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How the heck does one switch degrees from Undergrad to Masters?

  1. Sep 19, 2014 #1
    I was talking to my cousin about how some engineers study MBA after finish their undergrad. She herself is did BBA and told me that MBA is relatively easy as it mainly is common sense.

    However, I was reading about people who studied Economics, Engineering, etc. in undergrad and then studied Computer Science in Masters. In fact, I have an uncle who did Mech. Eng. till Masters and then got a doctorate in Computer Science. And he didn't even have much of a knowledge on computers but suddenly felt like studying it and he did well as far as I know. This makes me wonder, don't technical degrees like computer science require advanced knowledge on stuff? Can one really cover up the 4-5 years lost when they take it for higher level studies.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2014 #2


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    The 4 years of undergrad study contain a lot more than just pure major-area courses. Besides general education requirements, there's a lot of shared knowledge and training between engineering and science fields. For example, engineering programs tend to require many of the same math courses (or some variation thereof) and intro science courses that grad-school-bound computer scientists will need. There would likely be some programming courses, maybe some control systems or algorithms or something like that as well. And overall, there's just a lot of structural similarity between what you might learn in ME and CS. Some of the specific details can be picked up later without too much trouble.
  4. Sep 19, 2014 #3


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    The details of what a graduate degree requires for preparation will depend very strongly on the school, the degree, the subject, etc. Before making a lot of decisions that are hard to change, get information from schools you are interested in going to. Find out what they require for admission, what they suggest as good preparation, etc. Google is your friend. Many schools put their course calendar on line. Many profs will answer email from potential students giving helpful advice.

    There are lots of people who take unusual paths that you might not expect. When I was doing my doctorate in physics, one of my co-students had an undergrad degree in languages. He spoke about 6 different languages fluently. But he had taken nearly no math, and no computing, as an undergrad. Yet he was kicking butt as a physics grad student.

    And one of my profs had no undergrad degree at all, but had gotten his PhD in physics at Oxford. Of course, he got admitted based on a letter of recommendation from Einstein.
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