Engineering Q and A

Questions and Answers

The following list of FAQs is best understood when read from start to finish, since earlier answers will help explain later ones.

1. What is the ASES degree?

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the state’s regulating body for higher education, approved the Associate of Science in Engineering Science (ASES) degree as a two-year academic degree offered by community colleges such as HCC. The primary purpose of this degree is to prepare students for a bachelor’s degree in engineering. It is a particularly advantagous to students who transfer to The University of Texas at Tyler's through the Houston Engineering Center bachelors degree program, which is located the HCC Alief-Hayes Road Campus.  All of the ASES courses fully transfer as the first two years of UT Tyler’s four-year degree. In addition, the cost is considerably lower than traditional options.

2. Where will this program be located?

Students can complete most of the courses required for the ASES degree at any HCC campus, although several of the HCC engineering courses are predominately available at the HCC Alief-Hayes Road Campus - 2811 Hayes Road, Houston TX, 77082. Since UT Tyler’s courses (for the third and fourth year) will be offered on the same campus, special services, clubs, advising, tutoring, and other opportunities will also be available there. 

3. What is the approximate cost of this program?

The approximate cost of the bachelor’s degree when started at HCC (as the ASES) and completed at UT Tyler is approximately $22,000 (In District). This makes it one of the most affordable engineering degrees anywhere. Not only is this a very low cost for a bachelor’s degree in engineering, but it is an especially good price for Houston residents who might otherwise have had to move to attend engineering school. Also, housing around the Hayes Road campus in Alief is plentiful and reasonably priced.

4. What about quality?

The bachelor’s degree that you will receive is the same ABET-accredited bachelor’s degree that students studying in Tyler receive. There is no difference. A Houston Engineering Advisory Board provides ongoing guidance and support tothe program.

Further, class sizes are smaller (typically 20-30 students per class), allowing for greater student-professor interaction and maximizing opportunities for personalized learning.

5. Will scholarships be available for students pursuing the ASES degree or with UT Tyler?

HCC scholarships are available through the HCC Foundation:

Please check the UT Tyler website regarding programs and application forms:

6. Is engineering right for me?

Of course this is a personal decision, but the HCC Academic Advisors can offer you some assistance in your choice. Visit with them at any campus location and ask to use their “career counseling” software. Advisors can also speak with you about the engineering program in general. 

One of the first courses students in the ASES program take is ENGR 1201, Introduction to Engineering. This course has two purposes. As a “student success course” it promotes good habits, traits, and skills necessary for success, as well as the information students need to make wise educational choices. Second, it promotes sound career planning. Students in this course will be better able to determine whether engineering is for them, or possibly whether they wish to pursue a related field, such as Engineering Technology (a different degree called an Associate of Applied Science, which trains students for work as an engineering technician).

In general, engineers are innovators and problem-solvers. Engineers utilize math, science, and critical thinking to remedy problems and create better and more efficient processes. They work on the cutting edge of technology, always seeking more productive solutions to society’s material problems. They work in many subfields (see #8 for UT Tyler’s program choices), such as energy and power, mechanics, industry, chemical, transportation, computer, communication, biomedical, etc., each of which has its own challenges and opportunities.

If this sounds like an exciting and fulfilling career, engineering may be for you.

7. What kinds of employment prospects exist in engineering?

Nationally, the projected growth for employment in the field of Engineering over the next 10 years is between 4% - 6%.  However, Texas hires the most engineers and the projected growth for employment in Texas is much higher ranging from 18% to 21%.  The median salary for Civil Engineers in 2018 is $86,640 annually, for Electrical engineers is $96,640 annually, and for Mechanical Engineers $87,370 annually.  Please note, the most current data on O*net is 2018 with a projection of 10 years.  We do not have data to would show an impact or curve due to the Coronavirus pandemic as it is only a few months old. 

Year after year, engineering jobs are paid the highest average starting salary.  According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, engineers have a median wage of $91,010 and the engineering field projects to have employment growth of nearly 140,000 new jobs over the next decade. 

 There are over 40 different types of engineering careers in 5 different sub disciplines.  Engineers tend to earn in excess of the national average salary and will continue in the future.  Engineering degrees make up 10 of the top 17 highest paid degrees.  Petroleum engineering candidates earn some of the highest salaries at $100,000 and higher.

 HCC Career & Job Placement Services is here to support you along your journey.  Log in to to begin.

8. When did UT Tyler start offering its classes at the HCC Alief-Hayes Road campus?

UT Tyler began offering courses in the Fall of 2013. 

9. Can I transfer to UT Tyler (or another university) with a different associate degree, such as an Associate in Arts or and Associate in Science? Why is this ASES degree advised?

