I am an Electronics & Communication Engineer and I want to pursue a masters degree. After completing the degree, I would like to work in industry with zero inclination towards a PhD.

I am considering two institutions and two possible specializations (e.g., VLSI vs. Signal Processing). I prefer one institution over the other because of its general reputation, faculty, placements, and lab facilities. I prefer one specialization over the other because of personal preference, prior knowledge in the specialization field, type of possible jobs, and placements in the specialization field.

Suppose I am offered acceptance into the more-preferred specialization at my less-preferred university, and the less-preferred specialization at my more-preferred university.

Which option will better position me for my eventual goal, of completing the masters degree and getting a job in industry? Which criteria is more important in choosing a masters program, the institution or the specialization?


2 Answers 2


If your interest is in "industry," I'd choose a school based on the institution. Most employers look at that as the "headline," and often "gloss over" the actual content of the degree.

If your interest was in research, I'd go the other way and emphasize "specialization." Because that is what research is basically about.

  • Assuming that your preferred institution is regarded more favourably by the general public. That may not be the case. Jul 24, 2014 at 14:38
  • @FionaTaylorGorringe: "General reputation, faculty, placements, and lab facilities" spells "regarded more favorably by the general public" to me. Reminds me of my nephew's choice between Carnegie Mellon University and a "specialized" institution like Case Western Reserve.
    – Tom Au
    Jul 24, 2014 at 15:31

i would recommend specialization primarily because better knowledge of the subject and personal preference will most likely yield better results and though the institution name is a factor for job applications, being the best at what you do will always tramp the good reputation of an institution (this is my opinion IF the job supply in both areas of expertise is pretty much the same)

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