Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Pursuing Masters in Civil Engineering immediately after Bachelors?

  1. Nov 18, 2011 #1
    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.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2011 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    You may receive funding for your Master's if you are willing to do research.
  4. Nov 20, 2011 #3
    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.
  5. Nov 20, 2011 #4


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    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.
  6. Nov 22, 2011 #5
    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.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook