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MIT student blogger Bryan O. '07

Musings on Graduate School by Bryan

Starting to think about graduate school...

While Mollie has pretty much sent off all her applications for graduate school, I’ve just started to ponder what life is going to be like in about 18 months.

So today, I attended an info session on the Masters of Engineering in Biological Engineering. A Masters of Engineering is a 5th year Masters that is offered only to MIT undergrads. You apply in your junior year, and you find out before your senior year. Now what’s nice about it is that you get a masters in just 1 additional year, but right now my life goal magic 8 ball really says that I want a PhD, so right now I’m thinking why not just enter a PhD program off the bat?

What I guess is nice about the BE MEng is that I get to see what life as a grad student is like without the commitment, but then if I like it, would the MEng be a wasted degree since I would have a PhD as well? Right now, I think the answer is yes and no. For example, I’ve often heard of the stigma that those people who have PhDs have when they enter the work force that they are labelled as researchers and end up becoming the head scientist for a company but never the CEO. If I had a PhD and an MEng, I could only list my MEng on my resume and not the PhD. While this sounds loony, I’ve talked to a few people who have done this before. I don’t know how true the PhD/head scientist combo is because most of the people I know with PhD’s have stayed in academia which is what I think I’d want to do with a PhD, but I’m 20 years old, so that could change very quickly.

Phew…that’s enough pondering about life for now.

If you want more info about MEng programs:
Course 6 – Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Course 3 – Materials Science and Engineering
BE – Biological Engineering
Course 2 – Masters of Engineering in Manufacturing
Course 1 – Civil and Environmental Engineering
22 – Nuclear Science and Engineering

3 responses to “Musings on Graduate School”

  1. Jessie says:

    Damn. I’d actually intended to go to that info session. N hours/day of MASLab is making me forget to do other things.

  2. Chandresh says:

    W.r.t. your last line: “Phew…that’s enough pondering about life for now.” Perhaps it’s not enough; there’s plenty of decisions you could try to algorithm-ize now. Anyway, you could (like me 8) ) plan to learn a bit of everything. [ My most confident mix looks like this, with at least one Phd: PlentyMath + Comp.Sci + Languages + [AstroEngi OR Actuarial Science] + [Corporate Anthropology OR Political Science], with a long list of maybe’s. And of course teaching [math] is nice.] Aha! Maybe you could embody the drive to learn [if you’re willing to use any spare time, while working, to study]. Apparently I’m not being very coherent, so I’ll finish with a related question: Do [MIT] professors take courses? 8) byebye %—–
    AUTHOR: Chandresh
    EMAIL: [email protected]
    DATE: 01/11/2006 02:21:49 PM
    I forgot to thank you for your linkies…

    Thanks for your linkies…


  3. Sam says:

    NO NO NO NO NO!!! Delete this entry, Bryan! I don’t want to think about grad school! I don’t want to take GRE’S! I just did this in high school! I don’t want to grow up!

    It’s weird, I had once thought about looking into an MEng in BE, and now even though I’m not really interested in an MEng or in BE anymore, it still feels weird to decide not to take any other BE classes or pursue it anymore… I’ve been trying to keep my options open for so long, I don’t want to close any.

    Anyhoo, just wanted to add–you can also MEng in Course 10 – Chemical Engineering, but you get a Master’s in “Chemical Engineering Practice,” which is supposed to imply that you’re more suited to working in a corporate environment than to research. I don’t think there’s a webpage about it, and they only take one or two from every graduating class, so it’s not as big as any of the ones you posted. However, in obtaining it, you might get to work in a real industry environment such scenic locations as Ireland, Minneapolis, and Elizabethtown, PA.