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US or German universities for MS Mechanical engineering

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#1 Adip



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Posted 22 July 2011 - 02:05 AM

Hello, I am interested in pursuing MS in mechanical engineering with specialization in mechanics. I am from one of the best Indian universities and interested in only top universities for grad education. Can anybody help me how are German universities as compared to US universities for specialization I am interested in? Also, please suggest German universities. Thanks.
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#2 HassE



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Posted 27 July 2011 - 05:12 PM

No disrespect for any German universities, but if you come from the "best Indian University" and are only looking for "top universities" why would you want to settle on a German University where we all know the US houses the top and best engineering schools. I'm sure Germany has a good University there, maybe even a top-10-15 in the world (not sure) but even if they do, they most likely only have one university. The US has plenty top university.
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#3 AbaNader


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Posted 28 July 2011 - 02:53 PM

TU Berlin, TU Munchen are pretty good. You may consider Switzerland as well: ETH Zurich is a very good school.

In the US you will have better chances to get funded, in all respects (tuition, research projects, facilities, etc.). You have greater mobility here as well because there are more good schools here than any other country in the world. You also have sheer mass at most good school (large departments can easily have 60-80 listed faculty members) which gives you more exposure. Finally, getting a Masters/PhD from the US is significantly more valuable (in the sense of knowledge/expertise) than anywhere else simply because the graduate programs here have mandatory coursework. In the PhD programs, you will have to sit qualifying/comprehensive exams as well to test your knowledge. That makes getting a PhD at a US university much more difficult, much longer (can go to 10 years in many cases) but also more meaningful.

The US is not the end-all or be-all, but its good to be cognizant of the advantages/disadvantages of an education here.
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#4 Germany2012



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Posted 06 July 2012 - 11:09 PM

A PhD, if it is not from a superior or even top ranked US university, is regarded as significantly less than a Dr.-Ing. in Germany, and a master about the same as a Diplom-Ingenieur.

German employers and other Europeans but also many in the US know the Shanghai and Times Higher Edu Ranking but do not care about, because it does not make much sense and in Germany all higher universties have rather the same level except in some international excellent clusters in very few subjects. Especially the highly globalized US brand universities accumulate much in-house research power which cannot be compared to the higher education systems of other countries. The US system plus Cambridge, Oxford might be the best in the world but in cannot be compared with such rankings based on the number of nobel prize winners and citations in few anglo-saxon magazines which sometimes nobody cares about in Germany. Sometimes these rankings turn the national ranking upside down. It might make much more sense to compare the MIT and CalTech.

The order in Germany is as follows:

For (modern) "mechanics" Aachen, TU Munich, TU Dresden, KIT Karlsruhe, TU Darmstadt, Uni Stuttgart are most recommended (after top ranked US).
The niveau differences between certain universties are much higher in the US than in Germany.

order of degrees:
bachelor (FH or Uni, TU)
master (TU, Uni over FH) = Diplom (TU, Uni over FH, FH means Fachhochschule, university of applied sciences)
PhD mediocre US university
Dr. -ing. habil. = PhD on a top ranked elite university, is allowed to give PhDs and may teach everywhere without further testing
Prof. is no academic title but a profession title, regularly teaching, has often Dr. habil. which is the highest academic title, ing. means engineer

German public elite institutions are post-master some research societies and associations as Max Planck, Leibniz, Helmholtz and Fraunhofer institutes. (a bit like the NASA but smaller and in other subjects, they hire globally and since recently sometimes cooperate closer with some universities)

Best universities in engineering are moderately funded themselves.

The most demanded are RWTH Aachen, TU Dresden, TU Munich, KIT Karslruhe, also LMU Munich, TU Darmstadt, and other as Uni Stuttgart, TU Freiberg, TU Illmenau, TU Kaiserslautern and others, there is no strong hierarchy,

Aachen, TU Dresden and Munich also have official elite status since recentely but it only means a very good future concept, a very good international graduate school or more than one and a cluster of international excellence or more than one, for Dresden this is for example the case in organic and molecular electronics and biophysic. Dresden is relatively known for advanced nano electronics and physics, at least in central Europe, it's the biggest cluster there in Europe of the micro-electronics industries and among the top 5 worldwide.

Heidelberg ist well known for pharmacy, it always depends much on the subject. There are many national and international networks.

MIT has very high number of internationally excellent subjects, while Cambridge UK is rather known to have a very outstanding niveau in just all subjects which they offer, but not so many worldwide number 1 subjects and realms as Stanford or MIT.

I have not any reason to get a complex just when somebody has studied at the MIT (actually I used to know a social media hyper active idiot with a bachelor), as French and Indian universities, just for example, are much more selective and challenging. They have a significantly lower budget though.
The best European engineering universities are in Zurich, Copenhagen and Holland, and Cambridge, UK, of course.

Ohio State University is one of our partner universities, besides Boston, Austin and Havard Medical School. We need a bachelor and a motivation application, but then they actually pay us (well) to study there in Columbus. Even though it's our twin city I dare to say the city is truly ugly compared to Dresden. You should study in Dresden if you can. :-) The more you know the more you dare ! While the annual budget of German universities is something like 0.6 billion euros a year, thus much lower than of the top ranked in the US and UK. In Germany often knowledge of German is necessary. (Those who come (few from the US) have no problem with it, in the elite clusters as some kind of biophysics English is the course language and also in many more subjects). It is said that the UK- (sure) and I think also the US (not sure) labour market are very keen for all kind of engineering graduates who speak German. I think it's not the German itself. But when you have done it in reality you cannot be the most passive one and many firms have (potential) German clients, all speak some English, but it is almost always some barrier. When you were abroad you are much more interesting in private life for all kinds of listeners.

Edited by Germany2012, 07 July 2012 - 12:05 AM.

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#5 ISEngineer



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Posted 10 July 2012 - 03:33 AM

I would say Germany is top notch in Engineering and equal to any US top school. I wouldn't say the same for business, but if you look at the top engineering firms in the world, you rather find them in Germany than in the US: BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche, Siemens, Airbus, etc. Again, it would be different for computer science, nobody beats the US there currently.
Shanghai ranking and QS focus on research. German universities publish often still in German, which means they have great output, but the English speaking countries don't benefit from it and the rankings don't value it.

You also should consider that education in Germany is free, whereas you would have to pay quite a lot of money in the US. Americans don't usually do graduate degrees in engineering. You will mainly find international students who have to pay full tuition and who are the cash cows for their undergraduate education. Acceptance rate is quite high (even Stanford has around 30% in comparison to 10% in undergrad). But if you want to work in the US a graduate degree from a US institution is a good choice. But you should also consider that the job perspectives in Germany are brilliant, whereas the US economy currently really struggles.
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#6 Germany2012



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Posted 15 July 2012 - 12:31 AM


At the moment we still have a real boom, lowest unemployment ever.
Of course we are export-dependent much. It can be over soon.

These rather detailed rankings compare only German, Swiss, Dutch and Austrian universities.


I really didn't know the new results. it's pure luck that the university which I wanted to make known a bit to potential abroad students, is now already number 1 in overall study situation among these in some highly demanded subjects. Good luck.
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