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Get another degree or graduate early?

  1. Aug 2, 2005 #1
    This is my first summer in college (Next fall is going to be my second fall). I have 4 more semesters to go (2 years) to graduate with a Mechanical engineering degree. One problem I have is that I haven't done any reasearch/internships yet and I want to go to a good grad school for engineering.

    I could stay in college one more year (4 years total) and get a dual degree in Aersopace and Mechanical engineering and this will probably give me one more summer to do an REU or something. I could also MAYBE get a minor in math or physics if I stay one more year in college. If I just get a Mechanical engineering degree and grauduate in 2 years, I'll be 20 when I graduate.

    So far, I have a 4.0 but I don't know if that will hold up. Do grad schools care more about graduating early with good grades or getting more than one degree or does it even matter with them? Which option do you think I should do? BTW, I heard that the Aerospace degree in my college was useless, but that was only from one person.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 2, 2005 #2
    I would personally stay the extra year, get the double degree and experience. Imagine that you were an employer with the choice of hiring one over the other, which one would you pick? If anyone has any data to suggest otherwise, that would be interesting. However common sense seems to be the second student would be a more attractive prospect. I would imagine that grad school would be similar and that you would be more competitive after following the second option.
  4. Aug 2, 2005 #3


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    An employer would possibly choose the younger, less qualified student. However, for a postgraduate course (as the OP intends to do), I would almost certainly expect preference to be shown to the double degree, especially if 'real-life' experience can be shown too.

    If academia is your desired path, I'd stick around and get a bigger degree!
  5. Aug 2, 2005 #4
    I wouldn't think that one year younger would even begin to make up for the knowledge of a second degree.
  6. Aug 3, 2005 #5
    But with the knowledge of a second degree, you would expect more money, and depending on the demands of the job, the employer might go for a less qualified, but "cheaper" one.
  7. Aug 3, 2005 #6
    Well, if you are going straight into grad school, definitely get the second degree and the REU. VERY important.

    If you are just going straight into industry, it's harder to say. I guess it depends on the field you want to get into....
  8. Aug 3, 2005 #7


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    It worked for me! :smile:

    For an industrial position, sometimes it's not worth the employer paying even a small amount extra for someone with more academic credentials, particularly in a highly applied environment where most of the knowledge needed is learnt on the job. Here, a degree proves technical ability, and the ability to learn, more than vast technical (and theoretical, rather than applied) knowledge. Obviously this would not hold true for an academic position such as that the OP is asking after. It's becoming more and more easy to become over-qualified for industrial positions.

    Edit: Oh, and I'm not talking about a second degree, but a more in-depth first degree (MEng above a BEng, dual honours over single honours, etc).
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