Yes, but this is not the best approach. The AA and AS require the completion of the entire core curriculum (what students often call “the basics”). Because of this, some math, physics, or engineering courses may have to be delayed. The ASES delays some of the core classes, which will be taken in the third and fourth year in the process of completing the Bachelor’s degree. (The Bachelor’s degree is considered the “completion degree.”) This allows students to take the math, physics, and engineering classes earlier. This is important because these classes are prerequisites to higher level engineering courses. (A prerequisite is a class that a student must complete before enrolling in another. For example, Calculus I is a prerequisite to Calculus II.) If a student is missing these prerequisites, this may lengthen the number of semesters required to complete the degree.

Further, the first and second year classes will not be offered through UT Tyler’s upper level courses at the Houston Engineering Center.  So these courses would need to be completed in HCC’s classes anyway.

10. Will UT Tyler accept my application to enter their engineering school?

As long as a student completes an ASES with a 2.5 average and a minimum C in all classes, UT Tyler guarantees acceptance. If a student makes a grade less than C but repeats the course and scores a C or higher, the highest grade is the only one that determines GPA.

11. Shouldn’t I keep my options open by focusing on the core curriculum (in an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree) first, and then specializing later in a specific subject matter degree like the ASES?

That is an option, if a student is not clearly committed to Engineering. However, as explained above, this may lengthen the semesters required to complete an engineering degree because students will be missing pre-requisites to higher-level courses.

12. But isn’t the core curriculum (required for all academic degrees such as the Associate of Arts or Associate of Science) 43 or 53 hours? Don’t I have to complete the same core curriculum for the ASES?

No. This two-year academic degree does not require it, for reasons stated in #9. The remaining core courses will be completed in the third and fourth year in UT Tyler’s bachelor’s program (the “completion degree”). This plan has been approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

13. What if I already have finished parts of the core curriculum that are not in the ASES?

No problem, if transferring to UT Tyler. All HCC courses that are part of the UT Tyler Bachelor’s degree will be accepted by UT Tyler. This means that the additional core courses will transfer, since they are a part of their bachelor’s degree. This is true even if the total number of HCC credits exceed 66 hours, which is the normal transfer limit.

After graduating with the ASES and entering UT Tyler, most students will probably want to complete their remaining core courses at HCC anyway, due to their low cost and plentiful offerings at the HCC Alief campus. UT Tyler is not planning on offering these courses. This also brings down overall tuition costs of the bachelor’s degree.

14. What if I have already finished an Associate of Science (for example) at a non-HCC college? Or, what if I have almost have finished? Can I still get an ASES from HCC?

Yes. After transferring from your prior college all courses that are a part of the ASES degree, you would then need to complete any remaining courses that are a part of the ASES with HCC.

15. Can I substitute other classes instead of those listed in the ASES degree?

Generally speaking, no. The only possible exception would be a course taken at another school that might have a different name but that consists of the same curriculum. This would need to be approved by the HCC Transfer Office. Speak with an advisor on campus first.

16. Can I be sure that ALL of the classes in the ASES will transfer to UT Tyler?

Absolutely. The beauty of the ASES is that it tells you exactly which courses are needed for transfer to UT Tyler. There is no guess work!

17. Can I take courses out of order (for example, 2nd semester classes in the 1st semester)?

Yes, as long as all prerequisites are met. (Again, a prerequisite is a class that a student must complete before enrolling in another.) Students sometimes take courses from a future semester early because the suggested course is not available or conflicts with a personal schedule. However, the degree plan’s suggested order is strongly recommended for a variety of reasons. Be sure to check the course catalog for course descriptions, which will list any needed prerequisites. Taking a course before completing a prerequisite is a recipe for failure.

18. Do I have to be a full-time student at HCC to complete an ASES?

No, you can take courses on a part-time basis. It is better to be realistic about your course load–especially if you are working–and be successful, than to overload yourself and fail. It’s important to remember that this coursework is not primarily about getting a passing grade, but about learning the skills and habits that will make you successful in the Bachelor’s program, not to mention in your career as an engineer.

19. Do I have to be an HCC transfer student to attend UT Tyler at Alief-Hayes Road?

No. However, it may be a better choice, because UT Tyler and HCC will be well-integrated at the Hayes Road campus, with joint teaching, clubs, tutoring, special events, etc. If you complete your ASES at HCC, you can expect a seamless transfer to UT Tyler.

20. Can I transfer my ASES degree from HCC to a university other than UT Tyler to study engineering?

Yes, because this program has been approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, several universities are currently accepting the ASES as the first part of their bachelor’s degrees. Yet other non-accepting universities may accept most or all of the courses in the degree. However, to be certain, we strongly recommend UT Tyler at Hayes Road for HCC ASES graduates.