Another college thread...

Discussion in 'Community' started by Macaddicttt, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. Macaddicttt macrumors 6502a

    Macaddicttt

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #1
    Okay, I need some advice from people who maybe have gone through what I'm planning on doing. Okay, right now I'm at Georgetown earning a BA. I don't know what my major is yet, but I'm really leaning towards history or theology. I know neither one is particularly useful in terms of jobs. When I was choosing what college I wanted to go to, I decided to do something "useless" for undergraduate and then go to graduate school for something a little more practical. So far I have in mind two very different career paths.

    The first is continue and get a doctorate in whatever I end up settling on and becoming a professor. The question here is what can I do while I'm going through graduate school? I need to pay for my graduate school by myself, so I'll need some sort of job.

    Okay, second and radically different option. I'm thinking of becoming either an architect or an engineer. My first impulse is to go with architecture, but I hear it doesn't pay very well. Engineers tend to make a bit more money. Okay, the questions here are a little more detailed. First I have to know what kind of job I can get while paying for graduate school. Second is how much money is there really in architecture? Third is how in depth should I go with physics and math classes in undergrad? Unfortunately, Georgetown doesn't have a very good program with either. And I haven't taken math since 11th grade when I got a 5 on the AB Calc AP test. I guess really with this one, I want to know about the careers. Anyone in either? What schools should I be looking at? What should I be looking for in a graduate school?

    Thanks for any help. If anyone on these boards is an architect, I'd really like to have some advice or information about the field. It really fascinates me a lot and I love designing/drawing buildings and the like.
     
  2. Leareth macrumors 68000

    Leareth

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #2
    Degree Choices

    First of are you a male or of caucasian ancestry? because if you are you can forget about getting a tenure at any decent university/college these days. Especially in a field like history. With the reverse dicsrimination policies in hiring fulltime professors you have to be a disabled, visible minority lesbian who is also a single mother (no insult to those who are) in order to get a tenure position or else be bloody brilliant with lots of published work and a respected name in the field. Just read the hiring policies at any college/university for instructors and see what I mean.

    History is a good field to go into if you back it up with a poli sci minor, gov't hire BA holders as analyst, researchers etc. so there is some hope there.

    Engineering is a good solid field to go into, Forensic engineering is becoming a hot field right now with solid growth projected into the future.

    Theology is not a very useful degree unless you wish to teach at a private institution, however combining theology with classical studies (double major) is good to teach at colleges

    Architecture seems to be dropping in the number of jobs in relation to the number of qualified people, at least in the western world.

    I am a student advisor at my school so I have to keep up with the career and degree info for north america, so things may be different elsewhere.
    as for me, three degrees later and I have just found my field, and guess what all three degrees are useful.
     
  3. hoyboy9 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2004
    #3
    Ok buddy, sounds to me like you're a new freshman at Georgetown. If that's the case, congrats! Keep on working hard. I am a junior at Rice University, and am studying for a BS in Chemical Engineering. I have some insights into your career choices.

    First, let's look at your current track. In general, I think it is not a good idea to do something "useless" that you don't really intend on relying on for your undergraduate. Why? Because graduate school is not something you breeze through to stick a Ph.D. on the end of your name for job purposes. Graduate school is MORE intensive than an undergraduate degree. If you are intent on history or theology, then a Ph.D. is the only way to go, and they take 5-6 years to complete. As for a side job, you won't need one; just being a student is a full time job. You will be given a student aid package similar to the undergraduate one you have now. This is a combination of loans/grants/etc. Some graduate fields of study have fully subsidized programs, such as many of the engineering fields.

    My advice to you: forget "wasting" your undergraduate degree with the intention of picking up a grad degree later. Do what you want NOW. You are paying good money for 4 years of education, so get your money's worth. You can't just get a history degree then decide to Ph.D. in chemical engineering. If you want to be an engineer, do it now. Why? Because when you finish college, you may decide not to continue on with another 5-6 years of college, and it would be better to finish college with a degree you can really use and apply to the workforce. If you want to continue with theology and history, just remember what you are getting yourself into in terms of career choices (teaching, research, grad school), before you make your final decision, ok?

    As for architecture. If you have any inkling to pursuing architecture, you MUST major in it. In order to practice as an architect, you have to not only have the major, but you must do 2 extra years work to be certified by the government. Rice's architecture program is a full 6 years of work, and I assume it is very similar at a university such as Georgetown. There is no "going to grad school" to get an architecture degree if you do not have a archi undergrad degree. Contrary to what you may have heard, good architects get paid VERY well. Like $100K+ well. However, it is tougher to get into a good firm these days.

