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Freaking out! No Paid Master's Programs!

  1. Nov 19, 2011 #1
    I'm an electrical engineering student, and it's my senior year, and I'd like to continue with my education and obtain a Master's degree, particularly in controls and maybe DSP. I have a 3.53/4.0 . It should be around a 3.6X but I attempted to take 23 credits one semester and got a ~2.9. I suppose this atleast shows I'm ambitious.

    I've recently discovered that only PhD students really get the funding and tuition waivers to advance in their education. Now, this sucks for me. I don't think I could hold out and get a PhD only because I don't want to be 30 years old by the time I finish my education. I'm also not sure I'm cut out to do research for years on end. I was in an REU, which was all right, but I felt like I was sort of doing a sort of busywork project that had all ready been accomplished. Of course, this could have been because I was still and undergraduate and the REU was really more about the 'research experience' than to contributing to the already-existing body of knowledge, but again I don't know.

    POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS (and what makes me hesitant to jump at these solutions):
    1) Apply as a PhD Student...... I don't think I have the GPA or that I would be able to find the recommendations letters. Most PhD students had 3.7 or higher GPA's in undergrad and just seem a bit smarter than me. I also don't think I could find could people for rec letters.

    2) Pay for a Master's...... I don't want to add on to my all ready 40-50K of debt, although perhaps it would be worth it. Not sure... I also don't think my dad would support more school that costs money... since he's been helping me financially to keep it to ONLY 40K-50K...

    3) Get a job... I feel like I won't get my questions answered. I want to keep learning! I'm sick of two things in undergraduate electrical engineering classes.....No noise (i.e. perfect information) and linearity (e.g. "we can approximate this system as a 3rd order linear, laplace transformable system....") i want to take all kinds of control and DSP with noise classes.

    4) Apply to a university in a different country with free/dirt cheap tuition.... I'd be up for this but I'm not really bilingual. I know some spanish but I don't know if I could depend on it, nor do I necessarily want to go to school in Spain.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2011 #2
    I finished my masters degree in engineering about 15 years ago, and then there was pleny of TA and RA positions available for masters students. I don't know the situation now, but I would think these appointments are still available. Have you tried a few different universities?
  4. Nov 20, 2011 #3
    I did a masters in the US before starting my PhD (needed a masters before I could apply to PhD programs in Europe). I was able to get a graduate student research position with a physics institute at the university (loosely affiliate with the actual physics department) that paid the same as a PhD salary, and they covered my tuition fees. Maybe you can see if there are any special institutes and professors that would be willing to higher you as a GSR. Otherwise, you should be able to get a TA position at your department, and that should cover the costs.
  5. Nov 20, 2011 #4
    Master's programs in Canada are funded, and you don't need to know another language.
  6. Nov 21, 2011 #5
    3.5 is a good gpa imo, most places should fund you. . . look at professors who are working in the field that you want to do research in. email these people, and ask if they are looking for masters students in their lab to do some research.

    when you show your expressed interest in the work, people will be more inclined to fund you.
  7. Nov 21, 2011 #6


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    Gold Member

    Be careful doing this in the future. People will interpret your situation differently. There is often a fine line between ambition and delusion, and some might consider one's choice to take 23 credits as a lack of understanding of one's abilities. Employers desire employees who know their limits and who will make decisions accordingly.

    I'm not saying this will be the case for you, but I wanted to mention it because I had a discussion about this very thing with my boss. I wish you luck in your search! :smile:
  8. Nov 21, 2011 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    2017 Award

    Why do you think you're entitled to a free MS?

    When you have a good answer to that, it will guide you in trying to find some way to make this happen. Without that, it will be much more difficult.
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