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Master's in Engineering: Guidance

  1. Jun 26, 2013 #1

    I am about to start my Master's in Mechanical Engineering. My specialized field of study will be in alternative energy. I completed my undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the same university. I decided to stay at the same university due to the funding opportunities and since I am very familiar and interested in my supervisors's research. I was wondering if anyone has any tips, suggestions, or life experiences that they would like to discuss to ease the transition from an undergraduate to a graduate program.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2013 #2
    I think the biggest advice is to change your focus. Now you're trying to learn as much as you can, so doing enough to get a good grade isn't good enough. This is your chance to really get a broad grounding in your field, so take advantage of it!

    When I was in grad school I treated it like a 60 hour/week job. The people who treated more like classes to be passed weren't as successful.

    Good luck!
  4. Jun 27, 2013 #3
    I always summarized it like this:

    Undergraduate is where I learned the mechanics of thinking analytically and how to solve problems.

    Graduate (Master's) is where I learned how to learn independently. It was nearly (but not quite) like being thrown a textbook and told to go learn it myself. It is where I experienced my brain re-wiring itself one Sunday afternoon during heavy studying when the "scales fell from my eyes" and the problem just clarified itself magically and became very simple. Very strange, but loved it.

    It's a double-time job, maybe even triple-time sometimes. Crazy hours, because that is what was required to do all the work & studying in order to get A's on everything.

    None of my classmates were ever "second" at any academic task, so it was very competitive (almost cut-throat in some instances). Example: I had burned the oil & completed a very challenging homework assignment. It turns out, I was the only one. At class time, there were a bunch of crybabies that complained it was too hard, so the professor did not take it up for credit. I asked, since I had completed it, may I turn it in for extra credit. The entire class went beserk and became furious at me for that. But I got the extra credit, and also made the only "A" grade in the class.
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