    As for engineering, I can definitely comment. You MUST get your undergrad in engineering if you want to be an engineer. Engineers are always in demand, and get paid well out of college. For example, Rice chemical engineers get paid around $51,000 on average right out of college. Chemical engineering is also the highest paying, most demanding engineering major out of the entire field of engineering. That is why there are so few students and professional chemical engineers, because the program is very difficult. Mechanical engineering is right up there as well, along with electrical. If you want to be an engineer, get ready for a very regulated college experience (read: lots of work, not so much fun), and know math like the back of your hand. In general, engineering curricula are pretty much set in stone. You must take differential equations, partial differential equations, physics, mechanics, chemistry, linear algebra, etc. Your personal choices generally fall into "focus area electives" where, for example, a chemical engineer can focus in bioengineering or civil engineering by taking a few of those classes to specialize in that area.

    Engineers don't NEED to go to grad school. In fact, it may hamper one's ability to advance in an engineering position, because a Ph.D. may make one appear "overqualified" for anything other than a research job. If you want to do research in engineering, then a Ph.D. is the way to go. My advice? Go to work for a company, and do their subsidized school program to get an MBA on the side. The MBA is a 2 year program that makes you highly viable for management positions.

    I would highly recommend chemical engineering if you have the stomach for it. Chemical engineers are the bread and butter of engineering. They are in high demand because they are so flexible in the workplace. You could work in pharma, oil, aerospace, water, gas, food, power, any virtually anything else you could imagine that requires chemicals.

    By the way, of all the corporate recruiting pitches I have heard here at Rice, they all say one thing: when the baby boomers retire, there is going to be a large management vacuum. So being able to equip yourself with the tools needed to manage business is always good. Current college students have an excellent chance of advancing rapidly in the workplace due to this impending retirement. One particular company suggested they would lose over 50% of their management force to retirement. MBA's are great in this regard.

    Hope that helps!
     
  4. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    washington dc
    #4
    georgetown? yuck! i don't know if your career and life are salvageable... you clearly picked the wrong dc school... :rolleyes:



    ;) :D
     
  5. Macaddicttt thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Macaddicttt

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #5
    In response to Hoyboy, well, you've sort of stumbled upon a problem I have. At Georgetown there is no engineering department or architecture department. That's why I say I want to go to graduate school. I know graduate school isn't just a breeze to add something to the end of your name. I'm not expecting to zip through and add a Ph.D. The reason I want to go to graduate school is that right now I'm at a liberal arts college that doesn't offer much in terms of engineering/computers/architecture/whatever. (I'd be willing to bet that the Spanish department is bigger than the physics department.)

    Perhaps the question I should have asked was, is it possible to get into a graduate school for engineering or architecture without a related major in undergrad? Is it enough to just take some higher-level courses in physics and math? Or should I abandon any ambition to have such a job if I am to stay here at Georgetown?
     
  6. stevietheb macrumors 6502a

    stevietheb

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    Houston
    #6
    Perhaps by the time you get that PhD (7-10 years from now) hiring practices will have changed and reverse discrimination will no longer be the norm.

    I am a caucasian male working toward my PhD in religion (New Testament Studies to be exact). My biggest piece of advice, if you plan on going for that PhD, is to figure out what exactly you're going to study and then start working on your language requirements. Just about every PhD is going to require either German or French (often both), so those are safe bets. In addition, if you are looking at studying a particular religion's theology, then you'll want to become proficient in languages important to that religion. For instance, for Christianity you'll want to look at Greek, Hebrew, and Latin.

    As for financial aid, the biggest piece of advice I've gotten so far is this: don't go anywhere where they expect you to pay for your PhD. A lot of PhD programs offer tuition waivers AND stipends. For example, many of these stipends are upwards of $15/yr. In addition, you can be a TA (TF...whatever they call them where you are...grad students who help profs teach classes)...these positions are typically paid. The point is--someone will pay for your education (how nice!). I have had several professors who now wish that they had gone to schools where they didn't have to take out loans.

