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

What type of degree is best. B.eng vs MS

  1. Sep 17, 2010 #1
    I'm currently in the middle of a decision that I have to bring to a conclusion very soon. Originally, my plan was to go to med-school, so I chose Biochemistry as my major, however during my senior year I realized that Medicine wasn't for me, and decided to get an education in Mechanical Engineering. I've asked my current schools engineering department for advice and they said that I can apply to the MS in Mechanical Engineering that is offered here at my home school after I take a few fundamental engineering courses, which I'm taking now. However, I realized that the MS programs curriculim isn't as technically oriented as the B.eng degrees curriculum. And I really want to have a hands on experience in design, machining, and manufacturing. Plus, I want continue my degree with a PhD in aerospace engineering.

    My real question is, should I do a B.eng in M.E, or should I just take the offer my school provided me with and do a M.S in M.E. Which do you guys think is better for learning engineering concepts? And which will be a better engineer overall? And which route will be better for my final destination, which is Aerospace engineering? Thank you very much.

    P.S: My current school is Stony Brook.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2010 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Do you have your BS yet? If so, in what? Presuming you have your BS you still have to get accepted into the MSME program at your school. The Engineering department is probably saying you would be eligible to apply (i.e. meet the requirements) but you still need to get accepted.

    The undergrad ME program will give you the fundamentals you really need. So you'll need to make those up if you have a BS in some other closely related field. The MSME is typically focused on advanced and specific area of ME and expects you to have the fundamentals already.

  4. Sep 17, 2010 #3
    I am a senior right now and I will have a BS in biochemistry. The graduate program director asked me to take the vector statics and dynamics courses, which I'm doing now. And I will probably take a design course also next semester. He also told me that if I have a GPA that is above 3.0, they will accept me to the program. So, my questions still hold, what would be the better degree if I eventually want to study Aerospace Engineering? And, which graduate, that is B.Eng graduate vs MSME graduate would be a better engineer in general?
  5. Sep 19, 2010 #4
    A BS in biochemistry isn't going to cover the basics of mechanical engineering. If you jump right into the MSME program you're going to have to figure the basics out for yourself VERY quickly. Your next semester would probably be better spent working as an intern rather than jumping right into a design course. Both choices would show you that you have a lot to learn, but only one would leave an F on your transcript.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2010
  6. Sep 19, 2010 #5
    Skrambles; what do you mean by spending the next semester as an intern? And what would be the benefit of doing such a thing?

    As far as the basic sciences such as math, physics, chem and thermodynamics go, I took all of them. And as for the design course, it is an introduction level course, do you still think that it is not worth taking such a class? Should I invest my time on other courses? And do you suggest any courses for me to take? And I should add, as far as machining and the usage of hand and power tools go, I'm pretty good with that also. Thank you all for the replies.
  7. Sep 19, 2010 #6
    My advice is to go for the MS, but with the understanding that you should be taking many extra courses (junior and senior level courses) before taking the grad level courses. If you don't do this, your knowledge and abilities will be shallow.

    In effect, you will be doing at least one half of what you would do for the Beng, for no credit toward your MS.

    The upside of this is that you will spend a long time in the grad school ( at least 3 years) with better interaction with professors and grad students.

    Note that I recommend this so that you end up as a competent engineer. You could do the minimum and pass, I'm sure, but your wording implies that you want more than that.
  8. Sep 19, 2010 #7
    You say you want a lot of hands-on experience, but you also say you want a PhD. I could be wrong on this, but PhDs generally do more theoretical work and don't do a lot of hands-on work. I also advise you to go straight to the MS program. Yes you will have to take some preliminary classes before you take the graduate classes, but it is much more common (I think) for someone to get an MS in a different field from their bachelor's than to get a BS and then spend time to get another BS. Also, you don't need an aerospace engineering degree to do aerospace engineering. There are plenty of mech engs in aerospace companies. Aerospace engineering is sort of like a specialized branch of mechanical engineering and many schools have them in the same department, so it shouldn't be hard for you to get a job as an aerospace engineer with a MSME. If you look at job descriptions for AE positions, it will probably say that the post requires a degree in "AE, ME, or similar" so don't think you NEED an AE degree to do AE.
  9. Sep 23, 2010 #8
    This is true, honestly right now I wouldnt go with a PhD, you will be too specialized, UNLESS you just want to teach.
    I have seen studies where your salary will increase with an MS, but decrease greatly with a PhD

    Oh by the way, I am an ME working in the AE industry, ME and AE are very close, where I got my degree they didnt offer AE yet, but I took it upon myself to take all the electives i could to get an AE specialization.

    Good luck
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook