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Company Pays for My Masters Degree Info?

  1. Nov 23, 2007 #1
    Hi - I'm an undergrad EE thinking about graduate school: whether or not to attend after I graduate or later.

    If I go to graduate school immediately after, I will have to pay. If I get a job with a reputable company with a decent tuition assistance program, they will pay. Obviously, we know which one is the better choice.

    Now, my question is - if I get a job with a company as I mentioned above, how long will it take (average/median time) for me to be considered to attend graduate school on the company's money? Is there a general requirement?

    Also, has anyone gone through this procedure? Is it difficult to prove to your manager that you're worthy for a masters on the company's money? Any advice/stories?

    Thanks all.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 23, 2007 #2
    I can imagine the company would be in need of someone with a masters, its kind of like, well why give this guy a masters if we don't have any spots open for it?

    So if theres a demand for a person with a master's degree you'll be in luck BUT the hard part is, competing with all the other engineers who have worked longer for the company.

    My uncle got his masters after a few years but this was when Computer Science was new, not sure how EE would go about doing it, again its probably supply and demand to determine how long until you can do it.
  4. Nov 24, 2007 #3


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    I might be too cynical but in my experience they pay for a masters when you have been there 3-5 years and look like you are going to move on.
    They generally pay for part-time courses where you work in the evening and only take 1-2 days a week off. That way they still get pretty much a full workload out of you plus they get to keep you for at least another 2 years. There is often also a period afterwards when if you leave you have to repay the tuition.
    It's a very cost effective way of hanging onto experienced staff - compared to giving them a raise.
  5. Nov 24, 2007 #4
    I agree with you mgd_phys, the real world sucks! Raises are unheard of in big company's from what I've heard but only big company's are the ones that might let you get your masters.

    My manager got sent back to get his MBA and he basically takes 1 class, so it will TAKE FOREVER to get his MBA but he must stay with the company. He also has to work a full 60 hours a week.
  6. Nov 24, 2007 #5
    I have several friends in engineering (EE, ME, AE, systems eng) who are attending grad school on their company's dime, mostly young employees who just started in the company. A friend of mine just graduated with his master's in August while working full-time; it took him only two years (I believe he took two classes a semester). He started master's classes immediately after he started working. My boyfriend is taking one or two classes each semester (4 or 5 classes a full year) and it'll take him about 2 years, plus or minus a semester. He started classes the semester after he started working.

    I can think of a few other friends who also started master's classes (in one case, a second bachelor's) nearly immediately after they began working for their companies, while their companies paid for it. In a few cases, my friends took a break from classes, a semester or two off, which delayed their progress. I've heard of companies that actually allow full-semester breaks from work to allow for Ph.D. residency requirements, although I don't know how that works.

    I've not heard of anyone having trouble convincing managers to let them take classes toward a master's degree. The most they had to do was prove that the degree is relevant to their work and sign a contract saying that work takes priority over classes.

    I've never gone through the process myself, so I'm not sure where the frustration seen in the previous posts comes from. From what I've seen with at least 15 of my friends, overwhelmingly, it is possible to have a company pay for a new employee to get a master's degree in about 2 years. It it's a very common route to take.
  7. Nov 24, 2007 #6

    Dr Transport

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    I don't know of any company that gives tuition benefits for advanced education who requires minimum employment times, most alow you to go right away. They may make you stay for a certain amount of time before leaving if they pay for say a masters, but otherwise you're free to go back to school.
  8. Nov 24, 2007 #7
    Sorry for the length of this post. I was curious, so I went down a list of my friends in my head, and this is what I came up with:

    Space sciences bachelor's
    Working full-time for Northrup Grumman for about 1 year
    Taking online classes towards a master's in ME, will take about 3 years

    Computer Science bachelor's
    Working full-time for Boeing for about 2 years
    Taking online classes towards a master's in systems engineering

    ME/AE bachelor's
    Working full-time for Lockheed Martin for about 2 years
    Just graduated with her master's in AE Sciences, took classes in person, took 2 years

    Electrical & computer engineering bachelor's
    Just started working full-time at a local engineering company
    Just started taking classes for master's

    ME bachelor's, ME master's
    Working full-time for United Space Alliance for 1 year
    Taking online and in person classes for a 2nd master's in space systems engineering, will take about 2 years

    ME/AE bachelor's
    Working full-time an an energy engineering company for 2 years
    Taking classes for engineering management, will take about 3 years

    Physics and math bachelor's
    Working full-time for a NASA contractor
    Graduated 12 years later with a master's in physics, in person classes, not sure how long it took

    AE and math bachelor's
    Working full-time for Lockheed Martin for 2 years
    Taking classes for master's in ME/AE, will take 2 years

    Computer Science bachelor's
    Working full-time for NASA for 3 years
    Taking classes for master's in space systems engineering, will take about 2 years

    Electrical and computer engineering bachelor's
    Working for a local engineering company for 4 years
    On-again off-again taking classes for a master's in systems engineering, he hopes to graduate next year

    Engineering Physics bachelor's
    Working full-time for a NASA contractor for 4 years
    Taking classes for a master's in physics, will take about 3 years

    Space sciences and physics bachelor's
    Working full-time for a NASA contractor for 1 year
    Taking in person classes for a master's in space sciences

    EE bachelor's
    Working full-time for United Space Alliance for 2 years
    Graduated with a master's in space systems engineering in 2 years, online and in person classes

    I could go on, but you get the idea. It's very common.
  9. Nov 24, 2007 #8
    Wow, thank you all, especially Laura1013 and Dr Transport! Laura, you've been most helpful.

    And what I have heard is pretty much similar to what you all said - they'll let you get it right away. I guess it's one of those questions I'll be asking at the interview.
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