I want to do interdisciplinary research in CS and neuroscience and I think attending at least some form of a grad program that gets me to the level of being able to publish and be taken seriously in neuroscience after finishing a MS in CS will give me a good edge both ways.

At the same time I do not want to leave the industry and take the lifestyle hit or lose my edge in engineering. I am not worried about the workload since I imagine it will not be different than my current situation already working full time and doing school.

I am more worried about grad programs being geared towards exclusive attendance causing issues with daytime conflicts, reduced faculty support, having to relocate etc. which I do not see worth the sacrifice since all I want out of it is to be able to do research, write and publish interdisciplinary work without putting my foot in my mouth, rather than committing to an entire career track.

Is there a realistic way I can accomplish this?

  • 1
    what kind of interdisciplinary research? Neuroscientists want to learn about nature. Computer scientists want to make new technology. If the latter (e.g. biologically-inspired A.I. or something) the amount of neuroscience you need to know is pretty limited. A CS dept might even have a class for you. Meanwhile to get "taken seriously" in biology research might take a phd plus a career focused in precisely the brain region / developmental stage / model organism you want to publish about. – A Simple Algorithm Oct 30 '19 at 21:41
  • That's... one way of simplifying those two massive fields with dozens of almost mutually exclusive sub-disciplines each. In my case I want to mix research in cognitive neuroscience, systems theory, algorithm design etc – Layman Oct 30 '19 at 23:31
  • maybe I need to simplify it even more. Research is performed to extend the frontiers of knowledge. What frontier are you interested in trying to extend? Also your first paragraph (i.e. sentence) is a bit hard to parse. Do you already have the MS?. – A Simple Algorithm Oct 31 '19 at 0:38
  • I don't think you should. I want to do research from a complex systems perspective. Cognitive neuroscience has implications in software engineering, software engineering has implications in computer science and computer science has implications in cognitive neuroscience, and vice versa. Having a mastery of all three would allow exploring that combined frontier which is what I want to do – Layman Nov 1 '19 at 1:08

Speaking only for the US, there are graduate programs that have courses primarily in the evenings to accommodate working people. But most people may not want to take a full course load of, say, four courses with the associated work. These programs are probably concentrated in large cities, I guess.

And it is doctoral programs that are more likely to be research focused than another MS. And evening only doctoral programs are more rare, I would suppose.

But, do you really want two full-time jobs? Both your work and schooling will require a heavy commitment. Does 80 or so hours a week work for you. Do you have other commitments on time and focus (family, etc).

Whether your current MS program in CS is more or less intense than studying neuroscience, I can't say. But go in with full knowledge.

So, possible, yes. But a very hard road for a couple of years at least.

An alternative might be a program (probably rare in the US) that is entirely research based and doesn't require much coursework. If you have a project that doesn't require your physical presence during the day it might work out. But still, 80 or so hours.

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