Discussion Thread

  • 1.  Undergraduate and Graduate School at the Same University

    Posted 06-03-2019 10:04 AM
    With students graduating last month, I want to start some discussion on the benefits and drawbacks of attending both undergraduate and graduate school at the same university. I personally attended both at the same university and in my experience, it was a great decision as I already knew the professors and was able to get a great research project. Some people see this as the "easy" option but there is nothing easy about a graduate degree. I was able to perform at a higher level and digest the topics easier as I knew the teaching style of the professors. I have come to realize that the learning starts from within, the greatest engineers don't necessarily come from the best universities, but are forged by a personal desired to learn and succeed in this profession. 

    In your opinion is it a good idea to attend undergraduate and graduate school at the same university? Why or why not?

    Luis Duque EIT,A.M.ASCE
    Structural Engineer
    Broomfield CO

  • 2.  RE: Undergraduate and Graduate School at the Same University

    Posted 06-04-2019 07:50 AM
    I to attended undergrad and graduate at the same university. I did this more as a stop gap between finishing my bachelors and finding a full time job, as I was having difficulty finding a position. I found going to the same university to be rather limiting. I had already taken some graduate level courses at the end of my bachelors, since these courses counted as credit towards my bachelor's I was limited in the options I could take to complete my masters. I did find the course work easier partly due to having the same professors. My school did offer a significant discount to me because of my undergrad GPA, and I did not have to take the GRE. Unless you already have a plan in mind or are looking for specific areas of study not offered at your school, I think attending undergrad and graduate school at the same university is fine.

    Gabriel Amaya EIT,A.M.ASCE
    NK Bhandari Archit. and Engg.
    Syracuse NY

  • 3.  RE: Undergraduate and Graduate School at the Same University

    Posted 06-04-2019 09:58 AM
    I also attended the same university for both undergrad and graduate schools. It was the height of the recession, and my decision was ultimately due to many of my older friends coming back to school due to being laid off and many of my current classmates (and myself) being unable to even get interviews for positions after graduation. I already knew that my university was offering an NSF funded graduate program that would mean I could potentially not have to pay a cent for the degree, very few people were applying for it, and I took a chance on being able to get the graduate degree for free and work on research with a professor I already knew and respected. 

    The graduate degree was a huge boost for my marketability, and I did very well with the program. Honestly, for myself, going to the same school allowed me to be more involved with building relationships with underclass-mates and professors that I maintain to this day, allowing me to remain involved with the engineering department there. The comfort level I already had with the school meant I did not have to spend time re-building as I would have at a new location. I suppose I would have benefited in other ways by going to another school, but staying in the area also created the events that led me to settling within two hours of the university, meeting my wife, and building the family and career I now hold dear. 

    Whether you remain at the same school or move on to another one for a graduate degree, it is ultimately up to you to make the most of your time there. If your undergraduate school offers a great grad-program for your chosen career, but another school has just as good a program, then really its up to what your comfort level is on making the move. In the end, making sure that you're getting the most out of the program, doing your best while you're there, building relationships that you can maintain after school, those are all things you should do regardless of which choice you make.

    Lawrence Simonson PE,M.ASCE
    Senior Engineer
    Bunnell-Lammons Engineering, Inc. (BLE)
    Greenville, SC
    (864)288-1265 EXT 262

  • 4.  RE: Undergraduate and Graduate School at the Same University

    Posted 06-04-2019 09:59 AM
    Hello Luis,

    This was a question I wrestled with before beginning my graduate education. What I was told by various professors and engineers is that you are more competitive for an academic position at a university if you have at least one degree from another university. If you always attended the same school, you are seen as not bringing in any new knowledge from another institution. Aside from academic jobs, I don't know that there is a difference. Studying at another university will definitely expand your network, but I have not heard of there being any judgement on your abilities based on where you studied if you are going into an industry job.

    Vinicius Taguchi S.M.ASCE
    Minneapolis MN

  • 5.  RE: Undergraduate and Graduate School at the Same University

    Posted 06-05-2019 10:52 AM
    Dear Luis, it is a great question. I guess that everything is based upon opportunities. Nowadays, it is common to have Master students mixed with senior undergrad students; this is a nice environment for academic success. When I refer to opportunities, it is fine if you have a scholarship at the same university or if you apply to another one. I guess it is wrong if you do your undergraduate studies, master and PhD studies in the same institution because you will not gain a good overview of the knowledge. It is nice to make relationships with other researchers in other cities.

    In my case, I studied in a public University (Universidad Nacional de Colombia) and did my Master's and PhD in a private University (Universidad de los Andes), both in Colombia. Comparing both "worlds" of working with fewer resources and then, having several types of equipment and resources, just opened my eyes. Nevertheless, for sake of global knowledge, I spend one year abroad (the University of Texas at Austin, USA and Universidad de Entre Ríos, Argentina) where I did a lot of friends and colleagues that still are in contact with me.

    Andres Guzman Ing.,M.ASCE
    Associate Professor

  • 6.  RE: Undergraduate and Graduate School at the Same University

    Posted 06-06-2019 07:50 AM

    Dear Andres, you pointed out a few good points. The academic society is more gathered in Columbia compared to U.S cities. I found out college atmosphere is way together than Universities. Perhaps in college you might have more time to circulate around friends. However, in Universities, you put in more times to study and study more and study again. Attending undergrad helps to get you familiar with professors but once doing graduate at the same university, that helps to lift off that's so-called social gap among professors and student, which  results in learning more and more. It usually due to cost of living, price of material and saving time to attend the same school.  Most of the schools in UC and State system, maintain almost equal quality, however, what make them difference is the business perspective of it. I'm glad I attended the same University for graduate and undergrad program and pleased to have very knowledgeable, practical and experienced professors.

    Sayed Maqsood
    Alameda CA