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Masters in Engineering

  1. Apr 4, 2014 #1
    Hey All

    I need some advice

    I graduated from a small liberal arts college with a BA in Physics. I dealt with quite a bit in college, and as a result (coupled with my unwillingness to study as much as I should have), I ended up with a 2.8 and pretty much no research experience.

    I've applied (and been accepted) into some grad programs in Aeronautical Engineering (M.S.), which is what I had always planned on doing as a career.

    However, I'm not quite sure if I'm prepared for graduate school. I'm quite a bit different now than when I was in college, and would definitely say I have a stronger work ethic and goals, but I've never taken any engineering courses besides 1 upper division fluid mechanics course.

    On top of all of that, my top choice is in the United Kingdom - a 1 year MSc course (12 months). Will it simply be too much work for someone who hasn't had any experience and, quite frankly, a lousy track record of academic success?

    I'd like to stress that I believe in myself, and that I will be a much better and more studious student than I was as an undergrad, but I feel like I may be in over my head here. Any advice or reality checks would be greatly appreciated.

    Edit: I'd like to note that I am passionate about aeronautics and aviation, so it wasn't some arbitrary choice. This is what I have always wanted to do.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 5, 2014 #2


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    a 2.8 is pretty low. do you remember anything learned from undergrad, both concerning math and physics?

    i'm a masters student in mechanical engineering (very similar to aerospace) studying fluids (now it's exactly like aerospace) and i can tell you there is little difference between my courses of study and fluids dealing with physics (by little difference i mean the two are identical in material).

    again, how much do you remember from undergrad? terminology will still be here, and my guess is tensor algebra/calculus will manifest itself. obviously partial differential equations will appear, and perhaps some statistics too. i would be encouraged to try and gain an intimate understanding of these subjects, as your grad program will assume everyone already understands the material.

    you really have no idea if you can manage the workload or not. it sounds like you've never given yourself a chance to see how you perform in the academic arena, so only you can answer this (and even then, my guess is you won't know unless you enroll).

    what area of aerospace are you studying?
  4. Apr 5, 2014 #3
    I've got a pretty solid grasp of all of the necessary mathematics. Calc I-III, Linear Algebra, Probability & Statistics, Numerical Analysis, ODEs, PDEs. My upper division math GPA was much better than my overall.

    Most of my poor grades came from (oddly enough) my general courses, as well as a few poor performances in some of my more theoretical physics courses. I got very high marks in Fluids and dynamics, though, which encourages me a bit when looking at a masters in a mechanical engineering type of program.

    You are absolutely right, I really have no idea. I had pretty much no opportunity for real research (or rather, I didn't make any opportunities), so I have absolutely no experience besides my experimental research course. I've never given a scientific presentation based on my own research at all.

    This is the program i've been accepted to in the UK. I'm planning on doing my thesis in fluid dynamics, though that could absolutely change once I get thrown into the fire. I'm mostly just concerned with the fact that I've never taken any of these courses before, and coupled with my poor performance and the fact that it seems to be a more intensive program than a US one, I may be in over my head.

    I believe in myself and I have the work ethic to do it, but that's very easy for me to say while I sit on my computer at home with no commitments at the moment.

    Thanks again for the reply.
  5. Apr 5, 2014 #4


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    it sounds like you are not in a bad position. knowing the math affords you the toolkit you'll probably need to succeed in aerospace. and having high grades in your core is really all that matters (once you're in, that is). overall it sounds like you're not off as bad as your initial post made it sound.

    lacking research most likely only hurts your application. once you're in, i'm sure faculty will help you start into it. i really wouldn't worry about prior research. after all, that's what graduate school is for.

    if you feel this way, find out what courses you'll be taking, email the professors for the books and authors, and start into the material. i always do this and i'd say it has paid off big time. even if you don't learn a ton on your own, you're not going into the term blind.

    good luck!
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