Terminal degree increase possibility of acceptance?

I’m a senior undergrad in Aerospace Engineering at a state school. I got a full ride, so it was an offer I couldn’t afford to decline. I need to go to grad school for personal reasons, but I do not want a PhD. So, I would like to attend a nicer university for grad school. I understand that everyone has mixed opinions on that, but I can afford it and have to go to grad school anyway. I have no intention of going for a thesis type master or pursuing research.
Will applying for a terminal degree help my chances of getting into such schools or is the benefit negligible?
What I really want to know is if I should even bother applying to such schools
Schools are: UCLA, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Purdue, UCSD

I have a 3.44 GPA, and I think that is one of my biggest draw backs. I’m currently in an accelerated masters program, so I’m going to grad school even if I don’t get into any of those 5, I’d just really want to go else where. My GRE is pretty good, I test well. I’ve been involved in a lot of major related projects and clubs on campus, with leadership positions. I’ve had 2 internships, an aerospace subcontractor (not one of the big ones) in R&D, and BMW. As for my grades, covid learning was hit or miss with me and tanked my GPA but I’ve already completed 2 grad classes (both with an A) so I hope that reflects on progress.
I guess, to reiterate, should I bother applying? I don’t really want a “why not?” or “Grad school admissions are so up in the air,” which I hear everywhere else. I need someone to be brutally honest and tell me if my chances are high (>50%) or if I should focus on different schools.

Should you - it’s hard to say as they don’t all post gpa minimums. But nothing wrong with a 3.44.

You should apply I’m guessing but check curriculum - not sure Purdue is right for you here - but if you supplement your list with schools like these - an Alabama, Arizona, Cincinnati, Missouri S&T, Wichita State, etc. - you’ll have a great quality admittance no matter what.

And while I’m not sure MS jobs are as plentiful as BS jobs, you’ll likely have great placement opportunities.

Good luck.

But you are wondering if applying for a PhD increases your chances? I seriously doubt it.

A PhD application is really intense. You’ll have to do a lot of work just to have an application worth being considered. PhD’s are typically funded. That’s one reason it’s hard to be accepted to a PhD program. So I don’t think your strategy is going to work.


Here are the minimum requirements for Purdue: Graduate Admissions Procedures - School of Aeronautics and Astronautics - Purdue University.

Thank you! It is frustrating that they don’t post a lot GPA stats.
As for the schools you recommended, I’m currently attending one of them. I’m in the AMP program, which has automatic admission into the grad school, so I guess you could say it’s my “safety.”
I am curious why you don’t think Purdue is a good fit given its reputation in Aero. Is it a highly research oriented school?

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No I do not want a PhD, nor do I plan on applying for one. I plan on applying for an MS in Aero, as a non thesis (no research) degree. It’s definitely harder to get into PhD programs imo.


Okay, I know you don’t want a PhD. Applying for any terminal degree is very competitive. You need a really compelling app. That requires a lot of work. Maybe if you put the effort in and are able to be convincing, but getting to that point isn’t a strategy for admission. It’s hard work and they are going to use the utmost scrutiny.

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I could be incorrect, in which case, I hope you’ll let me know, but I thought MS programs are less competitive that PhD. The way terminal degrees were explained to me was that it was a masters degree that you had no intention on continuing onto a PhD. Is that incorrect or is that also highly competitive? In which case are you suggesting I apply to less competitive schools? I really appreciate any advice, the terminology is a little confusing.

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Less competitive doesn’t mean not competitive. I could be wrong. I am not an expert. I’ll tag @MYOS1634

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Didn’t say it’s not a good fit. I said check curriculum. Only because when I look at the majors I couldn’t find the aero engineering one. Just saying check curriculums to ensure any school has what you want. That’s all.

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So for engineering and especially aeuro your GPA is good. Look at each schools requirement and see if it makes sense. You can’t get into programs that you never apply to.

If transferring, would you have to retake any classes. That would be my main concern if a school didn’t honor classes. I would assume if your program is Abet then your fine.

Also does your 5 year BS /MS have some sort of continuation in learning that is just specific for your school?

