 years? Did you enter Cal Poly with AP credits and/or start in the more advanced math & physics courses? Were you taking 16-18 credits/quarter? Were you able to get the classes you needed?




    VBallmom;
    I got credit for 5 AP courses as I recall. I took some way off track courses just for my own interest. 2 Foreign language courses, a couple Geology courses, etc And I admit some quarters I only had 14 unit load of classes. So, I am probably not a good example of what it takes to graduate in 4 yrs. I will do 5 yrs. Its OK with me. My own decision. However, I don know some people who really wanted to get out in 4 yrs...and couldnt do it. Some had to repeat a few Engineering classes due to poor grades. Some couldnt get pre-reqs and got thrown off schedule, etc. I suppose 4 yrs is possible if you carry a heavy load and follow the plan exactly.
  • hhhhhhhhh111hhhhhhhhh111 Posts: 222Registered User Junior Member
    ME is intense. If you compare their flowchart with GENE, BMED, or IME you will notice that they have more classes. Many of these classes are listed as 1-2 units rather than 3-4. This does NOT mean that they are easier or require less commitment. Personally, the classes I struggled the most in were 3 unit ME courses.

    Five years sounds about right to me, accounting for summer classes and a failed course here or there. The flowchart for four years sans summer quarter just isn't realistic.
  • PolyGirl12PolyGirl12 Posts: 28Registered User New Member
    I'd plan on 5, but if she plans well, we'll be okay. The program is 13 quarters, so 4 years and an extra quarter. My boyfriend will be graduating in 4, and he didn't come in with an insane amount of AP credits or anything. A few summer classes at community college to cover some GEs helped, and he just stayed on top of his classes and didn't fail anything.

    To Ricardo, yeah, a lot of them have free time and still get good grades! It's all about good time management. :) Good luck everyone!
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