Graduate Study or Finding a Job – Weekly Journal 14

Recently, I talked to several undergraduate students in VT about their future plan. Some are local people in Virginia while the others are international students. The only thing in common is that they are all engineering students. Most of them show a preference in finding a job after graduation, or go through a boost master program (1 year) here that is course based and then find a job. I talked to one undergraduate student in our group, and he told me that if he can get employed, the company can sponsor him for a part-time master degree. Others believe that with a job, they can finally stand on their own feet and start paying back the tuition loans.

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This is the opposite condition compared to the undergraduate students in China. In my class, about 50% students continue their graduate study and obtain a master degree. The master study in China usually last for 3 years for master of science or 2.5 years for master of engineering. With a relatively long program length, most graduate students will involve in some degree of research, and pure course-based masters are really rare in China. Holding a master degree is considered to be an obvious advantage for job hunting, including an increase in salary and starting position.

However, here in US, the tuition for master study may be a major challenge for students, since in China, most of the graduation fees are completely covered by department. Besides, finding a job in US is relatively easier, and graduates do not need to move to metropolis for better jobs and larger opportunities. Only those with true talents and dedicated minds will stay in university for another two years or four years for a graduate degree.

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