Are you thinking the MS from one of these schools would afford you a better chance at employment? Change of scenery? Better pizza? :pizza::wink:

You can also just reach out to one of the schools or all and get some questions answered directly from the source.

Applying to ANY masters program is competitive. I think that is what the above esteemed poster was saying. Your in your best situation right now. Getting into a bs/ms program isn’t a geme. So be happy with that.

If you find you do qualify GPA etc wise then apply like anyone else. Sometimes you have to “bet on yourself” right?


What do you hope to accomplish with a Masters Degree in Aerospace? Employment? More exposure to the discipline? Or, is it just that you want to be able to say that you attended one of those schools?

Did you get any internship experience in your undergrad? Are you an international student?
Do you have a security clearance?

Most of the people, whom I know with advanced degrees, working in aerospace, had work experiences, through internships in their Junior and Senior years, before applying to those schools. The graduate programs expect you so have some knowledge of the industry through work experiences. Relevant experience helps to gauge what is out there in private corporations and businesses.

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My guess is OP is employable now - but he shows intern experience - to what tenure and responsibility, I don’t know.

Thank you, I missed that.

I stand corrected.

So, a Masters in Aerospace has to be from one of those schools? Why?

I would have some graduate credits to transfer, but all the schools above should accept some of not most of them for 2/5 they accept half of degree credits. This transfer requirement also played a big part in why I picked those schools.

No continuation that I know of.

I’m fully aware, that this won’t do too much for my employability. I get my citizenship around a year after I finish my undergrad. I’d like the ability to get security clearance before I head into the aerospace job market full time.

I feel like everyone’s big question is why go to grad school for that year instead of work in a different sector or something, to which I wasn’t too comfortable elaborating, so I’ll keep it vague. I have great financial incentive (living trust type deal) to get any degree above a bachelors. The change in scenery is also great lol. I also kinda want to experience life a bit more before going into a 9-5 full time.

Again I don’t want to be too specific, but I currently enroll at Alabama (not Huntsville). I mostly came here for the full ride, but Alabama is not really a place I wish to continue to live in if at all possible. The political climate here changed quite a bit since I first enrolled, and this also plays a role in the locations of the schools I picked.

I’m not sure I understand the transfer.

You’ve graduated - right?

I know Bama has a one year program. You might lose that elsewhere.

Just make sure you apply to a range of schools.

Good luck.

So I’m in the “Accelerated Masters Program”
I’m currently a senior. The program allows me to take graduate classes concurrently with undergraduate classes and has an automatic acceptance to the grad school built in. I have that and won’t lose it (as far as I know).
Those grad credits can transfer to another school, but only a few schools do this and to varying degrees (12 credits vs 15 for example)
If I stay at Bama, I’d only need to stay for an additional semester (or a summer and a fall depending on what I plan on signing up for next semester). That is a massive pro, but I do also consider the fact that if I stayed for 2 additional semesters I’d graduate with my citizenship as well as the fact that I do not enjoy living here. I’m considering my options. If I don’t get into any of the above schools, I can just stay at Bama anyway.

What makes you think you’d enjoy living in other places?

What don’t you like about Tuscaloosa?

The political climate in Indiana is no different. Virginia is run by an extremely conservative governor and Georgia is also very conservative.

Not sure what you’re missing or what rules you’re bothered by.

My son just graduated MechE, works in aero and never smelled a hint of politics at school.

I hope you do what’s best for you - but your reasoning doesn’t make sense to me. But I don’t know what you seek - but you might apply to schools in states/areas that meet what you’re looking for. If I had to guess and I don’t know what it is, you’ve got a set of schools that likely won’t be.

Good luck

All good reasons. I totally understand everything you are saying. But if you can get through one more year you can then work where you want to work. Find states that are suitable for you.

Again, apply broadly and see where you get accepted. Once again you won’t know till you will try.

Good Luck.

The OP gave you their reason. No reason not to understand it. They can work in California etc afterwards with 10,000 employeed in Aerospace. The world is changing and sometimes you have to change with it as well.