San Jacinto College, UT Tyler partnership called a win-win for engineering students

03.24.2014 | By Rob Vanya

CAPTION: San Jacinto College has entered into an agreement with the University of Texas at Tyler Houston Engineering Center that will provide pathways for students to earn baccalaureate degrees in selected fields of engineering. The collaboration will provide opportunities for San Jacinto College engineering and math students, such as Miguel Rosales and Darby Macha (photo above), an affordable local option for obtaining training in lucrative engineering fields of study. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.

The San Jacinto College Board of Trustees meeting has approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement with the University of Texas (UT) at Tyler Houston Engineering Center designed to offer pathways for students to earn baccalaureate degrees in selected fields of engineering.

In the agreement, the two institutions aim to create seamless transitions for San Jacinto College students and graduates seeking Bachelor of Science degrees in civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. UT at Tyler will provide upper division engineering course work at its Houston Engineering Center, located at the Alief Campus in west Houston. According to the agreement, transferring students must complete all lower division engineering, math, and science course work with an overall grade point average of at least 2.5 at San Jacinto College.

The partnering colleges will collaborate to develop and offer engineering courses at both institutions to enhance student preparedness for completion of engineering degrees taught at the UT at Tyler Houston Engineering Center.

According to Dr. Catherine O’Brien, San Jacinto College’s associate vice chancellor for learning, the MOU will open opportunities for students pursuing careers in high-demand and engineering fields.

“This partnership will provide seamless transfers for students interested in engineering career fields to a highly respected university that has a convenient local presence,” she commented. “There is a critical need in our nation and in the local area for well trained engineers, and we are glad to launch such a win-win collaboration to help prepare graduates for these important and lucrative careers.” 

Dr. James Nelson, dean of engineering and computer science at UT at Tyler, says the partnership will indeed be a win-win for both institutions, and especially for students. “A key advantage for students will be in cost savings,” he commented. “The cost for a student to earn an engineering baccalaureate degree by attending San Jacinto College, and then transferring to the UT Tyler Houston Engineering Center, will be approximately $20,000 (tuition and fees). That’s approximately 40 to 50 percent less than what a similar degree costs at many other universities in Texas.”

Nelson says the return on investment for an engineering degree is very good. “A student who earns an engineering degree through the San Jacinto College and UT at Tyler partnership will find it generally pays off, because the starting annual salary of many entry-level engineers is around $60,000,” he said. “That means the cost of the education is only about one-third of the starting salary of one year.”

Finding an engineering job should not be difficult for graduates because of projected high demand in coming years. According to a recent study by the University of Texas system’s Task Force on Engineering Education for Texas in the 21st Century, Texas will need an additional 88,000 more engineers by the year 2025. The high demand will be due to the ongoing expansion of the oil and gas industry. “Obviously an expanding oil and gas industry creates a demand for petroleum engineers,” Nelson said. “But an expanding oil and gas industry also creates demand for civil, mechanical, chemical, structural, and electrical engineers to help provide the needed infrastructure.”

The Houston region ranks among the best places in the nation in regards to the availability of engineering jobs. According to an October 2013 article in Forbes magazine, the Houston metropolitan area ranks second only to Silicon Valley in the proportion of engineers in the workforce.


About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

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