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How to choose grad school for aerospace/mechanical engineering?

  1. Jul 4, 2009 #1
    I will complete my bachelors in physics next year, and plan to do a masters in either aerospace or mechanical engineering afterwards.

    But how do I go about selecting which schools to apply to?

    I’ve read advice such as applying to schools whose professors do research in a specific area that I would want to write my thesis on.

    But this advice seems flawed to me. My problems with this advice are:

    - What if the professor I wanted to work for leaves, or turns out be an unhelpful tutor, or some other unforeseen circumstance occurs?

    - I have never studied aerospace mechanical engineering before. So how I am supposed to know what specific area I would want to write my thesis on? How am I supposed to be choose between for example, computational fluid dynamics and aerospace design? I could guess which specific field I’d be interested in, but I might change my mind later.

    - I’m planning to do just a masters rather than a phd, so I think research won’t be as important anyway. Also, writing a thesis seems to be optional for masters students in most schools I’ve looked at.

    So should I even bother trying to figure out which specific field I’d be most interested in, and trying to base my choice of schools on this?

    Apart from factors like location, cost, etc., what other criteria should I use to choose which schools to apply to?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 4, 2009 #2


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    Gold Member

    1. How do you expect anyone to see these unforeseen occurrences for you?

    2. So why do you want to do a masters in AE if you don't know what you want to do in it. Everyone knows a masters is pretty specific and not broad at all.

    If what you want to do in AE is so vague (or the choice is non-existent) then a) ask yourself why you wanted to do it in the first place. b) re-evaluate your academic/career goals.
  4. Jul 5, 2009 #3
    Well I know I want a career in either aerospace/mechanical engineering. However, it seems difficult to find an engineering job with a bachelors in physics, which is why I want to do a masters in aerospace/mechanical engineering.

    Because of my lack of experience in engineering, I guess I should be going for a bachelors in aerospace/mechanical engineering rather than a masters.

    But rather than dropping out of my physics bachelors program, and starting an aerospace/mechanical engineering bachelors program from scratch, wouldn’t it be better to finish my physics bachelors and then going for a masters in aerospace/mechanical engineering?
  5. Jul 6, 2009 #4
    i'm in the same position as OP since i'm a physics major considering mechanical engineering for grad school, so i wouldnt know either
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