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Bachelor's in Civil Engineering with a Master's in...?

  1. Aug 18, 2015 #1

    I am new to this community and appreciate greatly any insight or guidance you may have.

    I am currently in my fifth and final year pursuing my bachelor's in civil engineering with no emphasis. I've worked full-time and part-time for the past year for a larger local firm, and will continue to work part-time until I graduate. Their intentions, as well as mine, are to get hired and work full-time as an EIT (I've already passed the FE) and get my PE as soon as possible. My future career goals are to get into project management in a larger scale, and eventually work for an even larger national or international company. With this in mind, I'm considering a Master's of Science in Engineering Management degree at a rather prestigious private school. However, I have also considered an MBA at a more local/state school, or a MS in Civil Engineering at the same local/state school. Which of these three options would blend the best with a BS in Civil Engineering for my future career goals?

    A few things to consider while contemplating:
    -The company I work for will offer tuition reimbursement (not full, but some)
    -The MSEM program will allow me to substitute some electives from their MS in CE program (which is great because I still LOVE the technical side of CE)
    -The local/state school does NOT have an MSEM program
    - If I did an MS in CE, I would choose an environmental/water emphasis, NOT structural or transportation (open to geotechnical).
    - I currently work in Land Development doing site planning, utility design, grading, etc.
    - I will be working FULL-TIME once I graduate with my BS, and pursue any of the three graduate programs PART-TIME
    - I usually don't like using this as an advantage/disadvantage, but I feel it may be helpful in deciding: I am an extremely outgoing female who has natural communication skills.

    Thank you so much in advance for any assistance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2015 #2


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    In my decades of experience as a Civil Engineer,I haven't met anyone who has gone directly from school with a BSCE and on to grad school full time for a MSEM or MBA. Most settle for the BSCE and get a job and their PE 4 or 5 years later, while some (not nearly as many) get their MSCE and then seek employment. Others to a much less extent with the BSCE or MSCE , while employed, get their MBA ( not MSEM) part time largely at the employers expense.

    Since you have a job more or less guaranteed, and your interest is not structural, I would opt to get the BS, work full time, and get the MBA part time over the next few years. It is difficult getting an MSCE part time, because it is very demanding. Just my thoughts, in the end, it is you who must decide.
  4. Aug 18, 2015 #3


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    After graduation with your bachelor's degree, you'll have to work at least 4 years under another licensed engineer before you can qualify to sit for the final PE exam.

    It might be worth your while to get some actual experience doing project work before moving onto project management.
  5. Aug 19, 2015 #4
    Thank you very much for your insight. That is ideally my plan- to achieve my master's degree part-time while working. However, my options are between an MBA or MSEM. Have you, in your experience, came across anyone with their MSEM? Or know anything of the pros and cons to such a degree?
  6. Aug 19, 2015 #5
    Thank you for taking the time to provide some advice. I understand the road to a PE will require more than a few years of working under another licensed engineer, which is why I figured working part-time grad school with full-time work will benefit me the most- I cant get my master's degree and PE license close to simultaneously. Project management is more of a long-term future goal for my career, I know it will take many years of experience before taking on that task.

    The reason I am so insistent on going to graduate school immediately after undergrad is because I understand how difficult it is to go back later on. It is especially difficult once you've become accustomed to one lifestyle, and ESPECIALLY difficult after having or wanting to start a family. I feel that the sooner the better, for me personally.
  7. Aug 19, 2015 #6


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    Well, many schools offer MBA programs for working students, so that you don't have to stop a career in order to add that extra educational credential.
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