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Aerospace MEng in mechanical engineering then Doctorate in Aerospace

  1. Jun 17, 2013 #1
    Can I do that or do I need to a MEng in aerospace?
    They are fairly closely related.
    Also, how useful in a doctorate in engineering? It seems as more people get Masters that they are taking Bachelors jobs and PhDs are taking masters jobs. Is this right?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 17, 2013 #2

    D H

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    Most people enter a doctorate program directly after obtaining their bachelors. An exception is when you want to switch disciplines. Aerospace is a huge discipline. Sometimes it looks exactly like mechanical engineering (structures, controls), other times more like a cross between mechanical and chemical engineering (the real rocket scientists), other times more like math and physics (guidance and navigation). That means it's not that difficult to pick a concentration that is a close match to what you already have learned. You can go directly from your bachelors degree in mechanical to a PhD program in aerospace if you keep your concentration close to what you've already learned.

    Whether this is a good idea is a different question. If you're in industry, what degree you obtained doesn't matter a whole lot after you've been working for a decade or so. A person with only a bachelors degree might well be the PI on an R&D project with some PhDs working under him or her. Not that common, but it does happens.

    What a PhD does do is to automatically open doors to more challenging jobs. Employers assume that that degree indicates a person who can handle those interesting jobs. Those with a bachelors degree have to persistently prove that those doors should be open to them.

    A PhD also decreases the amount of time you have to save for retirement, and it is going to have a negative impact on salary. Suppose it takes six years to get that PhD. Your counterpart who went for a masters will have been working for four years by the time you get out. That's four years of a nice salary, four years of nice pay raises, and four years of saving toward retirement, all foregone to obtain that PhD. It doesn't add up economically. You had better have a much stronger reason than a job and salary as the rationale for going after that PhD.
  4. Jun 17, 2013 #3
    Thanks D H for the informative post.

    My main thinking behind going for a PhD after a MEng in mechanical engineering is that at the moment (im a high school junior) I really enjoy both subjects and I would like to be involved in high level jobs in aerospace (mainly astro) but have a strong knowlege of mechanical engineering as well thats why I would thinking about a MEng rather than a BEng (for full discloser i'm in the UK and it is mainly accepted that you will do, and many universities only offer, a masters.) Do you think it would be very beneficial to get the PhD?

    Also relating to your bottom paragraph, I would be pretty sure a PhD would have a better starting salary than a bachelors and also by the fact as you said that you would probably have more jobs open to you, do you think a that a PhD would actually have more money, say, five years down the line as they are probably in a more high profile job compared to the bachelor with a few more years experience but in a lower profile job?

    Thanks again
  5. Jun 17, 2013 #4


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    A PhD doesn't make substantially more money than someone with a master's degree and, in fact, people with PhDs typically have fewer career options than those who stop at a master's degree. Why? A PhD tends to overqualify you for a lot of jobs and the type of people with a PhD often don't fit well in jobs typically held by those with only a bachelor's degree and most jobs for those with a master's.

    So why do a PhD, then? Research. Getting a PhD is all about trying to get into research. If you aren't interested in research then just forget about a PhD. You would just be miserable and end up somewhere you don't want to be.
  6. Jun 19, 2013 #5
    So what are you getting your undergraduate degree in? I would personally just the mechanical engineering degree, because you can still work in the aerospace industry and if you grow tired of that you can move around with the flexibility the degree offers. Most of the topics in aerospace engineering are taught in mechanical engineering curriculums, you'll get some heat transfer, fluid dynamics, strength of materials, statics, and thermodynamics. The BS in Mechanical Engineering would give you a very strong foundation and flexibility, you could then do a masters in aerospace engineering. I agree with the previous poster, a Phd is not needed unless you want to do research or teach.
  7. Jun 19, 2013 #6


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    This man speaks the truth. If you want to work in the industry, you will want a Masters unless you're designing experiments for a university or government organization.
  8. Jun 21, 2013 #7
    I am a Masters ( MSc ) student in UK.

    PHD is for people who are passionate about research. Phds often do research in VERY specific fields. Of course , a BEng or an MEng in mechanical engineering can do Phd related to Aerospace fields ( say structures or fluid mechanics etc ). Phd is more academic than commercial. If you want to work in Aerospace but value money as well , do an MEng but try to gain experience through placements/summer internships/ year in industry. All this matters a lot. Try to participate in Universities projects and also focus on OTHER skills ( non-technical skills as ) as well .
    Most MEng( or MScs ) work as Bachelors because they don't have the necessary skills or industrial exposure.

    Regarding Mechanical or Aerospace ,most Aerospace jobs are open to Mechanical Engineers , however , MEng in Mechanical engineering keeps doors open to other fields. However , there are slightly more restrictions to Aerospace engineers working in Mechanical engineering fields.
    Do MEng in Aerospace only if you don't want a career outside Aerospace
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