Pursuing Masters in Civil Engineering immediately after Bachelors?

  • Thread starter elementG
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  • #1
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Hey guys, its been a while since I've been on this board and just wanted to ask for some advice/insight/recommendations. I'm currently a senior undergraduate getting my degree in Civil Engineering. Lately, I've really been considering graduate school due to two reasons:

1. ASCE in support of requiring BS+30 (masters degree) in 2015 as a prerequisite to the PE license exam. Correct me on that year if I'm wrong.
2. I know taking a break after graduation makes it much harder to get back to school (fall in love, get married, have kids, steady income :) etc.) I'll be 24 when I graduate.

However, we all know how expensive school is regardless of which university you attend. Do you guys think pursuing a masters degree in civil engineering is really worth the money in the end? I talked to several faculty about this and they recommend I do so since I'm still young and have the "energy", plus civil engineering requires technical focus in the real world since the undergraduate curriculum is quite broad. As much as I want to just be done with school, I feel like going straight to grad school will be an investment in the long run. But again, how much of an investment would that be? I have no idea, hence the post. Any advice, recommendations, insight, stories much appreciated! Thanks.

ps. Are there any one year civil grad programs in CA that anyone may know of? I would love to find a program that is less than two years if possible.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Pyrrhus
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You may receive funding for your Master's if you are willing to do research.
 
  • #3
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I've been working as a Civil for 8 years now and I would recommend that, unless you are looking to do Structural Engineering, that you do NOT pursue a masters. In the "real world" that masters #1 won't be rewarded by salary (at least not comparative to the amount of time and money you'll put into it) and #2 won't give you any insight or advancement into the field that you can't get with a couple years' experience. Yes, ASCE is trying to move towards requiring the +30, but last I saw it's not written in stone just yet, and you'd probably be better off (and be better rewarded, salary-wise) by going for Engineering Management or a full-MBA.

Also, I would say wait until you get yourself a full-time job and see what their tuition reimbursement policies are before you commit to it on your own dime. I went back to school 1 month after starting full time and didn't pay for one class, book or fee for my Masters (Engineering Management), as long as I got As. Now, that degree hasn't done me much good (experience counts 10-fold over education) beyond being able to say I have it, but at least I didn't pay for it. That was in 2004-05 though, so before the economy tanked and things got rough. I would guess 50-75% reimbursement is still a general rule though.

... not that I'm jaded or anything :)

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
 
  • #4
Pyrrhus
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I would recommend basst82 advice if you are already working. It might not be worth it leaving your job to get a master's. However, you can go to graduate school, and do some research (to get funded) if you don't find a job now.
 
  • #5
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basst82 and Pyrrhus, thanks for the advice. Greatly appreciated. I seem to be caught up with the ASCE BS+30 situation. You're right, its not written in stone. I guess I'm just worried that by the time I have enough work experience under a P.E., the requirements for the exam would change. Then I would have to go back to school just to get the 30+ credits. But yes, I do believe that experience is far greater than a masters degree. Even before making this thread, I was leaning towards just finding a job, working and settling down. I still am as of now.

basst82, how has your masters in engineering management helped you career wise? Are you a P.E.? I was thinking about engineering management or an MBA, but I don't have much interest in business even though its a big aspect in civil engineering. But then again, that may change a few years from now.
 

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