Masters of Engineering vs. Bachelors of Engineering

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Ormurinn
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Masters of Engineering vs. Bachelors of Engineering

Postby Ormurinn » Sun Jun 01, 2014 3:49 pm UTC

I'm currently studying for a B.Eng in Matetrials Science and Engineering. Assuming I manage to maintain my grades, I'll be offered the opportunity this year to upgrade to a M.Eng in the same field - I'm hoping someone with experience will be able to advise me if that's a good idea.

Pros of upgrading -
M.Eng instead of B.eng - I have no idea how relevant this will be to employers.

Cons of upgrading
£9000 + living costs out of pocket
1 year of lost income (seems circa £25k for an entry level position). Might be counteracted by faster promotion with an M.Eng?
Another year at university - which is not an environment I particularly enjoy.

I'm particularly interested in responses as to how an M.Eng as oppoised to B.Eng would be perceived in the job market in Canada, Australia and the U.S, as I'm considering emigrating - however obviously U.K perspectives would be welcome too.

I have experience working as an engineer in automotive from multiple work placements too, if that influences anything.
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Re: Masters of Engineering vs. Bachelors of Engineering

Postby Xenomortis » Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:06 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Another year at university - which is not an environment I particularly enjoy.

That alone suggests you shouldn't do the M.Eng.
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Re: Masters of Engineering vs. Bachelors of Engineering

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:51 pm UTC

It depends entirely on what field you want to go into, and your best bet is reaching out to people in that field and asking them what they think the pros/cons are.
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Re: Masters of Engineering vs. Bachelors of Engineering

Postby Bakemaster » Sun Jun 01, 2014 5:34 pm UTC

My perspective as a recent graduate, B.S. civil engineering, working in the public sector in the US (California):
Ormurinn wrote:M.Eng instead of B.eng - I have no idea how relevant this will be to employers.

Many employers will allow you to substitute your graduate degree for 1 year of experience toward meeting the minimum requirements for a job. Many employers will also pay you a little more purely based on having the degree. Other than that, it's all about the skills and expertise your graduate degree delivers, and your ability to communicate same in the application process.
Ormurinn wrote:I have experience working as an engineer in automotive from multiple work placements too, if that influences anything.

It makes you a stronger candidate than another recent graduate without that experience. It should relieve some of the pressure that new graduates often experience to go to graduate school right away when their resume has nothing on it but schoolwork.

If you don't particularly enjoy academia, I recommend putting off graduate study. You can go back and get it later, with a decent chance of your employer paying some or all of the cost, and/or being able to do it while working so that you don't lose your income (or not completely, if you reduce your hours). You'll get far more out of the experience if you're motivated by specific professional or research interests. Otherwise you're just kicking the can down the road for another year.

I have a coworker with an M.S. in mechanical engineering who's working in a technician capacity. He makes somewhere between $16 and $20 an hour and can work at most 3/4 time during the year. His benefit package is limited and he's an at-will employee; can be fired at any time for no reason. He's a smart guy and has prior related work experience, but he doesn't seem to have strong feelings about what he wants to do and I think that's the main reason his graduate degree is doing so little for him.
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Re: Masters of Engineering vs. Bachelors of Engineering

Postby Chen » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:58 pm UTC

I have a Masters in Aerospace engineering. I probably would be in the same place I am career wise if I had started working for the 2 years instead of taking the Masters degree (working in Montreal, Quebec). If you don't enjoy university I wouldn't recommend doing the Masters, especially if it were an additional financial hardship as well (doubly so since you're not working as well during that time).

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Re: Masters of Engineering vs. Bachelors of Engineering

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:34 pm UTC

So, in biology, I was told as a technician that once you have a few years experience under your belt, you should never pay for further education. I don't know how that translates to other STEM fields, but getting a stipend (as tiny as it is) certainly factored into my decision to pursue additional education.
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Re: Masters of Engineering vs. Bachelors of Engineering

Postby sadredwhale » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:31 pm UTC

In regards to the cons you have posted, it's worth noting that if you're a UK student at a UK university getting the standard loans as the majority do, the £9000 government tuition fee loan and the £3600+ maintenance loan is basically free money in your 4th year. This is because monthly repayment amount is related to earnings rather than amount of debt, so provided that you aren't one of the <10% of people who are predicted to actually earn enough over 30 years to eventually pay back the whole amount, it shouldn't make any difference apart from additional living costs and loss of earnings. However, if you decided you wanted to do the MEng in the UK at a later date, as far as I know the government won't offer any financial support, so it would be down to you and/or your employer to pay the fees. It all gets complicated though when you leave the country. Just another thing to think about...

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Re: Masters of Engineering vs. Bachelors of Engineering

Postby D.B. » Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:51 am UTC

If you intend to carry on the engineering side of things in the workplace then getting an MEng makes it easier to apply for CEng or IEng status, which becomes highly desirable to advance further once you reach a certain point. You can still apply without an MEng based on experience in the workplace, but each institution handles that differently, so it might be worth looking that up to find out what it would require.


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