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Programs Materials Science and Engineering/Chemistry, M.S. or PhD?

  1. Jul 31, 2012 #1
    Hi, I wanted to ask a question about graduate school, programs, and ask for any advice on what I should do/plan for my future. I'm currently a Senior majoring in Biochemistry (B.S.), minoring in Mathematics, with nearly 160 credit hours and a 3.78 GPA. I have a strong mathematical and chemical background - I loved partial differential equations, complex analysis, numerical analysis, physical chemistry (thermodynamics and quantum mechanics), organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and more. I took courses in JAVA programming, and I have been exposed to Python script through a research position. I currently work in two labs, one is a chemical lab, synthesizing organic ligands that may bind As or Hg atoms, and the other is a materials science lab, which seems to be more theoretical-based and deals with simulations of nanoparticles.

    I would like to know, should I go for the Materials Science? I like the subject matter, but would it be better to go with Chemistry? I don't plan on continuing Biochemistry or doing Physics. I would love to do Mathematics but i'm not sure. If I do go for one, should I go for the M.S. or PhD? I feel like I can't afford the M.S. but I can easily afford the PhD if I work in a lab. Someday, I would like to be more business-oriented, and perhaps hold an MBA in addition to the M.S....but is it worth it?

    I'd like anyone's opinion on this, preferrably from someone who is actually in one of these industries. I graduate this December and need to make a decision...i'm leaning towards Materials Science but again, I wanted the M.S. and MBA but maybe the PhD is better...job outlooks?

    Also, should I stay at my current university or move somewhere else? I am at UTD, Dallas, Texas...not the best school, but it's great academic-wise. But i've heard it looks better to move on to a new school for graduate studies, true for both M.S. and PhD?

    Thanks in advance, sorry this is long!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 31, 2012 #2
    Also I forgot to say, I don't mind either Academia or Industry - i'd actually prefer industry because it somehow feels safer, especially with an M.S....the PhD seems (to me at least) limited to Acadmia, R&D, etc. I just want to know which is the safest bet, most worthwhile, best results for my time. I don't want to be locked into something I am uncomfortable with.

    I can do the coursework and do the research, no problem. Just which way should I go?
  4. Jul 31, 2012 #3
    Be careful. If you apply to a PhD program you will be locked into a project most likely. The good news is that if you go into a PhD program you will probably receive funding. On the otherhand, a masters will allow you to explore your options at a greatly reduced chance of receiving funding. A part of the issue is that it looks better for schools to fund PhDs... so it goes back to bs politics. I applied to many masters programs for aeronautical engineering, got into them all but was told Id receive funding right away if I switched to PhD programs. At the advisement of a few good resources I decided not to do this because I would lose the ability to explore my interests. My resources said Masters then PhD is a good path to take to ensure you are doing what you love.
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