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Graduate School for Engineering

  1. Mar 23, 2008 #1
    I really have no doubt that I will attend graduate school some time or another in my life. My question is about the choice of attending it straight out of undergrad, or after having worked for a few years.

    I am on a co-op term, and I will return to my 4th year at a canadian university this september. I will be faced with the decision soon enough.

    Things going on in my head
    Grad School pro:
    1.More school! Yay!
    2.prospects of ending up with a better career!
    3.full funding, only condition being acceptance, and possible scholarship if my grades are high enough
    4. Finish my Graduate degree earlier

    Straight to Workforce pro:
    1. Break from School!
    2. Chance to explore fields of interest
    3. Salary will be significantly higher than graduate school funding
    4. boring job (most likely)

    What other pros to each side should I consider?
    Care to provide any life examples?

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2008 #2


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    One thing that pushed me was the research. When many people get their masters later in life, they do it while working a job. So, they end up doing the class-only option which excludes (for the most part) any type of research.

    The research was what I really wanted to do, so that's why I went straight in after undergrad.
  4. Mar 29, 2008 #3
    It is best to do it straight out of school at least for a Masters.

    You have to realize this when you get a Masters you will most likely get a better salary earlier on in your career. If you calculate how much this ends up at accumulatively at the end of your career then it could be in the 100,000's.

    Plus ones you have a job you will adapt a lifestyle conform to your salary. It will be very hard to go back and give that up for school again.
  5. Mar 30, 2008 #4
    Is there a general expectation from the university for Research Masters student to go into PhD when they finish their masters? At any rate I guess they can't force me to stay.

    Thanks for your tips, It does seem like the general concensus is to go straight into grad school. Especially when it comes to getting reference letters.

    I thought of a new question to ask. Is there a significant difference in percieved value between a Masters and a PhD when employers are looking at new hires?

    Reason why I as is that Ive seen research positions that ask "Masters OR PhD" as if they dont see much difference between the two.
  6. Mar 31, 2008 #5
    There IS a huge difference do. Although not all jobs require a PhD, for some either or will do. A PhD will allow you to do more R&D type work either at a big business (GE, Rolls Royce, GM etc) or at any of our national labs (Lawrence Livermore, Argonne, GPL ..etc). Now a Masters will not be sufficient for these jobs (typically).
    Now, in my personal opinion, a PhD should not purely be done as a career move but also should be coming from a passion for the topic.
  7. Apr 2, 2008 #6
    yea, you are right, That is one of the things I am worried about when choosing area of research in grad school. I may like the sound of a research area, but once I get into it, I may not like it.

    I think I will go for a masters first, and go out in to the work place, try to find out about hot and interesting research fields, and If I decide I want to dedicate my life to a certain field, then I will go to grad school

    thanks again for your advice.
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