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Is BS not enough for a job in Aerospace engineering?

  1. Jul 16, 2012 #1
    I have a couple of doubts, but firstly I ask You to answer the one in the title. I've heard that Aero/Astro is primarily a Master's degree major and Bachelor of Science in Engineering with major in Aero/Astro is not enough to be hired by a company like Boeing or Lockheed, is it true?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 16, 2012 #2
    That's strange. I heard that aerospace engineers going into industry typically get their masters at company request, having already been hired on.
  4. Jul 18, 2012 #3
    Come on guys, nobody knows for sure?

    Look, I am an international student and I plan to go to a college in US, my freshman year starting in Fall 2013. I want to get a job in a good company (as a good student) dealing with designing aircraft, like Boeing or Lockheed Martin. I have a preference to start working after 4 years of studying but I do not know if it is possible. Do I need a Master's degree to begin my career?

    I want to apply to Cornell because they are great in engineering and offer 50-100 financial aid awards to international students yearly. However they can give me only a minor in Aerospace Engineering. Here is my dilemma:
    Option 1: I can start working after 4 years of college so I do not apply to Cornell and other similar universities with only a minor in AeroE (LSU, ASU).
    Option 2: I cannot start working after 4 years of college, I need Master's degree and I apply to Cornell and others.
    Option 3: I cannot start working after 4 years of college, but B.S.E. with minor in AeroE is not enough to get to grad school or later to get a job in any prestigious company so I do not apply there and try a school with a AeroE being a major.

    Please, if You know for sure answer my question and tell me which option is true. Any help will be appreciated.
  5. Jul 18, 2012 #4
    My step father works for a big aerospace company, and although he isn't an engineer, there are many engineers that he knows working there with only a BS.
  6. Jul 19, 2012 #5
    You definitely do not need a maters degree to go into aerospace engineering

    I go to Cornell and was actually in the Mechanical Engineering program for a while, and know a lot of people in the program. I know a lot of people who with only bachelors have gone on to Boeing, Lockheed, Spacex etc. Yes the Masters helps, but it is by no means necessary. If you get hired with a masters, usually you get a little higher starting pay and get slightly more interesting projects, but you can also work your way up to those projects and pay if hired as a BS.

    Also, as a side note, if you do decide you want a masters, Cornell has a one-year masters of engineering program that can be done in a single additional semester if you start it the spring of your senior year, meaning you get a bachelors and masters in 4.5 years. This program is pretty much auto-admit for any Cornell engineers (even if you do it in 5 years), so if you decide later on that a masters is what you want, you don't need to go through the hassle of applying to a bunch of places and hoping you get in somewhere.
  7. Jul 19, 2012 #6
    I suggest you contact the University departments that you are interested in and ask them about placement as a BS vs. MS. They'll know best how their graduates are doing getting work. They may also be able to help you with which companies would foot the bill for an advanced degree. I would also contact Boeing and Lockheed Human Services Departments to see which degrees they favor. I went to GA Tech, and I seem to remember they had an excellent Aerospace school.

  8. Jul 19, 2012 #7


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    You can work in industry with a BS in aero. Some people go directly to industry, others will get an MS and then go to industry. At some point to move up you'll want to get a graduate degree. With a graduate degree you'll typically have engineers with a BS working for you.

    Research positions typically will require a PhD and at the very least an MS.
  9. Jul 20, 2012 #8


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    That may be true for a research position as a first job from college, but after a few years working in a large company they are usually more interested in what you have actually done while working for them, rather than what pieces of paper you collected from college.
  10. Jul 20, 2012 #9


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    The answer to your question is not a binary condition. Different companies will have different preferences depending on the position they're looking to fill.
  11. Jul 20, 2012 #10


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    I was thinking more along the lines of a national lab (e.g. Sandia). IIRC you need a PhD for a research position there; BS degrees are good for "engineering technician" positions.
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