I am a Final Year Mechanical Engineering student. I want to do my Masters in the Design Engineering field. Currently I can see 2 options:

  1. Master of Science - offered in many Universities ex: GeorgiaTech. It deals more with research. It requires a research thesis most of the times. It gets completed in about 2 years.

  2. Master of Engineering - offered in few Universities ex: Cornell University. It deals more with developing your skills required for doing a job in that field. It does not require a research thesis. It gets completed in a year.

So, my question is: 1. What exactly do we learn/develop skills/improve/do, etc in each of these programs.

  1. I am unable to get a clear picture as to what exactly will be the change in me brought by each of these programs?

  2. What distinguishes a M.S. Graduate from a M.Eng. Graduate & vice versa?

  3. And which one of these Graduates get jobs in Companies easily in the related field?

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    How did the recruiters you talked to answer this question? You did ask some recruiters this question, didn't you? – JeffE Apr 29 '13 at 16:17
  • which recruiters are you talking about @JeffE? – user6392 Apr 30 '13 at 5:43
  • Any recruiters. The ones who regularly visit the school where you are getting your MechE degree, at career fairs and the like. – JeffE May 1 '13 at 2:22

The main practical difference between the two degrees, as you point out, is the requirement of a research thesis for the MS degree. Generally, if you have aspirations of eventually getting a PhD, you should strongly consider the MS, as research experience or potential is a large factor in being admitted to a PhD program.

To answer your specific question, you should be a better researcher after completing an MS, and you will be better prepared for further graduate work. With an ME degree (considered a "terminal" degree), you'll simply have a Master's degree and (potentially) may have spent more time on your coursework. Whether or not this prepares you better for a position in industry is debatable -- as you say, many ME programs are one year, which may actually include fewer classes than an equivalent MS (although I've generally seen ME programs that have one or two more classes as a requirement than the equivalent MS degree).

As to which degree leads to more jobs in industry, I'd say it's probably about the same. Getting an MS will certainly not limit your competitiveness for industry jobs, while (as I already mentioned), an ME may limit your competitiveness for PhD programs.

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  • I absolutely do not aspire to acquire a PhD degree :) – user6392 Apr 29 '13 at 10:06
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    What you say I have already read on the Internet. Can you please give some information from your personal experience? Thanks for answering my question. – user6392 Apr 29 '13 at 10:10
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    If you don't want to get a PhD, then I'd suggest finding a program that best meets your particular industry goals -- e.g., if you want to design cars, find a program that focuses on that. Your goal should probably be to learn as many of the technical details as you can. The only trouble with that plan is that in most engineering jobs you end up learning the specifics for each job once you are employed. – Chris Gregg Apr 29 '13 at 10:13
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    I do not understand how a PhD degree can help engineers in their jobs. Its fine for scientists/physicists, etc but how is a PhD degree going to be of any use while working for a company? Until & unless for example, you work with Shell & have done a PhD on various types of lubricants. Then its fine. But on a broader perspective, lets say for a Design Engineer how will the company benefit from the research study of a prospective employee? I am a bit confused on this aspect, so please bear with me if I may have been a bit incorrect here, Sorry. – user6392 Apr 29 '13 at 10:32
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    A PhD degree is useful for working in research and development operations, where you're more likely to be working on "leading edge" stuff. A master's degree encompasses some of that (especially if you do a research thesis). – aeismail Apr 29 '13 at 14:21

I have studied a MEng which is accredited by the engineering Council UK for chartered status. I disagree that in a MEng you don't do research, as I recall I did two group projects and a Thesis. With varied coursework and subject matter and examinations. You can do a PhD from both a MEng and MSc, it does not matter how you start, it's how you finish is the old saying.

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MSc, MEng and a PhD are all high level degrees, in the UK the highest you can be in industry from the engineering council Uk is a chartered engineer. Minimum qualification for this is a MEng or a Msc accedited by the engineering council. Even with a PhD the maxium in industry is a chartered engineer, unless you intend to go into high level research or goverment, or a big multinational or a Research and Development role then a Phd is usefull. Saying this you dont learn any new core subjects as such on a PhD program rather you research it and draw from you exsposure, experiance, and academic knowlege. After all what can they teach you academia after you get a master.., it say's what it is on the tin if you like .., you have mastered your trade.

'Chartered Engineers develop appropriate solutions to engineering problems. They may develop and apply new technologies, promote advanced designs and design methods and introduce new and more efficient production techniques, or pioneer new engineering services and management methods. The title CEng is protected by civil law and is one of the most recognisable international engineering qualifications'.


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MSc - focuses on theoretical work, research and is thesis based MEng - focuses on practical applications of theories, less research compared to MSc, mostly course based work.

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