1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Does how long you took to earn your degree matter? Masters Worth it?

  1. May 31, 2012 #1
    Would a employer care how long it took me to earn my bachelors?

    When hiring managers look at my resume the are able to tell how long it took me to earn my degree.

    Some people finish their degree in 3 years, some 4, some 5. Does it matter? If I took 5 years to earn my degree and took only like 12 credits a semester I would have a very high GPA. I guess the most typical is 4 years to a earn a bachelors. I would like to finish off my degree in 3 years and save several thousand dollars, that's never a bad thing. How would this be looked upon by employers? I guess employers have no idea if I took courses over winter break or summer break and this information that can be kept hidden from employers.

    Certainly someone who took 5 years to earn their degree did a lot less work in the same time span as someone who finished off their degree in 3 or 4, but does it even matter to employers?

    Also would you say pursing a masters is worth it? I plan on earning a B.S. in electrical engineering and am considering pursing a masters. I have been told that it is by no means a good economic decision for a middle class person to pursue a masters right away out of college. I've told this to my advisers and other people and they claim there are ways to earn your masters with assitenitships and such, even for someone like myself who makes up the most represented group in the academy in the U.S. (but I seriously doubt it). I feel as if I would be doing all my hard work a great disservice by not pursing a masters. I would have to pay every single penny (no help from family) to earn a masters. As of right now I'm going to finish off my B.S. without any debt, I have to work nearly full time every semester to have enough money to do so though. I'm not really concerned about the extra work load and not getting out of college tell a couple years later, I've worked hard all my life and could care less about being perhaps being socially behind those who don't pursue a higher degree and are all on their own in the real world sooner than I am. I guess suposively (although I have no experience to know for sure) you earn more money in a entry level position with a masters than with a B.S.? Is it worth it though?

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 31, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Potential employers generally care whether or not you are lazy. For the most part it does not matter how long it took you to complete your education, becaue individual circumstances vary from person to person. Someone who takes 6 years to complete a degree because she had to work a part-time job and balance it with competative athletics and did volunteer work is not going to be seen as lazy. Someone who does absolutely nothing in addition to coursework and has no other mitigating factors (such as a health issue), but stretches it out over the same period may be perceived as lazy.

    On average a master's degree will increase your earning potential. However, to really answer the question you may want to consider your career-integrated earnings rather than simple annual salary. This is the best way to figure out if the two additional years of school are worth it. Of course, you should also factor in the doors that a master's degree might open up. Sometimes money isn't everything.
  4. Jun 1, 2012 #3
    I agree with Choppy that if you took longer than most for your BS but you did internships or volunteer work or had a part-time job it wouldn't be a problem at all. Not even considered.

    As for the Master's degree, it really does depend on what area you want to work in. In design engineering, for better or for worse, the Master's is pretty much the entry level degree these days. You can probably get your money back from a master's (with increased salary, since you will be promoted sooner) in 5 - 10 years (depending on if you got your fees paid by the school). I think for most people, getting a Master's in engineering makes sense. It does open up doors, and with the cold wind blowing right now, I'd try to open every door you can!

    In the end though, this is only a question you can answer for yourself. That said, a Master's degree is valuable.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook