I have an affinity for Germany, and I've heard a lot about the growing value of international experience, so I'm entertaining the possibility of applying for an MS at a German institution. However, I'm afraid that leaving the US to study aerospace engineering is a bad idea because the US leads the aerospace industry (NASA budget > ESA budget, best aero university rankings, US institutional inertia, etc).

Thus, is it impractical for a US undergrad in aerospace engineering to pursue an MS in Germany?

I don't think it's impractical if I'm looking at the complete package of new knowledge/research, new engineering outlook, and cultural diversity, but I'd like to hear y'all's thoughts. I just learned about the DLR's masters programs, so keep 'em coming!

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    What do you mean by "practical"? Please edit your question to clarify your specific concerns. – ff524 Dec 27 '15 at 7:21
  • Are you planning to get a PhD afterwards (either in Germany or the US)? – Niko Dec 27 '15 at 10:18
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    I don't think it is practical, in the sense that you would have to relocate to a foreign country, where people speak a different language. On the other hand, having studied for my MS in two different countries I find the perspective this experience gave me invaluable, so I suggest you go for it. By the way, I think that your statistical sample is very skewed. AIAA is an American institution, so I assume these conferences were in the US: one would then expect that most (if not all) Europeans there would have, in your words, an affinity for the US. – A.P. Dec 27 '15 at 10:40
  • @Niko If I pursue a PhD, I'd like to study/research it in the US – techSultan Dec 28 '15 at 0:58

Why would it be a step back? After all, a large part of the Rosetta/Philae mission last year was planned and executed by German researchers.

You can just apply to any MS program (or just to the programs which are held in English if your German isn't good enough) and get a decent MS over here, but if you want to pursue a specific goal and do a really great MS, you should scout out MS thesis opportunities before you come.

Find a professor at a German university whose research you're interested in and apply for the MS there. Or line up a thesis opportunity at one of the research organizations and then apply to the MS program that the institution is affiliated with. For example, the DLR (German Aerospace Center) offer MS thesis topics.

"every European student I met at an AIAA conference" is a very small subset of every European AERO student. And they've probably heard a lot about "the growing value of international experience", too, so it's natural for them to want to come to the US since they already speak English.

  • Hmm, I hadn't considered the DLR's MS programs. I think I need to research grad school in Germany before I do anything else. – techSultan Dec 28 '15 at 2:07

Absolutely yes, it is practical and No it is not step back. I think your fear is based on anecdotal experience, you met somewhere some student and they express doing MS in USA?? I dont think so, most students go to study PhD in USA not MSc, primarily because it is easier and less stressful ( In germany, you get a working contract and have specific amount of years to finish 3years or rarely 4) Also MSc in germany are free, so I cannot understand logic behind going to do MSc in USA. educational and research part depend on institution that you choose, but other positive aspects could be living in totally different part of the world and finishing studies can maybe give you some skills that you wouldnt have if you stayed in USA ( Honestly, I cant tell you any particular one, for me MSc was just continuation of BSc degree, but surely in today's world this kind of mobility is favorable) EU invest a lot of educational budget into mobility schemes (Erasmus+, erasmus Mundus, CEEPUS, WERAMED...etc)

  • why people are not explaining downvotes?? – SSimon Dec 27 '15 at 15:28
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    Probably because it's not well organized and is hard to read because of the typos and run-on sentences. – aeismail Dec 28 '15 at 2:55

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