Houston Community College-Katy adding engineering academy through partnership with University of Houston-Katy

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

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By: Jen Para - Community Impact

Katy-area students interested in becoming engineers will soon be able to take freshman and sophomore classes at Houston Community College-Katy’s new engineering academy.

HCC-Katy and the University of Houston-Katy signed a memorandum of understanding July 15 to partner and offer four-year bachelor’s degrees in engineering, HCC Northwest President Zachary Hodges confirmed. Interested students can apply for the academy beginning this fall, and courses will begin in fall 2020.

HCC-Katy will accept a cohort of 100 students into the engineering academy each semester, Hodges said. Under the partnership, freshman- and sophomore-level engineering students will be dual enrolled at HCC-Katy and UH-Katy but will pay HCC tuition.

Engineering-specific courses will be taught by UH instructors at UH-Katy, opening in mid-August at 22400 Grand Circle Blvd., Katy. All other courses—such as calculus and physics—will be at HCC-Katy.

Once these students finish the first two years of coursework at HCC-Katy, they will transition to full-time students at UH-Katy and finish their junior- and senior-level classes there to receive a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering, systems engineering, or computer engineering and analytics.

“The partnership creates more affordable and convenient pathways to a four-year engineering degree at the University of Houston,” Hodges said.

Hodges said he was unable to provide an approximate tuition cost for the engineering academy because tuition varies by specific engineering degree. However, a three-hour course costs about $523.50, according to HCC’s tuition calculator for an out-of-district student.

A similar engineering academy is located on the HCC-Spring Branch campus, Hodges said. It hosts the Texas A&M University-Chevron Engineering Academy, where engineering students co-enroll at Texas A&M for their first year or two of classwork before transitioning to full-time enrollment at Texas A&M’s College Station campus to finish the degree. HCC started this academy in fall 2015.

For students interested in attending the HCC-Katy engineering academy, application materials and qualifications will be similar to those needed for the Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy, Hodges said.

HCC-Katy’s engineering academy will help address the need for more engineers in the Katy area, said Hodges and Jay Neal, the associate vice president and chief operating officer for UH-Sugar Land and UH-Katy.

“The number I’ve worked on—and I still can’t get my mind around this—50,000 to 80,000 engineers in the Greater Houston region will be retiring,” Neal said at the July 25 Katy-Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon. “So [University of Texas, Texas A&M, Rice University, Houston Baptist University and University of Houston], we cannot produce enough. We’ve got to have engineering programs out here.”

HCC-Katy plans to relocate and expand its existing 108,500-square-foot campus at 1550 Foxlake Drive to a new 140,000-square-foot building at 228 Colonial Parkway, Katy, which is adjacent to UH-Katy’s new campus shared with UH-Victoria at Katy. Hodges said the new HCC-Katy campus is expected to open in 2022.

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