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Guidance on Postgraduate Engineering pathways

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Are there any postgraduate engineering fields that involve working both with the industry and working in theoretical (physics, math) stuff? I'm thinking about (research) master's or PhD here.

It seems that all engineering subfields are either purely academic or purely industry with no middle ground. Maybe that's just the way it looks to me.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Which country are you in?

Certainly here in the UK, yes, it does happen. I would probably take exception with your use of 'theoretical', but these days most people seem to make an incorrect decision about what defines theory and that which defines experiment. Anyway, situations in which a partial industry/academic environment arises will be, for instance, where some industrial organisation is paying an academic department to have some work done, or is sponsoring a research student (with a view to increasing the profile of the organisation within the graduate level community for future employees) etc.

The way to go about finding an opportunity such as this would be to contact the post-graduate admissions officer at departments you would be interested working in. Explain your interests in the research area, and, when appropriate, enquire about the industry connections the department has. You would then be able to ask if there are any sponsored projects or that which is done partially in an industrial setting. There may also be other things to consider, if you're interested in biomedical engineering for example, then there would be clinical work to consider as well.

Finally, here in the UK (I'm not sure about other countries) we have a non-PhD doctorate programme, an engineering doctorate - known as an EngD. Oftentimes these are more industry orientated (though they are based/set up at academic institutions) in that the student will often work in collaboration with an industry or learn about the development of a final product in business terms.
 
  • #3
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It seems that all engineering subfields are either purely academic or purely industry with no middle ground. Maybe that's just the way it looks to me.
Some of the corporate research labs at Microsoft work on some pretty esoteric stuff, and from what I've seen other companies R&D departments also tend to have at least one or two groups who are on the more theory side of things.
 

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