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Housing Should Not Be a Factor in MEng Degree Decision

Housing Should Not Be a Factor in MEng Degree Decision

I read Friday's column ["Mastering an Undergrad Program," Feb. 6] suggesting that the MEng degree should be classified as an undergraduate degree, mainly because of housing concerns. While housing is an important issue, changing the classification of the MEng degree to solve that problem is not the best approach.

The MEng degree is a graduate degree because students in the program work on a research project and submit a small thesis. The degree requirements involve graduate level subjects. Many MEng students receive research assistantships or teaching assistantships which they can only receive as a graduate student. The MEng students often do an excellent job in these positions; R.A.'s assist in their laboratories and T.A.'s work hard to help students in their classes. You most likely have taken or will take a class with an MEng T.A. I am one of them.

If there is a housing concern, it should be solved within the housing system. The Office for Residence and Campus Activities and the Graduate Housing Office should come to a specific conclusion regarding a separate policy for MEng students. The policy should make the best use of the available housing space. Depending on the details discussed and the priorities which are set, possible results might include allowing them to be housed in undergraduate housing, allow them to enter one of the graduate housing lotteries, prevent them from receiving any housing at all, or it might encourage them to be matched to live in undersubscribed Independent Living Groups.

Mike Jacknis G