New engineering associate degree offered this fall

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College will offer an associate degree in engineering beginning in the fall 2021 semester, making that degree more affordable to students.

NMC’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the new degree at Monday night’s Board of Trustees meeting. It builds upon work NMC has already done to smooth transfer pathways for engineering students, particularly with Michigan Technological University. It also enables students to qualify for federal financial aid for the higher number of credits — 73 instead of 58— required by four-year universities to transfer with junior status.

“This new degree better reflects the curricular needs of our pre-engineering students,” said vice president for Academic Affairs Stephen Siciliano.

Engineering instructor Jay Smith said the new degree is another way NMC offers value to students.

“Our program allows students to enter most engineering programs with full junior-level status, which represents a tremendous cost savings in addition to the benefits of staying close to home and having much more one-on-one interaction with their instructors,” Smith said, noting NMC’s average class size is 20 students.

In addition to the financial benefits, the new associate degree also provides tangible evidence of a student’s accomplishments on the road to a bachelor’s degree in engineering. This can be particularly helpful for students who need to take time off from college before completing their bachelor’s, allowing them access to engineering-related positions minimally requiring an associate degree.

Michigan has the third-highest level of engineering employment in the United States, paying a mean average wage of $86,000 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Engineering is a STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and consistently pays higher than average entry-level wages.

“The future is STEM, and those jobs are growing quickly, especially in this region,” said Science Department Chairman Jerry Dobek, noting that Camp Pugsley south of Kingsley is in the running as the location of the Michigan Space Launch Command Center.

Read more about NMC’s engineering program. NMC also offers an engineering technology degree.


Release date: January 26, 2021

For more information:

Dr. Gerald O. Dobek, FRAS
Sciences Department Chair
(231) 995-1271 (office)
(231) 342-4545 (mobile)


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.