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Masters degree in Australia

Masters degree in Australia

Masters degree in Australia

It seems that universities in Australia will soon only provide Masters degrees in engineering and no bachelors degree. Some universities, such as UWA, have already removed their bachelors programs and only provide Masters. This is done as a 3 year 'engineering science' course and then a 2 year Masters course. Looking at the direction universities are going, I predict that within 10 years most students will graduate with a Masters.

The situation I find myself in is that I am 30 years old, received a bachelors in civil engineering about 9 years ago, became chartered, and have recently started my own structural engineering company partnered with a family member. I have now been offered to study a 2 year research Masters part time. Now, on the one hand, I don't see knowledge gained from the research as having any direct impact on my work in terms of improving my designs; and I know that studying independently from textbooks will improve my designs far more than a research Masters ever will.

But on the other hand, I predict that most engineers in 20 years will have a Masters degree. And also, since I intend to continue in my own company, I have been told that having a Masters will weigh in my favour when one of my designs is eventually scrutinised in court.

Do other Australians see any benefit in studying for a Masters considering where we are heading? And does having a Masters degree help an engineer if they intend to work on their own independently for the rest of their lives?

I appreciate any advice some of you more experienced engineers can give. Thanks.

RE: Masters degree in Australia

I don't have any insight from the Australian point of view --

but my argument is going to be that 20+ years of experience running your own company should heavily outweigh any discrepancy between MS and BS.

The name is a long story -- just call me Lo.

RE: Masters degree in Australia

I agree with Lomar

RE: Masters degree in Australia

I think that "a 3 year 'engineering science' course and then a 2 year Masters course" is a terrific ripoff by the unis. I was always a bit dubious of the value of a 4 year engineering course, adding another year just seems like a money grab.

Anyway, do you know how many times my BA in engineering has come up as a talking point, in 34 years? Never.


Greg Locock

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RE: Masters degree in Australia

Thanks for the help guys.

I agree that the main reason the universities are going to a 5 year course is to make more money. Unfortunately that seems to be the case with most education these days.

RE: Masters degree in Australia

There is a push in the states for a minimum masters degree before professional registration. It's been rejected so far, but I still hear the rumbling.
I got a masters degree right after graduation. This was mostly because I couldn't find a job. And it doesn't come up often, but I do believe it got me noticed for my second (and current) job. And this was 20 years after college. The company I currently work for has a minimum qualification of a masters degree. They make exceptions all the time, especially for discipline engineers, but it sure makes thing go easier when hiring.
I agree it's an educational rip-off, but the masters gave me a lot of confidence. I do disagree with the 3/2 plan. I think a bachelors degree after 3 years is weak.

RE: Masters degree in Australia

"The company I currently work for has a minimum qualification of a masters degree. They make exceptions all the time."

It makes for a very convenient excuse for rejecting applicants so they do not have to reveal the true reasons.

RE: Masters degree in Australia

Is this really the case? My old university in Aus recently just restructured their bachelor degree programs in all disciplines. They are also now offering a 1 year Masters "extension" if you finished the bachelor with them, to entice current students to stay a year longer, or older students to come back for a year to get the full Masters.

I guess that some universities are just discontinuing programs because of student numbers?

RE: Masters degree in Australia

Experience matters - relevant experience not degree! Have seen some engineers with PhD not as good as some with Bachelor's degree.

RE: Masters degree in Australia

What you don't realise is the 4 year bachelors degree (+honours) previously offered (which I also graduated with) contains the same material as the 5 year masters degree now offered. There's just an extra year of faff, no additional high level material. In fact, in the UK where they have always had the masters degree, the bachelors degree I obtained in Western Australia is recognised as equivalent under the Washington accord.


(page 86 for UWA)

So no, don't waste your time or money.

RE: Masters degree in Australia

I am in the process of starting a master while I have several years of professional experience in the counter.
My findings show that educational schemes vary across countries / continents...for instance some programs are focused on professional continuing development and offer a MSc in one year full time with options for part time to accommodate student that are constrained by employment. Some universities offer a Master in 2 years (taught year and thesis year which looks to me as the classical way). In some systems in EU, I found master programs split in two years with Master 1 and Master 2, I understand both being standalone diplomas. Looking more closely to the corresponding program I realized that that Master 1 is equivalent to what would be a typical BSc (in my old fashion referential...) in the relevant discipline.

At the end of the day, I guess the question is how to make up your mind and take less risks of wasting your time and money...In fact, I believe one can leverage on his technical experience to look at the content and decide on this basis what education he needs for himself. Titles or denominations are often misleading. When I identify a program with say 60 percent proportion of the full course content that consists of relative ´novelty´ subjects then it may be worth the time and money and could be attractive. Ideally, its better to look at the content with a detailed description at hand, when available. In short, and its just a ´learning lover´ personal approach I have adopted, I consider that with 40 percent foundational topics as refresh and the remaining as novelty subjects not covered in my previous education, this could fly.

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