Programs PhDs in Engineering?

  1. Are Ph. Ds in engineering worth it? I don't want to teach at a college, so that isn't what I am going for, but in general, in the field of engineering, are they worth it?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. SteamKing

    SteamKing 8,846
    Staff Emeritus
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    It depends on what you want to do. To practice engineering, an undergraduate degree is sufficient. If you want to teach engineering, you would probably need at least a master's degree, depending on the institution. If you want to do research in an engineering field, then probably a graduate degree would be required, depending on where and for whom you would do the research.

    You must realize that the graduate degrees require you to take advanced courses in engineering topics and math which are typically not covered in the undergraduate curriculum. The advanced degree is not just a way for the university to suck additional money from the grad student.
     
  4. rollingstein

    rollingstein 494
    Gold Member

    Besides, in Engineering & at good universities the direction of money transfer is often from university to student. You get fairly decent stipends, though never as good as a "real" job.
     
  5. UltrafastPED

    UltrafastPED 1,919
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    I know quite a few people with an engineering PhD who don't teach ... and most have never taught.

    They are mostly research engineers working at high-tech companies (lasers, solid state, mathematical modelling, etc), but a few lead advanced engineering projects for industrial companies. I worked with several at the Ford Scientific Research Laboratory when I was doing controls work.

    They were all very knowledgeable, focused, and hard working.

    And if you are accepted directly into an engineering PhD program your tuition and fees are paid for, plus you get a stipend which is enough to live on. If your scores are quite good enough they will accept you for an MS, which you must pay for, and then if you do well your research adviser will fund your PhD.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  6. boneh3ad

    boneh3ad 1,658
    Gold Member

    You absolutely need a PhD to teach anywhere reputable, but that's not what a PhD is solely good for, and the vast minority of PhDs end up teaching.

    The real purpose is to get into research. You can do that with a MS but unless you have that PhD, you won't easily get into any sort of leadership position doing research.

    Also keep in mind that a PhD is not a financial payoff. They don't make appreciably more than those with an MS and they are a ton of work, so don't go into it for money. That's a recipe for failure, and you'll be sorely disappointed.
     
  7. D H

    Staff: Mentor

    I suspect it's the other way around: The vast majority of engineering PhDs end up *not* teaching, no different than any other technical field. The same mathematics that makes so many HEP physicists complain at this site about not being able to get a job in academia applies to engineering. Tenured professors supervise ten or so PhD candidates over the course of their career. Only one is needed as a replacement. Another one *might* get a career in academia due to the growth of academia. The other eight or so? They don't get a job in academia. They have to look to government and industry for employment.

    There's a big difference between those HEP physics PhDs and the typical engineering PhD. Industry gobbles up members of the latter group. Industry needs those engineering PhDs to develop new ideas, lead projects, and climb the technical or management ladder. The CEOs of technical companies are rather heavily biased toward PhD engineers. The CTO (chief technology officer) is even more likely to be a PhD engineer.
     
  8. boneh3ad

    boneh3ad 1,658
    Gold Member

    I suspect you misread my post, as this is exactly what I said.
     
  9. D H

    Staff: Mentor

    You're right. I misread your "vast minority" as "vast majority".
     
  10. boneh3ad

    boneh3ad 1,658
    Gold Member

    I'm tricky like that. :tongue:
     
  11. thats the vas deferens
     
  12. rollingstein

    rollingstein 494
    Gold Member

    Why bring in reproduction?
     
  13. My community college physics professor and dean is a P.h.d in Mechanical Engineering
     
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