    Finally, realize that in choosing a PhD program, this may be the last time (until retirement) that you can choose WHERE you live. So, be sure to go some place you enjoy. If you hate living in the city, then maybe you shouldn't apply to Columbia or NYU. If you can't stand California, why apply to Stanford? (personally, I wish I had chosen a school in a smaller city...my wife and I aren't really "city people"--we were born and raised suburbanites and love it!) Once you have that PhD you'll be going where the work is and that may be out in the middle of nowhere...

    hoyboy9, how is Houston?!?! I'm originally from Friendswood, TX (25 miles South of downtown just off I-45). I have a lot of friends from high school that went to Rice. Currently, here in Boston it's 4 degrees--I'm longing for Houston winter! (this is my first winter out of TX...my wife and I are dying! Yes, we are wimps.).
     
  7. hoyboy9 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2004
    #7
    stevietheb, Houston is great! It has been a little chilly lately, but will get into the 70's pretty soon. I totally agree with your philosophy on grad school. They should be paying YOU, not vice versa. Think of grad school more as employment, rather than school.

    A few final thoughts on grad school that Macaddict brought up with regard to doing engineering and architecture without a complementary undergrad degree. I did a quick search on Rice's graduate studies page, which is likely to have similar standards as most other major universities. The first question is this:

    What are the requirements for entrance into graduate study?
    "Graduate study is open to a limited number of extremely well qualified students with a substantial background in their proposed field of study (this usually, though not always, means an undergraduate major in the field)."

    With regard to engineering and architecture, I would be willing to bet that your chances of doing graduate study in those fields without a major are VERY slim. The reason why is that both fields require a ton of foundation study in order for one to build upon that foundation with research. You will not be prepared for an engineering graduate experience by just taking some physics and math. You'll need to do the design projects, numerous problem sets, etc, before you are prepared. It's not really the memorization of facts that is important in engineering, but rather, the analytical process one must go through in order to tackle engineering problems. This comes with years of practice. I would be willing to bet the same is true in architecture.

    Bottom line, and remember, this is just my thoughts and opinions. If you seriously want to do engineering or architecture, you need to make that decision soon, and perhaps transfer to a school that has the resources you need to complete your studies. Don't hedge your bets hoping that a school would accept a history major into a mechanical engineering graduate program. Think about it this way. If there are 10 mechanical engineering spots at a certain school, and 100 mechanical engineers apply, and you apply, you are likely to be on the bottom of the pile by default, because you have not done the same amount of engineering work that a mech major would have done.

    I wish you good luck on your major choices! Regardless of what happens, you are getting an excellent education.
     
  8. wwidgirl macrumors member

    wwidgirl

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    #8
    Sigh. I don't know where you go to school but 99% of my professors are white and 80% of them are male. I go to school in Ontario.
     
  9. Macaddicttt thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Macaddicttt

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #9
    Yeah, actually all my professors are white and mostly male. I mean, I've only been here for two semesters worth of classes and I've already had one young, white, male professor who was hired not too long ago. Also, I have a female professor who is also quite young.
     
  10. wwidgirl macrumors member

    wwidgirl

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    #10
    in canada

    I don't know what the situation is in the States but in Canada engineers don't make that much money. I know loads of engineers and they make... $50,000 a year?? some Don't have jobs. Most of the ones are in law school with me.

    In terms of grad school, in Canada, it's almost entirely funded. So you get a big fat scholarship if you're accepted for a masters and they give you TA jobs (teachers assistant) which pay alot. If you do a phd, most schools in Canada will completely cover your tuition plus you should get some extra money for living. Not to say you won't have to spend some money or go into debt, but in Canada it's not too bad.

    I have no idea what it's like in the states though. Good luck.
     
  11. Dros macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    #11
    Your comment is far from reality, in my opinion. I hope you can give your students less biased advice as part of your professional duties. I am a professor (tenure-track) at a major research university. 2 of the last 8 hires have been women, (for those of you doing the math at home, that means 6 men), and all have been white.
     
  12. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #12
    Seems to be alot of knowledgeable people here, so I'm going to see what you guys think of a major in philosophy.

    Not that it affects me really, I'm already well into my philosophy major, and I'm so glad I picked the major - I actually enjoy the classes and all. My plan is to go to law school after I graduate. I also am thinking of going back to school in the middle of my life, getting a Ph.D in philosophy and teaching until I retire or die. Because I really do enjoy the philosophy field.
     
