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Thread: M. Sc or M. Eng - Looking for Opinions

  1. #1
    KanewtZ kanewtz's Avatar
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    Anyone here have a M. Eng or M. Sc? I was recently offered to get one (fully paid for by my company), but am curious if it is really worth it.
    To me, it is just a stepping stone to a PhD which I really would like to do one day but don't know if I have he time/energy to in a couple years.

    Just looking for insight/opinions.
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  2. #2
    Smart Canuck alicia's Avatar
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    What is your Bachelor's degree in - Science or Engineering?

    When I applied for my PhD (energy storage, so it is cross-disciplinary), there was a supervisor in Chemistry and another in Chemical Engineering I was interested in working for - I was told it looks odd to have a BSc and then switch to MEng, etc because of the differences between how the curriculum is taught (the exception being something like biomedical engineering). I ended up going with the Chemistry prof. Also, to get the designation of PEng you need to have a BEng... so you couldn't apply for the jobs which are leally required to have a PEng. If your undergrad was in Engineering, then ignore all of what I've just said.

    What sort of jobs are you interested in (or currently hold)? Do you want to research in the future - do you know whether you like research? Will it be part-time/full-time? Part-time research-based programs are hard! by the time you finish degree requirements (classes, mandatory seminars, TA hours, if applicable) there is little time for research. Would the research project you work on be linked to your current company's research interests?

    The education requirements needed for science/research jobs are getting higher and higher, so if you want to progress career-wise and not hit a ceiling early on, a postgraduate degree is becoming necessary (science wise, less so in engineering, but still to an extent). This obviously depends on your career goals.

    A Masters degree isn't necessarily a stepping stone to a PhD. I have lots of friends who have MSc degrees and have no interest of going back for a PhD - mostly because they don't want to be the principal investigator.

    If I knew then (deciding on PhD) what I know now I think I would have done my MSc and then followed up with an MBA a few years later to get into the more business side of things. To each their own though - it all depends on where your interests lay.

    Disclaimer: I just finished my PhD two months ago and this is all from my experience and discussion with older scientists - not years of hiring/job searching experience.
    Last edited by alicia; Sun, Mar 3rd, 2013 at 05:11 PM. Reason: expanded a few things
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  3. #3
    Junior Canuck
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    Just to give you a background of myself. I have a PhD in science (molecular biology) and I've done several postdoc positions in cancer research. I've been looking for a full time job in research and non-research areas in academia and pharma/biotech for more than a year. I've applied for over a hundred jobs and only gotten a few interviews. The job market is currently flooded with people who have their PhDs and theres not enough jobs out there. You need to have top journal papers (in my case, nature or cancer cell are among the top). theres no guarantee you'll get a top journal. And, people are jumping fields all over the place. I've worked (in molecular bio labs) with people who had PhDs in physics or computer science.

    It does depend on the field you're in. If I could go back, I would tell myself to stop at a masters. I don't want to teach at a university level and I love bench work. And no one wants to hire someone with a phd when they only need a masters and pay them less. At most places, your designation determines your job title, which determines your pay.

    My brother did a masters in computer science and that's it for him. In that field, a phd is useless unless you teach. And, again too many applicants.

    Honestly, I'd advise (and MANY of my friends who have a phd) not to bother with A phd. A waste of time. You can do so much with a masters and its easier to get in to a company and then work your way up. And, if you're in an academic lab, there's only so far you can go anyway.
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  4. #4
    Sith Lady and Cool Kid Darth Penguin's Avatar
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    What is the package your company is offering? DAy release or full time studying? Local college or move away?

    Will you need to keep a certain mark up over the study term? Do you have the time to commit to this? ANd will your lady be able to help?

    Answering some of the practial questions first may give you an insight into how much you feel you want/need to do it now given you are thinking about a PhD later.
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    Short answer : no Long answer : NOOOOOOOOOOO!

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  5. #5
    Smart Canuck
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    Unless you are doing this strictly for interest sake, you need to weigh the monetary compensation with the time/academic commitments. That is, for all the effort you will need to finish this degree, is it going to be reflected in your pay? Are you planning on staying with your present company, or would you like to eventually teach? Don't assume that a post grad degree will be a stepping stone, especially in these times, where certain fields are saturated (as another poster mentioned).

    I have a friend who finished an undergraduate engineering degree and then got his masters in engineering (engineering physics) and now he is teaching at a university. My other friend got her masters in educational psychology and found out it wasn't really for her; she did not want to do counselling.

    My husband is a P Eng and he never felt the need to get his masters because his jobs never required it and he was compensated well enough without it.

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