A graduate education should not be overlooked as a possible path for international students. A graduate degree in engineering can open several doors that may normally be possible in the engineering industry. By pursuing a master's degree in engineering international students can set themselves apart from other students for careers and explore several advanced options in engineering.
Promotions and Career Advancements
One major reason international students decide to a graduate degree in engineering is to gain a promotion or advancement in their careers. A master's degree in engineering is typically required to be considered an expert or top level engineer in most firms. The education taught in graduate programs allows students access to materials that are not usually taught in undergraduate programs. While undergraduate programs focus on the core principles of engineering, graduate programs teach students advanced level engineering functions while also diving into management philosophies and project management skills. These functions are very important to senior engineers who are expected to supervise and manage projects.
By pursuing a master's degree in engineering international students can gain major traction in their job and advance through management. With a graduate degree in engineering engineers have the opportunity to be team leads, supervisors and managers. This is a huge positive for engineers as it exposes them to the management at major projects and allows them to use the skills they have learned throughout their education. Senior engineers with management experience are a hot commodity in engineering. The potential for high salaries and challenging responsibilities make a graduate degree in engineering a huge benefit. Most companies will also pay a higher salary to employees with master's degree to compensate for their time and commitment to engineering.
Consider a Doctoral Degree
Another main advantage for international students who intend to earn a master's degree in engineering is the prospect to continue their education and become a real expert in the field by pursuing a doctoral degree. Most PhD programs require a master's degree before a student can begin to be a doctoral candidate. Doctoral degrees allow international students to teach and conduct fascinating research in engineering. This is a great opportunity for engineering students to educate the next generation of engineers. Some engineers choose to pursue a PhD later in their career while others decide to knock off the years of education immediately. Outside of teaching and research, students with a graduate degree in engineering also decide to start their own engineering companies in their respective discipline. Recently, students with a master's degree in engineering have taken to the technological industry with their computer engineering degrees to create cutting edge applications.
Timeframe, Courses, and Expectations
The timeframe to complete a traditional master's degree in engineering wholly depends on the program and the student. While most programs encompass two years' worth of courses, the exact path a student takes may be different. Most programs require between 30 and 36 semester credit hours. However, following the required courses is when the paths may differ. International students looking to finish with a terminal master's degree (or looking to end their education with a master's degree and not pursue a doctoral degree) are usually required to complete a comprehensive final exam which will test them in all of the materials they covered as part of the program. Students that wish to pursue a doctoral degree in the future will also have to complete this required test, but are advised to additionally complete a thesis paper. Undertaking a thesis is important aspect of getting into a future PhD program. A thesis shows a student's ability to conduct individual research and expresses to the admissions council the student's research interests. A thesis is individual research conducted by a student in their particular interests within engineering. A thesis usually is 50 pages or more and contains real references and citations to pertinent works in the field. The opportunity for internationals students to pursue an advanced degree cannot be overstated in the engineering field and will truly pay off.