  13. Steven1621 macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #13
    as a fellow first year college student, i can understand your situation. i am in a very similar situation myself. don't make any decision yet. take courses that will let you go into all of those options. this is what my team of advisors have told me. i don't know about the nature of your school, but i would say that you should be able to play around with paths for a bit.
     
  14. hoyboy9 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2004
    #14
    Dros, I agree with you. The engineering fields have traditionally been male dominated, and from my own experience, I can tell you that all of the chemical engineer professors I've had were all male, and most were white. The most interesting thing I heard from my professors was that it didn't really matter if you were male or female or what race you were with regard to grad school. What they really want are Americans! Two of my chemical engineering profs, one from Italy, the other from Switzerland, both independently told our classes that universities are practically desperate for American grad students.

    Apparently, more than 50% of the makeup of science and engineering grad students are foreigners, mostly from China and India. While this is in no way an offense against foreign students working hard here in the states, I really got the attitude that many universities are having trouble getting good American grad students in science and engineering. This also has a halo effect in the American engineering industry.

    wwidgirl, engineers are paid quite well in America. AICHE, the American Chemical Engineer society, reports that the median salary of all chemical engineers in 2002 was around $75,000. The furnace is always burning, and engineers are needed to improve and develop industrial stuff.

    Raven VII, I ALMOST double majored in philosophy. I decided that I couldn't pull the class load with chemical engineering. I enjoy it too. Philosophy seems like the perfect complement to law, considering that both fields are grounded in the analysis of arguments and evidence supporting particular theories. Good luck in your studies. :)
     
  15. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    #15

    Pffft, that's nothing! Electrical Engineers from New Mexico State are averaging $63,000/year upon graduation (not a typo. Sixty three thousand). NMSU is aligned with the national defense industry, and we have a program here called the "Physical Science Lab" which helps students find high paying jobs in the defense and aerospace industries, while paying for training and security clearance. NMSU Electrical Engineering students who participate in this program have average starting salaries of around $80,000/year. One of my friends recently graduated after going through this program and he's making f*cking bank, $86,000/year straight out of college.
     
  16. Leareth macrumors 68000

    Leareth

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #16
    I agree with that there still are more white male profs than any other gender/ethnic group but hiring practices are skewed towards minorities/women/disabled candidates.
    here is some proof:
    "U of T = Agreement between Faculty association and board of governors:
    i) ...where fewer than 40% of the tenure stream positions are filled by women, when candidates qualifications are substantially equal to candidate who is a member of a visible/racial minority, an aboriginal person or a person with a disability and female shall be recommended for appointment

    ii) if there is no candidate recommeded from (i) above then when candidates qualifications are substacially equal... a female or a male and a member of a visible/racial minority, an aboriginal person, or a person with a permanent disability shall be recommended for appointment

    if there is no candidate from (i) or (ii) above then the candidate who is male shall be recommended for appointment..."

    Most canadian universities hiring practices:
    "The university is committed to employment equity and encourages applications from all qualified women and men, including visible minorities, aboriginal people and persons with disabilities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply, however Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority."

    In Canada at the major universities like UBC, UofT, McGill there are more non male/ non white graduates than elsewhere in the country,
    in Graduate studies, depending on the dept there are in some cases no white males in the program. and these are the people who are going to be applying for all the position that the baby boomers are leaving in the next few years, combined with the hiring policies, who is more likely to get the job with identical qualifications, the white guy or the non white girl?
    I have to add that there are fields that are still predominantly male but the ethnicity is changing (ie CompSci over 80% asian in undergrad, Engineering over 75% non white, Applied science over 60% non white.) those are the published stas for my school, major canadian universities have a similar trend...
    My point is that as a white male who is going to complete a degree in 5-10 years is still going to be affected by this and I would not recommend focusing solely on a teaching position as the goal of my studies.
     
  17. stevietheb macrumors 6502a

    stevietheb

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    Houston
    #17
    My attitude has always been that if you really enjoy it and it is satisfying to you, then do it. Consequently, I really have no safety net. If I don't get that tenure-track job, then my options are 1) teach high school, 2) return to college and do something else.

    Now, I don't mind NOT having a safety net...but maybe you do.

    If you want it, go get it.

    I also agree with the advice that you should try to sample a few fields while you are an undergrad. I think that, at least in the U.S., the problem with most undergrad programs is that they make you take classes from a bunch of different areas believing that it will make you sample a wider range and really narrow in on what you enjoy studying. Unfortunately, I don't think it works. Mainly because a lot of kids really hate taking government or history or english and aren't going to give it a fair shake. I actually had to defy my program's guidelines to stumble upon my love. I was a film major and decided to take a class on early Christian history, even though it fit nowhere into my degree requirements. Now I'm trying to get my PhD in that particular field...

