Talk to me about Grad school/ ABET/ specifically Materials Eng

My son is a high school junior, but is wondering also about graduate programs. It looks like grad school programs aren’t really ABET certified. So how do you 1) find a grad school program - specifically materials engineering. 2) know that its a “quality” program.

Wondering this now b/c so many schools are offering a 5th year graduate/ early start program, so it will impact his undergrad decision. Also he’ll likely be national merit, and some schools are covering grad school, so again impacts his undergrad decision.

And anyone that has experience with BS or MS for Materials is welcome to share additional wisdom. Thanks!

At the graduate level, the student will be specializing in some subarea of the major, so the quality of a graduate program for a given student depends a lot on whether the student’s subarea interests are well represented among faculty and research areas.

For a current high school student who may not know the subareas of interest but is considering a school that offers a combined BS/MS program, consider the range of subareas of the major that the department is well represented in. Of course, if the student is not firm on the intended major, it may be less likely that this ends up as being relevant due to the possibility of changing major (though the new department then becomes relevant).

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Look at the faculty and see if they are well-funded by NSF or NIH. This is critical when selecting a grad school. Also, find out how students are supported for PhD. Do they have to teach or have fellowships? Top programs offer fellowships and no teaching.

I do not have a MS in Materials but a colleague is faculty at NCSU.

It’s just too early to be looking at grad schools for a HSer.

It’s ok to consider schools that offer a combine degree (BS/MS, sometimes called 4+1 programs). A few things to keep in mind (my son is graduating in May with his combine degree-BS/MS).

First, a lot of kids will pass on the additional year, to go straight into working. Especially if they did an internship at a company they like. You also have to weight the lost of 1 year salary ($70K+) with an additional year of school.

Second, the 4+1 program isn’t the same as normal graduate school/PHD program. He may decide to do the normal graduate program, and take a research assistant (RA) or Teaching Assistant (TA) offer to help pay for his expenses. These are competitive, and he may apply to several schools to land a slot (he wants). He could very well switch schools for graduate school.

With my son, the company that recruited him was willing to wait 9 months for him to finish his 5th year, and increased his offer based on the MS degree. Also it was in-state tuition, which in Florida is still very affordable. He’s also enjoying the grad classes, as they are usually much more interesting than the undergrad classes.

I wouldn’t be surprised if your son doesn’t decide until he finishes his junior year. There is no rush. The 4+1 is a nice option to have, but it’s one of many.

Good Luck!