Discussion Thread

  • 1.  University Hunt

    Posted 09-03-2019 07:48 AM
    I am in my third year of bachelor's degree in civil engineering from National University of Sciences and Technology Pakistan and I want to pursue a master's degree in transportation engineering. What are the best institutions for master's degree in transportation engineering considering the economics as well as the ranking of universities? And do universities give any scholarship on GPA basis because I have a good CGPA of 3.7/4?

    Shahab Naveed Rashid S.M.ASCE
    Pursuing Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering
    NUST Pakistan


  • 2.  RE: University Hunt

    Posted 09-04-2019 11:04 PM

    Way to be thinking early!  There's certainly lots of university programs out there for Transportation Masters degrees, but I think you may have the wrong mindset.  Certainly aiming for a prestigious university is always a good aim, but particularly with Masters programs it's more about what YOU want out of it.  Transportation is a diverse field and different Universities will specialize in different areas.  Highway design, traffic design, airport design, air traffic control, water resources, and so much more.  Once you have an idea of what sector of Transportation you want to pursue, you can start to narrow down universities.

    Additionally more so than undergrad, you'll want to take in mind where you want to be geographically.  A lot of universities will offer you virtually the same masters, and I can assure you few employers will care about one program versus another.  So you should consider where you want to be.  A major city with access to travel around in free time.  Cooler or warmer climates?  Near to (or far from) family or friends?  Proximity to areas you want to start your career in, so that you can more easily go to interviews, etc.  Countless ways to narrow down choices, and none of them wrong.  All up to your preference, the world is your oyster!

    Last thing to consider, and perhaps most importantly: Why do you want to get a masters degree?  I in no way want to talk you out of higher education, but for a lot of transportation careers you don't need one.  Especially right out of school.  Most that have them have gone back later, that way they learn the profession and know what parts of their masters program to pay particular attention to.  Otherwise you risk tacking more tuition bills then you will recoup with the elevated title in joining the workforce.  If you plan to get into research or pursue your masters then by all means go for it! But just make sure you it's what you want to do and will benefit your career.

    As far as scholarships that will vary wildly from place to place.  There are a lot of grants available for masters programs if you do some looking around, much more so than undergrad as you're not perceived as a "risky investment".  Good luck!

    James Smith P.E., M.ASCE
    Design Engineer
    Grand Rapids MI

  • 3.  RE: University Hunt

    Posted 09-05-2019 11:06 AM
    I think James stated his response very well.  My only suggestion is not to have to pay for your master's degree (if possible).  From my experience with my master's degree, most of the research programs are funded through public or private dollars and the contract usually includes fees for a student to perform the research (i.e. a master's student).  This won't be the case everywhere, but at most public universities that are considered "Research Universities" you will find this system in place.  You can also get Teaching Assistant (TA) positions that will help supplement your fees.

    Secondly, as James mentioned, a master's may not be necessary.  Even though I'm glad I got my MS in Civil Engineering, I really haven't used the information I learned there often in my day to day job.  It did help me start out at a slightly higher salary (usually the salary of a second year employee +/-) and it did help land more interviews.  One other thing many firms will offer is the ability to go back to school while you continue to work for them through tuition reimbursement.  Depending on the firm and their individual policies, they will usually refund you at least 70% of the costs after you have worked for them for a certain amount of time.

    I hope this helps and good luck.

    Chase Henrichs , P.E.P.E., M.ASCE
    Crafton Tull
    Rogers, AR