How important is graduate school for engineers? I know in most cases engineers should be able to find a job with an undergraduate degree because of the amount of knowledge we acquire in school and how practical our degree is. Typically in our undergrad we take much more courses than other faculties in the span of four to five years. Many people choose to go work and start their career rather than go back to school for another two to five years.
I graduated with a nanotechnology degree in electrical engineering so I find it a lot harder to find jobs that are tailored for my option. Furthermore, most the jobs that are posted that fit my field of study typically requires a masters degree or even a PhD. I have been thinking of going back to school to do my masters, but I am not sure what field of study I want to go into now though. I have been looking at the different things I could study and there are a lot of options!
As well, in Canada when you do a masters you can take two different routes! Masters of Engineering or Masters of Applied Science. What makes them different is one is mostly course work and a small project based. The other (Masters of Applied Science)is thesis based and a lot less courses are taken. Another important factor to point out is you can only do your PhD if you do a Masters of Applied Science. There are exceptions to that though. At my school if you do a Masters of Engineering you can switch into the Masters of Applied Science program before hitting the one year mark in the program. Another thing is if you go into a Masters of Applied Science you can receive funding from your supervisor for your tuition and living expenses, but if you go into the Masters of Engineering program you receive no funding. Typically the tuition fee is much higher in the MEng program.
Here are some of the options I have considered:
I could apply for the Masters of Applied Science program in nanotechnology and learn more about carbon nanotubes and semiconductor devices. Some of my research interests would be working on solar devices and creating solar cells that would have a high efficiency to low cost ratio. I am not sure if I would want to continue this path though, because of the job market.
I could apply for the Masters of Engineering in electrical engineering and take some courses I didn't get to take in my undergrad. I could take more power courses such as Power System Analysis, Advanced Power System Analysis and Advanced Power System Control and Dynamics. This path would be a 180 turn for me. I am a lot more interested in this direction because of the job prospects and how practical this stuff is.
Masters of Engineering in clean energy. In this program I could take many courses that will help lead me on a career path to clean and renewable energy. This path is interesting because I could learn about alternative energy technologies and thermal energy systems.
Anyways I still haven't applied for graduate school yet. I already missed the deadline for September of 2013. I emailed the admissions and they said I still have a chance of making it. As well, I don't know how competitive the grades will be this year so I don't even know if I will get in. I also finally got confirmation from all my professors who will write a reference for me when I do apply to grad school. Hopefully I get into grad school and make the right choice in choosing what kind of education I want.
Are you a graduate student in engineering? Have you considered going to grad school? Did you start working after you finished your undergrad and then decided to go back to school? What do you think of grad school? Leave a comment below on your thoughts!