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Engineering Higher Studies. US vs Germany.

  1. Aug 5, 2012 #1
    So there's a lot of speculation about which Universities are better for Engineering. Whether to go to the US or to Germany?
    I am faced with a similar scenario. I am planning to do my Masters in Engineering. One side says that US education system is better for it is more versatile, and universities are well known throughout the world.
    On the other hand, no one (i'm being subjective) can every question German engineering. However, Germany has a rigid system of education and the universities are not well known.
    Being from Indian, I have 2 options, either appear for a GRE or give German proficiency tests. However I have no clue as to which of the two options I should select for I do not know anything about how education actually is in either of the two countries. I don't mind doing either, so which is better? Cheaper? More valuable in the long term? Please help.

    Side note : If I go to the USA I am thinking of pursuing a career in HVAC/R industry. If I go to Germany, it would be in automobile engineering and the like.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 7, 2012 #2
    Do you really need a University degree to have a career in HVAC/R? I thought people who designed those systems generally had a trade school background, associate degree (2 year), or learned on the job. Why would you need a 4 year degree for that?
  4. Aug 8, 2012 #3
    Uhh, no. Try again. Go to the penthouse of any large office building and tell me that designing with this stuff is "something you attend trade school" for. You can not compare these systems with stuff that a reasonably capable home-owner could fix.

    Concerning the OP: I don't know much about German schools, so I have no basis for discussing a comparison.
  5. Aug 15, 2012 #4
    You do not need German proficiency test necessarily as many programs in Germany are now offered in English language. You will need IELTS/TOEFL though.

    Germany is not only automobile. Yes autos form a major portion of German industry but it's not everything. Manufacturing machinery, energy and applied mechanics also have a good presence in Germany with many universities offering courses and many industries working on them.

    As for HVACR, I am yet to see any masters program focused only on HVACR. You will probably enter some thermofluidics course of thermal engineering course and then you can head off for HVACR. In Germany, I am yet to find any course focusing on general thermal engineering. Energy Engineering might be related so you can check out on that. For US, I have done little research but I am sure there wont be any course focused on catering your HVACR needs.
  6. Feb 23, 2013 #5
    "If I go to the USA I am thinking of pursuing a career in HVAC/R industry. If I go to Germany, it would be in automobile engineering and the like."

    This sentence is is not understood by me possibly because I am German. The USA also have good automotive courses, but yes the production chains in Germany are extraordinarily strong.

    There are something like 20,000 universities in the world, 500 of them advanced research universities found in the Top 500. The Top 30 is dominated by the USA. Regarding the whole Top 500 Germany is well off, the half of German unversities is in the Top 500 plus it has very good universities of applied sciences, not to be found in the Top 500.

    And what seperates the Top 30 from the rest of the field is often peak fundamental science which Germany does mainly in non-university institutions.

    At http://dresdentech.eu [Broken] you can see which way a German university is closely networked with for example Max Planck Society which could be transformed into a global Top 5 university over night.

    You can study computational material sciences, bioinformatics or molecular nanotechnolgy at a very selective school where the niveau cannot be compared to a no-name school which has the same names for subjects or at a less selective but respective Top 500 where you have outstanding chances to switch into every level quickly without this stress of moving across big ponds, not even streets, it all depends on your performance.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. Feb 26, 2013 #6
    The obvious advantage with the US is the English language which opens up markets across the globe from Australia to the UK. English is the language of trade and science Today. If you move to Germany you have to learn a new language to be on equal footing with German-speaking students (not to mention missing out on the social life which is a big part of the experience). In the US you start pretty much on equal footing with Americans.

    At the end of the day I'd go where you would save the most money.
  8. Feb 28, 2013 #7
    Everybody speaks English at German Universities, especially research universities, so small talk and more is no problem, but it gets an issue at more sophisticated level.

    Also, people need time to get used to the pronunciation of certain (native) speakers.

    Somebody from Pittsburgh is not understood in the beginning, but after some weeks it sounds most natural and almost German to local listeners.

    Most foreign students in Germany are from China, India, USA, eastern Europe, Russia, France, Indonesia, Turkey, UK, Spain, different in different areas.

    For demanded masters hold in English language the required English skills for admission are very low. (TOEFL 80), much higher for PhD.

    It's common experience that it gets better quickly anyway, when people are in an English speaking environment all day.

    In many subjects it's not necessary to speak German but it gets you much more sympathies when you show some interest in learning it a bit.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  9. Mar 1, 2013 #8
    Ah yes of course but in order to find a professional job I think most employers would prefer native German speakers for obvious reasons. Also with social life I meant a lot of the stuff that goes on outside of the university. Yes Germans have more than decent English in most cases but I can imagine that they are more comfortable if they can speak German so you end up missing out on the social life. I've taken German for 6 years and still have trouble understanding native speakers. Reading is fine.

    For a while there I thought you meant Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was really confused :D. Makes sense that you would have a Pittsburgh over there though since Pennsylvanians are basically all of German ancestry.

    Edit: surely your textbooks and lectures are in German, correct?
  10. Mar 1, 2013 #9
    I sometimes hire people myself for our firm and to be honest, yes, I prefer native German speakers, mainly because they are more likely to stay. We also get many applications from super-mobile intercontinental citizens which is not our thing, our firm is not so big.

    Outside the university all people under 40 speak more or less English, in other age groups significantly less, but some in all groups. Elder people had Russian as their first foreign language.

    Our English is not decent but working. You are right. Often people tend to use their native language even when foreigners are accompanying them, without even realizing.

    ... Then your German is really good. I understand almost everybody well in English but this took many springs more than six years. And it's much easier to stay fit in English. My English is limited, especially orally but also in written form, but I think it's already significantly above average.

    MY lectures and textbooks were all German and this is the standard, but there are also many master and some highly selective PhD courses offered in English, specially in highly demanded subjects, or where a certain university (and non-university research environment) excels, in my regional case biotechnologies and nanotechnologies.

    We also have a remarkable number of US students (good global Top 100) which mainly are here to improve their German, but also in Biotech.

    This (non-typical elite-) part of the university is very frequently visited by professors from Harvard Medical School, MIT, Cambridge, CalTech, I think it's important to have something like this in a middle-sized city which sees itself as cultural hotspot with global reach.

    It's relatively new to us. In micro-electronics the tradition is longer, it was the elite place for the eastern political bloc (1955-1991) in that technical area, mostly years behind IBM, but a lot of potential which kicked off in waves after the Berlin wall fell. It's now Europe's "Silicon Valley" (actually called Silicon Europe or more specific Silicon Saxony), not for far comparable needless to say, but the largest what Europe has to offer in that field. I meant Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I have a strange long-distance crush on a girl from there, nothing serious at all, I am taken, it's also good in biotech, I mean the city, it's not unlikely to meet somebody from Pittsburgh here. :-) We have 2 or 3 UN worldcity points, only London, Paris and NYC have 12.

    Automotive old school enthusiasts can google Phaeton transparent factory. The car is no longer available in Northern America but rapidly growing on low level in China. More modern BMWi8 is also made in the Free State of Saxony in southern eastern Germany as well as Porsche Cayenne, Bentley and many more.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
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