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Everything Else » Questions from someone seeking a Masters Degree

March 18, 2015
by jmuthe
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I got a Bachelors degree in Electronics Engineering in 2005 , and have worked as an electronic technician since then. However, I want to go back for a Masters Degree so that I could be better qualified for an electronic engineering job. I have a few questions first.

1) If I do get a Masters degree, would it be pretty easy to get a decent paying job as an electronic engineer. Keep in mind that I had a 3.98 average when I got my Bachelors degree and have over eight years experience as an electronic technician. I always hear that there is a need for more engineers but I know that there are many types of engineers (electronic, mechanical, chemical, industrial, etc. ) Are electronic engineering jobs quite abundant all over the industrialized world or only in certain areas?

2) I did pretty good in college but I graduated almost ten years ago so a lot of what I learned may be lost. Do you have any suggestions of what material I should review in the few months before I would attend college?

3) I am interested in a university that says that the program is Masters by Research, which I never heard of before. Apparently, instead of attending classes, the student would submit a dissertation topic and spend their time researching and completing their dissertation. I think that this makes the course more flexible but it doesn't make sense to me.

The reason why people attend college is to receive formal training. Sure, they could learn how to do something on their own without attending school but it is easier to learn something when you have formal training. However, with a research course, you spend the whole time doing a dissertation. You do the dissertation by relying on your previous knowledge, doing research, and by figuring things out on your own. Basically, if I am understanding correctly, the students basically teaches themselves. However, why should a student go to college to receive formal training if they are just going to teach themselves. Can't they teach themselves without going to college by doing their own research.

If other people have taken a Masters by research in Electronics then could they specifically explain how the programs works? I know that you are assigned a supervisor to assist you but does the supervisor ever teach you anything new or do you have to figure everything out on your own? What are your opinions on a Masters by Research degree in electronics? Do you like them or would have preferred formal classes?

March 19, 2015
by BobaMosfet
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jmuthe-

Irregardless of institution, they MUST accredited. Simply call a local college or university and ask if credits from 'Masters by Research' will transfer. Their answer will tell you a great deal. Check the BBB and do a Google search on them and complaints.

Otherwise, sounds like a scam. You pay money, you teach yourself, you're stuck with the results with no refund-- SCAM.

I would recommend a technical college, if you go this route. I doubt you need more credits in history, or grammar, etc.

BM

March 19, 2015
by BobaMosfet
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The reason I mention accreditation is usually if an institution isn't accredited-- employers won't accept their teaching.

BM

March 19, 2015
by sask55
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I am curios about the term “engineer” as it is used in the US.

In Canada an engineer in any field of practice is a Certification and license issued by the provincial or territorial engineering regulatory body. It is much like the term “MD” used for medical doctor. In order to legally use the term engineer the individual must obtain the education, skills, knowledge and experience required to be licensed to practise engineering in Canada. Engineering graduates can practise engineering only if a licensed engineer assumes responsibility for the work.

If you are intending to become a engineer or P.Eng then the question becomes is the education obtained recognized by the licensing body in the area you intend to practice.

March 19, 2015
by jmuthe
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I am not really worried about the university being a scam. I have dual citizenship for both the USA and Malta, since I was born in the USA but my parents are from Malta. Malta is a small European country in the Mediterranean Sea and it is part of the European Union. Since it is so small, it only has one University which is the University of Malta (UOM).

If the UOM was a scam, then there wouldn't be a single accredited University in all of Malta. That means that all the doctors, engineers, lawyers, and other skilled professionals in Malta wouldn't have a valid degree unless they were educated in another country. In fact, even the current and past prime ministers of Malta went to the University of Malta. The University has been around since 1592. If the university is a scam then I say bravo to the scammers. That is a very impressive scam, especially since the University would have been scamming people for over 400 years without getting caught.

All joking aside though, I appreciate your concern and it is good to know that I am not the only one who thinks that the research degree is a little weird. I looked at some reviews for the University and many of the students seem to like it, although I don't know what specific course the reviewers took.

I also looked up the term research degree and several Universities have them. They are official. I know that if I do get a Masters degree from the University, it will be a valid one. However, when I graduate I want more than just a diploma. I want to know that I learned as much as I could in the time I spent learning there.

If there are any people here that took a research Masters degree (especially in Electronics) I would like them to explain how the process worked and tell me if they thought they learned a lot from it. Also tell me if you had to basically teach yourself or if your supervisor also taught you many things that you wouldn't have learned if you didn't go to the University.

