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Engineering at BrownU (Grad School.)

Atwo797Atwo797 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
Hi,

Before I get to my question : I have been through all the posts related to Engineering @ Brown, most provided some information, but it was not conclusive enough and often had divergent opinions - and several are outdated, hence I decided to start a new thread.

Background : I'm currently a final year mechanical engineering student (from Asia, and studying in Asia at the moment.) and I'm looking to go to graduate school for a Master's / PhD in Materials Science or an associated field.

I had a look at Brown's Curriculum and research field, and it appealed to me - and Brown as a university also has great appeal to me for their liberal arts approach. My main concern is - that most Ivy schools are thought not to be very strong at engineering. Is this true? And what is the credibility of this information?

Not only this, what would my prospects at employment in engineering be after a degree from here? (I know all that is subject to a LOT of factors, but generally speaking.)

Replies to: Engineering at BrownU (Grad School.)

  • Engineer80Engineer80 Registered User Posts: 423 Member
    I would recommend a STEM based school for engineering or materials science.
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 3,347 Senior Member
    If you want an Ivy name for engineering, go to Cornell, but as the above poster said, there are better options. https://www.msesupplies.com/blogs/news/117874308-2017-us-news-ranking-of-top-materials-engineering-graduate-programs
  • Engineer80Engineer80 Registered User Posts: 423 Member
    edited August 21
    I also would take USNWR's rankings with more than just a grain of salt. USNWR is not in the business of providing objective educational advice. It is in the business of selling magazines, advertising, and subscriptions to its rankings. Their rankings are largely based upon subjective opinions of college administrators and are highly correlated with popularity and not objective measurements of quality, student outcomes, etc.
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 3,347 Senior Member
    I agree @Engineer80, but it can be a starting point. I've yet to see Brown in any top 20 list for graduate engineering.
  • boneh3adboneh3ad Forum Champion Engineering Posts: 7,393 Forum Champion
    Atwo797 wrote:
    I had a look at Brown's Curriculum

    This is pretty irrelevant in graduate school unless you are looking at specific, higher-level graduate courses that are not necessarily found most other places.
    Atwo797 wrote:
    research field

    This is not irrelevant, and as long as the school you are eyeing is a good research fit, that is the most important consideration here.
    Atwo797 wrote:
    Brown as a university also has great appeal to me for their liberal arts approach.

    This is also completely irrelevant. You are not going to get a liberal arts graduate degree, nor are you going to take liberal arts courses as part of your engineering graduate degree.
    Atwo797 wrote:
    most Ivy schools are thought not to be very strong at engineering. Is this true? And what is the credibility of this information?

    Generally speaking, this is true. Ivy League schools have historically not viewed engineering as a a pure enough science to warrant academic study and left it to the land-grant universities to teach it. It has only been in relatively recent decades that they started putting more effort into it, but they don't have that history that many of the state and polytechnic schools do. Several are good (e.g. Cornell and Princeton) and others have individual departments and research areas that are really good (e.g. Harvard's biomedical engineering), but otherwise, on average, engineering is just not really a big thing at those schools.
    Atwo797 wrote:
    Not only this, what would my prospects at employment in engineering be after a degree from here?

    When it comes to a PhD, your employment prospects depend much more on who your advisor was than on what school you attended. It's the connections made through your lab that will most likely lead to your future job.
    Engineer80 wrote:
    I would recommend a STEM based school for engineering or materials science.

    I wouldn't necessarily go that far. Plenty of top programs and top research groups in their respective fields are based at, for example, state schools, which are far broader than STEM-based schools. These are all good options as well.
  • xraymancsxraymancs Forum Champion Graduate School Posts: 4,572 Forum Champion
    A @boneh3ad says, the liberal arts approach is only relevant for an undergraduate degree. In a graduate program you would be taking courses in your discipline and then mostly doing research. Find the programs who have faculty who are doing the kind of research you are interested in and apply there. Brown might be one of those but only if it meets this criterion.
  • eyemgheyemgh Registered User Posts: 4,819 Senior Member
    To expand on what @boneh3ad and @xraymancs said, you are really seeking a person, and not a school. If no one at Stanford is doing what you are interested in, then you wouldn't choose Stanford. The same applies to Brown. Choose it if, and ONLY if, there is research being done there that you wish to expand upon.
  • Engineer80Engineer80 Registered User Posts: 423 Member
    @boneh3ad - The broader university as opposed to a STEM based school is less relevant to an engineering graduate student since, as one of the other commenters pointed out, the master's or PhD program in engineering or materials science is going to consist solely of courses related to engineering and materials science. Non-subject specific general education or liberal arts courses are normally not required for graduate programs.
  • eyemgheyemgh Registered User Posts: 4,819 Senior Member
    In making such a statement you throw out engineering powerhouses like Stanford, Berkeley, Wisconcin, Illinois, etc. I could go on and on with a relevant list. Suffice it to say, the above advice is inaccurate.
  • boneh3adboneh3ad Forum Champion Engineering Posts: 7,393 Forum Champion
    edited August 22
    Engineer80 wrote:
    The broader university as opposed to a STEM based school is less relevant to an engineering graduate student since, as one of the other commenters pointed out, the master's or PhD program in engineering or materials science is going to consist solely of courses related to engineering and materials science. Non-subject specific general education or liberal arts courses are normally not required for graduate programs.

    The most important factor is research in the area of interest of a given student. Whether or not the university as a whole has programs in other fields is completely irrelevant. A prospective student should evaluate a given department based on their own research goals. If the department of choice is at a STEM-focused university, then great. If it is at a more broad university, also great.

    It just so happens that many of the public, land grant universities that, as a whole, have very broad undergraduate offerings also have some of the best engineering programs in the US. In addition to the ones that @eyemgh pointed out, narrowing the focus to a STEM-focused university also eliminates other such schools as Michigan, Purdue, Virginia Tech, Texas, Texas A&M, Florida, Penn State, Colorado, Washington, Maryland, and many others that are broadly-focused universities that also have very significant engineering programs. There really is no reason to artificially reduce the scope of one's school search like that.
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