PhDs in Engineering?


by GrantAPowell
Tags: college, degrees, engineering, ph.d., phds
GrantAPowell
GrantAPowell is offline
#1
Sep28-13, 11:20 PM
P: 4
Are Ph. Ds in engineering worth it? I don't want to teach at a college, so that isn't what I am going for, but in general, in the field of engineering, are they worth it?
Phys.Org News Partner Science news on Phys.org
Cougars' diverse diet helped them survive the Pleistocene mass extinction
Cyber risks can cause disruption on scale of 2008 crisis, study says
Mantis shrimp stronger than airplanes
SteamKing
SteamKing is offline
#2
Sep29-13, 01:05 AM
HW Helper
Thanks
P: 5,578
It depends on what you want to do. To practice engineering, an undergraduate degree is sufficient. If you want to teach engineering, you would probably need at least a master's degree, depending on the institution. If you want to do research in an engineering field, then probably a graduate degree would be required, depending on where and for whom you would do the research.

You must realize that the graduate degrees require you to take advanced courses in engineering topics and math which are typically not covered in the undergraduate curriculum. The advanced degree is not just a way for the university to suck additional money from the grad student.
rollingstein
rollingstein is offline
#3
Sep29-13, 02:09 AM
P: 305
Quote Quote by SteamKing View Post
The advanced degree is not just a way for the university to suck additional money from the grad student.
Besides, in Engineering & at good universities the direction of money transfer is often from university to student. You get fairly decent stipends, though never as good as a "real" job.

UltrafastPED
UltrafastPED is offline
#4
Sep29-13, 03:05 AM
Thanks
P: 1,338

PhDs in Engineering?


I know quite a few people with an engineering PhD who don't teach ... and most have never taught.

They are mostly research engineers working at high-tech companies (lasers, solid state, mathematical modelling, etc), but a few lead advanced engineering projects for industrial companies. I worked with several at the Ford Scientific Research Laboratory when I was doing controls work.

They were all very knowledgeable, focused, and hard working.

And if you are accepted directly into an engineering PhD program your tuition and fees are paid for, plus you get a stipend which is enough to live on. If your scores are quite good enough they will accept you for an MS, which you must pay for, and then if you do well your research adviser will fund your PhD.
boneh3ad
boneh3ad is offline
#5
Sep29-13, 07:17 AM
boneh3ad's Avatar
P: 1,443
You absolutely need a PhD to teach anywhere reputable, but that's not what a PhD is solely good for, and the vast minority of PhDs end up teaching.

The real purpose is to get into research. You can do that with a MS but unless you have that PhD, you won't easily get into any sort of leadership position doing research.

Also keep in mind that a PhD is not a financial payoff. They don't make appreciably more than those with an MS and they are a ton of work, so don't go into it for money. That's a recipe for failure, and you'll be sorely disappointed.
D H
D H is online now
#6
Sep29-13, 09:30 AM
Mentor
P: 14,467
Quote Quote by boneh3ad View Post
You absolutely need a PhD to teach anywhere reputable, but that's not what a PhD is solely good for, and the vast minority of PhDs end up teaching.
I suspect it's the other way around: The vast majority of engineering PhDs end up *not* teaching, no different than any other technical field. The same mathematics that makes so many HEP physicists complain at this site about not being able to get a job in academia applies to engineering. Tenured professors supervise ten or so PhD candidates over the course of their career. Only one is needed as a replacement. Another one *might* get a career in academia due to the growth of academia. The other eight or so? They don't get a job in academia. They have to look to government and industry for employment.

There's a big difference between those HEP physics PhDs and the typical engineering PhD. Industry gobbles up members of the latter group. Industry needs those engineering PhDs to develop new ideas, lead projects, and climb the technical or management ladder. The CEOs of technical companies are rather heavily biased toward PhD engineers. The CTO (chief technology officer) is even more likely to be a PhD engineer.
boneh3ad
boneh3ad is offline
#7
Sep29-13, 09:35 AM
boneh3ad's Avatar
P: 1,443
Quote Quote by D H View Post
I suspect it's the other way around: The vast majority of engineering PhDs end up *not* teaching, no different than any other technical field.
I suspect you misread my post, as this is exactly what I said.
D H
D H is online now
#8
Sep29-13, 09:37 AM
Mentor
P: 14,467
You're right. I misread your "vast minority" as "vast majority".
boneh3ad
boneh3ad is offline
#9
Sep29-13, 09:41 AM
boneh3ad's Avatar
P: 1,443
Quote Quote by D H View Post
You're right. I misread your "vast minority" as "vast majority".
I'm tricky like that.
Windadct
Windadct is offline
#10
Oct10-13, 01:41 PM
P: 534
thats the vas deferens
rollingstein
rollingstein is offline
#11
Oct10-13, 10:37 PM
P: 305
Quote Quote by Windadct View Post
thats the vas deferens
Why bring in reproduction?
TheKracken
TheKracken is online now
#12
Oct10-13, 10:54 PM
P: 231
My community college physics professor and dean is a P.h.d in Mechanical Engineering


Register to reply

Related Discussions
Questions Regarding Engineering PhDs Career Guidance 4
No more PhDs? Academic Guidance 21
2 phds? Academic Guidance 47
6 PhDs up, 6 PhDs down General Discussion 26
PhDs in the UK Academic Guidance 1