March 20, 2015
by scootergarrett
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OK I will chime in. I got my masters in mechanical engineering from a state school (which is accredited) and I was a research assistant. Which means I worked on a project that a professor had funding for (through the government) which payed for school and I got payed just enough to get by. I took graduate level classes(learned a lot) and worked on my project, thats it. It was always kind of a joke in our program that no one pays for school in money, just blood and sweat. I glad I did it and happy its over. I did a quick write up of my work as it applies to nerdkits here

March 20, 2015
by jmuthe
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scootergarrett

I think is is necessary for students to do research and work on projects while they attend college. In fact, I did electronic senior projects when I went for my Bachelors degree and learned a lot from it. I also do little project all the time now with the Nerdkit. However, I would not have been able to do the undergraduate senior project without the information that I learned from my formal classes.

I think that our situations are different. You may have done research when you went for your Masters, but you said in your post that you still took classes. I assume that the information you learned from your classes helped you with your project. In your opinion, does a research degree seem like a good thing or do you think that it is not very practical without taught graduate level classes? Would you still have been able to do your research without those graduate level classes?

March 21, 2015
by Ralphxyz
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jmuthe, have you spoken with the University? None of us seem to have a definition of "Masters by research".

March 21, 2015
by sask55
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Jmuthe

I don’t think it is a matter of a scam or not, it is more of a case of how much is the education valued in the location you are attempting to work. There are a lot of cases where a person is very qualified in one jurisdiction and cannot directly apply their qualifications in another jurisdiction. I personally know of Medical doctors educated, trained and having practiced medicine in one country that can not practice medicine at all in the country they are now living, without considerable further accreditation involving months and possibly years of education and training.

It seams to me you are in an excellent position to evaluate how much your previous education is valued where you are attempting to find work. It really does not matter how much it is valued in Malta, if you are attempting to find work somewhere else. Is it your experience that your Bachelors degree in Electronics Engineering is recognized and considered to the same extent as a similar degree are from an American collage? Could you, if you wished, apply your existing educational credits towards a master degree at a local collage/ university? In other words is your previous education recognized and valued where you are now, as it would be in Malta?

If you do feel that your existing degree is valued then you have good reason to believe that further education from the same institution would also be valued. However, if you feel that you pervious education is undervalued or not being recognized fully then it will likely be the same with any Masters degree from the same institution.

I have a four year Bachelors degree in Agricultural Engineering, also from a well respected university. I am acquainted with a number of professional engineers. My son has two degrees, Electrical engineering and computer science. He has bean doing digital design work for a major international company for more then a decade. He has been the technical lead on the design phase of several very large scale telecommunication IC chips. It seams a bit odd to me that a person that graduated with a 3.98 average with a Bachelors degree in Electrical engineering from an accredited and recognized institution would have any trouble getting a well paying job rite out of collage.

Being in the field, you would have a much better feel for this then I do. Do you believe your situation is typical for people that would have graduated from a respected American university with a 3.98 GPA in electrical engineering? Most of the people I know that have degrees in engineering are compensated very well.

I would have to ask myself if the further education you are considering will be regarded and valued in the location you intend to seek work.

March 28, 2015
by jmuthe
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After thinking about it for a while, I think I had a simple solution. I found an open Facebook page of people that took all types of engineering courses from that University. My goal was to join that group and then ask the members some questions. I specifically want to ask former students, who took that Research Masters course, what they thought of the course.

However, one problem that I have is that I don't want my friends and family to know that I may be interested in going to the University yet. None of my Facebook friends are part of the open group. However, I hear that if a group is public and you join and/or post on it, all your Facebook friends will see this information.

I tried to create a fake Facebook account to join this group, but it seems that the Facebook administrators knew it was fake and asked for ID to prove it is real? Does anybody know how I could join the Facebook page and ask questions without all my Facebook friends knowing?

May 04, 2015
by jmuthe
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Hello, After thinking about it for a while, I thought that it would probably be best to go to a university nearby that offers a taught masters program in electrical/electronic engineering. I live in Queens, New York and am looking for a University in New York City, Nassau, or possibly Suffolk. I have a few in mind such as StonyBrook, Polytechnic University, and City University. Does anybody have any other suggestions of nearby colleges that may have the Masters programs so that I could look into them? Thanks

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