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PLEASE give me an answer - Do most PhD students get a tuition waiver/stipend?


Replies to: PLEASE give me an answer - Do most PhD students get a tuition waiver/stipend?

  • viciouspoultryviciouspoultry Registered User Posts: 837 Member
    Ok I misspoke, you can get a PhD in Math or Physics with engineering but you would more than likely have to take much more classes outside of the generally required ones. And electives may or may not be enough , a better suggestion is to plan on taking several actual major courses (not the water downed intro courses).
  • cosmicfishcosmicfish Registered User Posts: 4,275 Senior Member
    FWIW, I personally know EE undergrads who got math and physics masters degrees, as well as an EE/math double major and an EE/econ double major.

    ChemE and MatSE to Chemistry is definitely possible, but brings up another point I should have mentioned. Generally speaking, you are only ever going to be really qualified to go into a few specialties in any given field. For example, I have a BSEE, but would not be competitive applying to grad school for control systems since I only ever took the most basic required course in that area. You are even more restricted if you are crossing fields - as a ChemE there would several areas in Chemistry where you would lack the depth required to be competitive. There would still be several other areas where you should be able to get in.
  • sic_infitsic_infit Registered User Posts: 564 Member
    I like Chemistry, but can you really tell from high school chemistry if you will like graduate school chemistry?

    and - does anyone know what the job market for a Chem PhD is like, or should I post in the Science Majors?
  • viciouspoultryviciouspoultry Registered User Posts: 837 Member
    How about instead of worrying about whether or not you will like graduate chemistry and instead see if you even like undergraduate chemistry, which is a very broad subject to begin with. The point of a baccalaureate degree is to find your strengths and use those strengths in various ways. You might want to go on to professional school, or graduate school, or maybe you will be sick of school and just go on with you undergraduate degree. You are still in high school, and you still have 4 or 5 years of college to find what you want to do with your life.

    Its not a bad thing that you are ambitious about your future, but before you can contemplate which graduate school facilitates your best skills, you need to actually take undergraduate courses and find your strengths. High school and college are not very similar and it is not practical to base your strengths on what you did or how you did in high school.
  • sic_infitsic_infit Registered User Posts: 564 Member
    Well the reason I don't want to start with chemistry is because engineering is more versatile, can't you go onto more things starting with engineering first?
  • hadsedhadsed Registered User Posts: 738 Member
    You really can't plan your life out like this. There are people who have read up on their fields of study, read the books for the higher level work, actually done the work for them, actually have research experience, etc. and those people are somewhat qualified to be planning out their lives 10 years in advance. Until you've either done that or taken classes, you really can't know what you'd 'like' to do even for a master's degree, and without research experience there's no way to know if you'd like to do a Ph.D.

    I think you ought to just choose a field, study it further as much as you can and if you realize you like it, then see if you can get into research at your school in that field. If you decide you hate it, then good thing you did so early enough so that you can move on to another subject.
  • jack63jack63 Registered User Posts: 613 Member
    My thoughts....
    I'm still really unclear about this. Can I count on spending 150k undergrad knowing that I will have a tuition waiver in graduate school?

    The simple answer is NO. It is more complicated than this. Most students in a Phd haven't paid any tuition, however I do know some who have....even at top ten schools. Most masters students pay tution. Also, about 40% of the students who graduate from a PhD program initially get in as a Masters student and then transfer into the PhD program. They usually pay tuition to get into the Masters program, and then stop paying tution when they transfer into the PhD program. Masters programs are usually less cometitive, so there is a sense in which you can "buy into" a PhD program by first getting into the Masters program. Also many students will pay to get into the best Masters program they can, and then they will use this to then apply to different and better PhD programs. Also, students can work inbetween the Masters and PhD programs...like me. I disagree that paying for a Masters is a bad idea. It can be a very marketable degree if you work in industry afterwards. It also has the potential to get you into a better PhD program.....the reputation of your PhD program does make a difference when you apply for research jobs and academic jobs. Finally, often you can find some sort of full or partial funding as a Masters student after you pay for a semester or two.
    If this were true, it would make sense for every engineer to get their PhD, so what am I missing?

    It is not true, and it is very competitive for engineers to get into PhD programs. I do agree that if it were true, there would be strong motiviation for many engineers to get a PhD.
  • viciouspoultryviciouspoultry Registered User Posts: 837 Member
    My honest suggestion is write down what you are interested in and take classes pertaining to it. Yes, Engineering is more versatile but that's not to say that chemistry is not versatile. Take Engineering classes and chemistry classes or Chemical Engineering or whatever. If Economics interests you take intro to micro/macro along with Engineering. If you feel Economics is more suited to you, change your major.

    Right now graduate school should not be you prerogative, it can be something in the back of your mind, but right now all you should concentrate on is graduating high school and doing well in college. Whether or not you want to go to grad school, and especially for what will come to you more naturally as you keep learning and taking classes.
  • cosmicfishcosmicfish Registered User Posts: 4,275 Senior Member
    Well the reason I don't want to start with chemistry is because engineering is more versatile, can't you go onto more things starting with engineering first?
    This statement shows so much of your problem - you don't really know what you want to do! Is engineering more versatile? A bit, yes, but it's not that big a deal compared to the hard sciences - in other words, being a chemical engineer does not make you that much more versatile than being a chemist, it just makes you more marketable than a comparative literature major.

    The best solution is to keep your options open until you decide what you really want to do - at most schools you have a year or two before you really need to declare a major. I do recommend that you start out as an engineering major if you have any interest in actually being an engineer - ABET puts enrollment caps on many engineering majors, and getting in often require walking a vary particular path, while getting out of engineering is quite easy. Regardless, figure out what you want to do and major in that - it will give you your best chance for success. Work hard and do well at it (whatever it is) and you should do fine.

    EDIT: Dang, vicious, you beat me to the punch!
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