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Mechanical engineering Grad School- MEMS

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  • Thread starter Mr.Bigg
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Hey, my company may be sending me to get a masters in mechanical engineering, particularly for small electromechanical engineering. It's not quite MEMS, but I think MEMS best applies and that was specifically what my manager is asking for.

So, what grad schools have good MEMS programs? Preferably someplace that isn't stupidly expensive to live and also would be an ok place to hang your hat for year. My first reactions were University of Texas or University of Colorado, but that was based on the quality of the school and town, I am not sure how to research quality of MEMS program (they all generally say they are doing world class research).
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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guess the topic is a bit too specialized
 
  • #3
MATLABdude
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Well, MEMS is a pretty big field (and nowadays, it seems like everybody is doing nano / micro something or other). What types of things are you trying to do? Sensors? Micro actuators (like the DLP)? Micro pumps? Lab-on-a-Chip stuff? If you're actually looking to build something, you should probably find a university with its own microfabrication facilities and decent-sized clean room. If not, it may not be necessary.

There's also the matter of getting into graduate school, but if you're posting, I'd assume you've got an undergraduate degree in a related field and decent enough grades to get in. Unless you're looking at doing some course work and getting a course-based Masters. Your best bet may be to go to Google scholar, look up your topic of interest (TIP: don't look up just the term MEMS, you'll be swamped), and look at the affiliation (and contact information) for the authors.

In the Texas area, Rice University is pretty well-known in Nanotechnology circles (though I'm not sure of their specialty in MEMS stuff, or what the cost of living / tuition is like).

EDIT: And microfabrication facilities geared towards microfabrication of MEMS stuff (i.e. not CMOS--good luck getting things like glass and various transition metals into a CMOS fab). Unless they also have a MEMS fab or dedicated non-CMOS facilities. The good part is that most CMOS fabs (even ones that are a generation or two out) are so expensive to set up and maintain that most academic institutions opt for general-purpose fabs.
 
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  • #4
Victor Bright at the University of Colorado at Boulder is well-known. I'm not sure how active the program is there now... but you should look into it by trying to find a group webpage.

I also know someone who did graduate MEMs work at Stanford, did some time at Georgia Tech, and is now at Illinois. All places still have active MEMs research programs.

Northwestern also had some groups that did good work.

Again... the field is pretty large (similar to condensed matter), so the advice of MATLABdude above (looking into specific areas) is good.
 
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  • #5
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Well, MEMS is a pretty big field (and nowadays, it seems like everybody is doing nano / micro something or other). What types of things are you trying to do? Sensors? Micro actuators (like the DLP)? Micro pumps? Lab-on-a-Chip stuff? If you're actually looking to build something, you should probably find a university with its own microfabrication facilities and decent-sized clean room. If not, it may not be necessary.

There's also the matter of getting into graduate school, but if you're posting, I'd assume you've got an undergraduate degree in a related field and decent enough grades to get in. Unless you're looking at doing some course work and getting a course-based Masters. Your best bet may be to go to Google scholar, look up your topic of interest (TIP: don't look up just the term MEMS, you'll be swamped), and look at the affiliation (and contact information) for the authors.

In the Texas area, Rice University is pretty well-known in Nanotechnology circles (though I'm not sure of their specialty in MEMS stuff, or what the cost of living / tuition is like).

EDIT: And microfabrication facilities geared towards microfabrication of MEMS stuff (i.e. not CMOS--good luck getting things like glass and various transition metals into a CMOS fab). Unless they also have a MEMS fab or dedicated non-CMOS facilities. The good part is that most CMOS fabs (even ones that are a generation or two out) are so expensive to set up and maintain that most academic institutions opt for general-purpose fabs.
Oddly enough, I think my manager may have listed a technical need in mems without having a real need, we work with miniature gears and systems, not really on micro or nano scale. So the closest thing would be micro-mechanics, not heat transfer or fluids or anything. I had heard about rice, nano though would definitely be a bit out of my area, though I am sure it would be an expanding area for future jobs.

As for getting in, I should have a decent resume, 540/800 GRE, undergrad in Mechanical Engineering, research experience and government work experience. May not get me into Berkeley (one I am looking at), but would likely get me into most.
 
  • #6
Mapes
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The best journal match would seem to be J. Micromech. Microeng. Perhaps you could look through a few months of this journal and see what schools and professors are productive and doing work that you're personally interested in. Then you could filter that list to exclude where you don't want to live.

(A warning, though: if you join a group with a strong publishing record, you'll be under pressure to get research results and publish efficiently too. Psychologically, this can make your classes seem like an interruption of research, which is an unfortunate situation.)
 
  • #7
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The best journal match would seem to be J. Micromech. Microeng. Perhaps you could look through a few months of this journal and see what schools and professors are productive and doing work that you're personally interested in. Then you could filter that list to exclude where you don't want to live.

(A warning, though: if you join a group with a strong publishing record, you'll be under pressure to get research results and publish efficiently too. Psychologically, this can make your classes seem like an interruption of research, which is an unfortunate situation.)
Thats a good warning, I'll be expected to graduate as fast as possible and maintain grades. I like research personally, but I don't think my employer will want to pay for me to do any, especially since they won't be sending me with a project. I may have to exclude any Universities that demand alot of research time.
 
  • #8
Mapes
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OK, got it. In the U.S., at least, what you're looking for is often called a professional master's or an M.Eng. to distinguish it from an M.S., which often requires a research thesis. The M.Eng. typically takes less time (e.g., one year vs. two) than an M.S. and involves paying tuition rather than being paid a stipend.
 

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