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Mechanical Eng - BS vs. BSME?

SimpleLifeSimpleLife Posts: 2,215Registered User Senior Member
edited February 2010 in Engineering Majors
My son, a high school junior, is looking at engineering schools. We noticed that some of them advertise a BS degree and some advertise a BSME degree. Are these two different things, or are they the same thing? I have a son who is a music major. For what he's trying to do, there's a significant difference between a BA degree in music and a BM degree. It would be a mistake to choose the BA over the BM for his purposes. But music college websites address that difference. So far, we haven't found an engineering college website that addresses the topic of BS vs. BSME. We have seen some articles on the difference between BSMET and BSME. But what about BS vs BSME? Is one more specialized than the other? Is there any difference at all? Thanks!
Post edited by SimpleLife on

Replies to: Mechanical Eng - BS vs. BSME?

  • G.P.BurdellG.P.Burdell Posts: 2,294User Awaiting Email Confirmation Senior Member
    Fundamentally, what you asking about is a designated vs. undesignated degree. A BSME (Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering) is a designated degree in the field of mechanical engineering. A BS (Bachelor of Science) is an undesignated degree in engineering. You might want to double check with the school since sometimes people use the phrases (incorrectly) interchangeably.

    -Why have a BS instead of BSME?-
    To be an BSME program, there are specific courses that must be offered, both in general engineering and specifically in mechanical engineering. To be a BS program, you just need to meet the general engineering requirements. So why would a school offer a BS instead of a BSME? Often because the school's program is interdisciplinary. For example, if they wanted to offer a hybrid between Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering that was neither Mechanical nor Aerospace, they might offer a BS. Another example is if they want to offer a degree in a specialization that is not accredited as a field (e.g. Purdue has Multidisciplinary Engineering, several schools offer Optical Engineering, Auburn has Wireless Engineering, Georgia Tech has Health Care Systems Engineering, etc).

    -Does it matter in hiring?-
    Generally, no. If the BS degree is accredited by ABET-EAC, the person can still be licensed. Also, companies don't really care. You list your information as a Bachelor of Science then "Major: Mechanical Engineering". Even if you have a BSME, you might list it like that. The more important thing is the school attended.

    -A caveat-
    If BSME and BS students are graduating from the same school, you will want to know why. Check the curriculum to see the difference, contact the career services center to get the salaries, companies hiring, and jobs/student to make sure they are the same.
  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife Posts: 2,215Registered User Senior Member
    ^^ Thanks again, GP!

    Once again, very helpful!
  • cyclone10cyclone10 Posts: 400Registered User Member
    hmm...so how do you know if you have a BSME or a B.S. in mechanical engineering??
  • G.P.BurdellG.P.Burdell Posts: 2,294User Awaiting Email Confirmation Senior Member
    Does your diploma say "Bachelor of Science" or "Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering"?
  • cyclone10cyclone10 Posts: 400Registered User Member
    this is interesting, I'm a senior so no diploma but my degree information on accessplus says

    "Degree Program"
    E M E B

    "Program title"
    Mechanical Engineering
    Bachelor of Science

    haha I'm hesitant to put EMEB on my resume though...I don't know what that is

    the abet evaluation thing says bachelor of science in Mechanical Engineering
  • toblintoblin Posts: 1,862Registered User Senior Member
    Does ABET utilize different criteria for certifying BS (in ME) and BSME degree programs?
  • G.P.BurdellG.P.Burdell Posts: 2,294User Awaiting Email Confirmation Senior Member
    It's not "BS (in ME)" and BSME. It's "BS" and "BSME". The BSME is a BS in Mechanical Engineering. The phrase "in Mechanical Engineering" is part of the degree title. It's like how "University of California" and "University of California, Berkeley" are two different things. The first is a system of colleges throughout California and the second is a specific campus. Similarly a "Bachelor of Science" from an engineering college is a general qualification in engineering, whereas a "Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering" is a specific qualification in Mechanical Engineering.

    Before everyone gets in a tizzy over this fact, it's really not a big deal. If your school offers a BS and that BS happens to involve Mechanical Engineering courses and it's taught in the mechanical engineering department, for all intents and purposes, it's exactly the same as a BSME or an MEAB or ABME or whatever your school wants to call it. The only time I would be suspicious is if your school has a BSME AND an undesignated BS.

    Will it impact your career? No. Think about these two things on a resume:

    Undergraduate: University of California, Berkeley

    and

    Undergraduate: University of California
    Location: Berkeley, California

    Would you view these two things differently? It's the same thing:

    Degree: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

    vs.

    Degree: Bachelor of Science
    Major: Mechanical Engineering

    No difference. Again, the only real concern is if there are multiple degrees being offered by the same department (the most common case is a BSME and a BA, which are very different degrees).
    Does ABET utilize different criteria for certifying BS (in ME) and BSME degree programs?

    Maybe. A BS can be certified in mechanical engineering or as General Engineering. Every state I've been in has only required an ABET-EAC degree, so the accreditation criteria shouldn't matter.
  • toblintoblin Posts: 1,862Registered User Senior Member
    Sorry, but I’m smelling a stinky here. ABET certifies only specific degree programs. ABET does not recognize any engineering program with only a mere concentration within a general engineering degree. It’s like saying: “I have a ChemE degree from, (fill in the college name), because I took allot of electives pertaining to ChemE”.

    ABET will not certify an engineering program that does not exist.
  • G.P.BurdellG.P.Burdell Posts: 2,294User Awaiting Email Confirmation Senior Member
    ABET has a "general criteria" category for engineering programs. They also accredit "Engineering". For example, Mercer University is accredited to offer an undesignated engineering BSE. Within that BSE, students can choose concentrations, including Mechanical Engineering. So a student graduating that program would receive a "Bachelor of Science in Engineering" but the student's major would be "Mechanical Engineering". Similarly, an Electrical Engineer would receive a "Bachelor of Science in Engineering" but with a major of "Electrical Engineering". The two students have identical degrees but have different qualifications.

    Mercer is actually an interesting case because they have two degrees: the Undesignated BSE which is ABET-EAC accredited and the unaccredited BS degree. So you could have two students both graduate from Mercer with majors of Industrial Engineering. One student could have a BSE and one could have a BS. The BSE student would be accredited and the BS would not be (by ABET at least).
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