Find the right graduate program for you
It is exciting to see the opportunities that a graduates degree will bring to your future career. The College of Engineering has several programs, making it easy to find one that will help launch you towards reaching your career goals.
Let’s say you’ve got an offer letter for a full-time job just waiting for your signature. This is great, yet there’s some hesitation — you’ve been considering pursuing a master’s degree. Do you take the full-time offer and drop the idea of grad school? Do you try to do both and manage your time as you start a new chapter? Do you take the full-time offer and swear you’ll go back to school in a few years? Do you decline the full-time offer and go-all in for grad school?
First of all, there is no “right” answer. Each option is a great choice and will lead you to many different opportunities. Here’s why I decided on the last option.
I’m finishing up my fifth tour as a NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) intern. With over a year’s worth of experience, I had the option to apply to convert to a full-time employee, but I would not be anywhere near where I am today without research. I started working with the Bioastronautics and Human Performance lab in my second semester, which led me to compete in a NASA competition and then to a NASA internship. From there, I circled back and now have a few research papers with my name on them. This led me to the JSC Pathways program.
To give my undergraduate research efforts justice, I’m pursuing my Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering focusing on what I want to do full time at NASA JSC. This will allow me to couple my internship experience with unique research and a thesis, putting me in a better place to communicate about my discipline and ultimately allow me to be a better leader. I’ll have a tangible thesis to commemorate my body of work and bring that to my engineering tasks on my NASA team. Typically in getting a master’s degree, it’s about digging a little deeper and establishing strong roots in your discipline.
While going full time may be the easiest financial option, there are plenty of fellowships, and many master of science degrees have scholarships at Texas A&M. It’s also hard to get acclimated to a new job; coupling that with a remote/online master’s program may be stressful and prolonging.
A master’s degree will not only allow you to start in a higher pay grade but will also catapult you to a new level of thinking and approaching your discipline. Whether you’re considering a master of science, engineering or even business, I suggest looking at the bigger picture of your goals and where you see yourself in ten years.
As John F. Kennedy put it:
“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”