    Also, as someone hoping to get that humanities teaching job in the next few years: $50,000/yr sounds like a lot!
     
  18. wwidgirl macrumors member

    wwidgirl

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    #18

    So basically what those hiring practises are explicitly saying is that if they have two candidates equally qualified they will pick the one who is a member of a minority. I actually don't have much of a problem with that. THey're trying to level the playing field. Currently, this is necessary in many faculties (um... in both my undergrad and post grad studied virtually all my profs have been white males). However, in more science/math based faculties there is much more diversity. NOT because people are being hired because of their minority status but because more minorities enter those fields. So I would argue that in the faculties of engineering and science and such, the hiring committees would take a white person (who is a minority statistically) over an equally qualified minority person.

    The reason why minorities are over-represented in universities doesn't have much to do with admissions practises so much as it has to do with cultural norms. I read a study that immigrant children feel much more pressure to go to university and get a professional job than Canadian kids who's family has been here for generations.
     
  19. hoyboy9 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2004
    #19
    That sounds like a great program. However, discounting those students, I find it highly unlikely that they would be making that much on average right out of college. Must industries "know" what the typical salary range for entry level positions are, and in general will not deviate from them too much. The salary data from national engineering societies seem to match what the actual hiring data from Rice grads presents, and I would expect the pattern to be the same at any university.

    If it's not the same, then dang, Rice students might be getting overlooked or something. :)
     
  20. oldschool macrumors 65816

    oldschool

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    #20
    are you an advisor at UBC? thats where I am, and everyone there is asian...all my friends.

     
  21. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    #21

    Well it all has to do with security clearance. The type of security clearance typically needed by electrical engineers requires a background investigation that takes between 6 months and 1 year, and requires the company requesting it to pay the government between $30,000 and $50,000.

    Typically, this is what happens: a company doing contract work for the government hires a new graduate. The new graduate requires security clearance to work on projects for the company. The company has to shell out massive amounts of money to conduct the required background investigation. In the meantime, the company has to pay you your full salary while you sit arond with your thumb up your butt, sharpening pencils because you can't work on any projects because you don't have security clearance. In the meantime, during the course of the background investigation, if it is determined that you cannot quality for security clearance, the company will terminate you. The company will lose whatever salary they paid you, plus they still have to pay the full cost for the investigation. That is a HUGE risk for any company to take.

    The advantage to the program I mentioned at my university is that the Physical Science Lab will pay for your security clearance while you are still in school, and in return, you do technical work for the Lab at $10-$15/hour while you're still a student. The idea is that, a new graduate who already has a security clearance is much more desirable than a new graudate who does not already have security clearance. Thus, the starting salary for the former is much higher.

    Starting salaries for new electrical engineers from my university, who do not have security clearance, is more in line with the national average at $53,000.
     
  22. Leareth macrumors 68000

    Leareth

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #22
    Not anymore, my first Bachelors was from there, now I am at Suicide U top of hill campus.
    My partner is an Arts Advisor there though...
    94% admission average for the fall yikes...

    You know the joke about what U.B.C stand for ? : ) PM for the answer.
     
  23. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #23
    don't let low salaries steer you away from being an architect...a friend of mine went for the money for many years as an engineer but now has come full circle to what he wanted to do, as an artist and architect - money isn't everything

    if you want to continue your studies in theology and history and go for a master's or phd and teach, use student loans to pay for what you can't pay for...professors eventually can make a lot of money and over time, you will be able to pay off your student loans - don't become a high rolling investor or fancy real estate agent to make some quick bucks in order to pay for your graduate education since you may get off your path

    follow your heart
     
  24. shecky Guest

    shecky

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #24
    you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Many schools offer a both a post-professional and pre-professional master's degree in Architecture - referred to as an M.Arch I or M.Arch.II. Syracuse University for example offers an M.Arch. I as a Masters degree for people who do not already have an undergraduate professional degree in Architecture.
     
  25. Dros macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    #25
    I'm not sure I understand you, are you saying:
    1) In some Graduate programs, there are few white males currently working towards a degree, and therefore,
    2) White males will be less likely to get a job?
     

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