Freaking out No Paid Master's Programs

In summary, the individual is an ambitious electrical engineering student in their senior year with a 3.53/4.0 GPA. They are interested in pursuing a Master's degree in controls and DSP, but have discovered that funding and tuition waivers are mainly available for PhD students. The individual is hesitant to pursue a PhD due to age and research concerns. Possible solutions include applying as a PhD student, paying for a Master's, getting a job, or applying to a university in a different country with free or cheap tuition. Suggestions are given to look into TA or RA positions, contacting professors and institutes for research opportunities, and considering programs in Canada where Master's programs are funded. It is also advised for the individual to think about their reasons for
  • #1
X89codered89X
154
2
BACKGROUND:
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.

PROBLEM:
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!
 
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  • #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?
 
  • #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.
 
  • #4
Master's programs in Canada are funded, and you don't need to know another language.
 
  • #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.
 
  • #6
X89codered89X said:
... 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.

...

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:
 
  • #7
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.
 

1. What are "Freaking out No Paid Master's Programs"?

"Freaking out No Paid Master's Programs" refers to the current trend of graduate programs, particularly master's programs, not offering paid positions or stipends for their students.

2. Why are students concerned about this trend?

Students are concerned because attending graduate school often means taking on significant debt and going without a salary for several years, making it difficult to support themselves financially.

3. How common is it for master's programs to not offer paid positions?

Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly common for master's programs in certain fields, such as the humanities and social sciences, to not offer paid positions or stipends for their students.

4. What are the potential consequences of this trend?

The consequences of this trend can include limiting access to higher education for those who cannot afford to go without a salary, as well as potentially creating a workforce in these fields that is less diverse and representative of society.

5. What can be done to address this issue?

To address this issue, universities and funding agencies can work to increase funding opportunities for graduate students, and students can also advocate for themselves and prioritize programs that offer paid positions or stipends.

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