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Advice about going back


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Hey all!

This is my first post, so a little background. I graduated with a BA in Clinical Psychology in 2007 from a small liberal arts college. I had originally majored in Computer science and Clinical psychology. My parents were (and still are) very ill, so I never got any real financial help. This led to me working numerous jobs through college - usually 2-3 at a time along with being a full time student. The computer science major had to get dropped because I simply didn't have the time to dedicate to the lab while balancing my workload out of school.

However, I have no real use for my psych degree. Its purpose is to show that I can finish college, basically. Its gotten me in the door at a few places, but mostly my experience has carried me. All through college I worked in IT, my last job started me in IT and led me towards engineering. Now I'm working at a fortune 500 company as an engineer. I think I found what I'd like to do. However, other than technical certifications my hands are tied because of not having at LEAST the computer science degree.

I would love to go for a master's degree, specifically in electrical engineering, however all programs that I've found require me to have a BS in Engineering or Physics. I don't have either. I have a BA in psych.

So, I'm left with the option of going to school part time after work to get a BS in Electrical Engineering, or not going anywhere since I don't think there's really any hybrid masters that would allow me to leverage my psych degree.

Can anyone give me some advice on how to proceed? Everyone says that a second Bachelor's degree is a waste of time, and under most conditions I would agree. My employer does have tuition reimbursement, but I don't know how well universities that are local cater to people who work full time and swing back for a 2nd bachelors. Or is there a line of graduate study I'm completely missing?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Consider taking some EE classes as a non-degree student. The schools that require a BS in EE are looking to make sure that you have the background for grad work.

Consider something like Boston University's LEAP program, which is for students who majored in non-sci/eng fields who want to get graduate degrees in engineering. From their website:

"Phase I of LEAP consists of a core set of about ten to twelve discipline-related undergraduate courses. Credit is given for prior equivalent coursework. These courses do not lead to a BS degree, but will qualify you for entry into the graduate phase of LEAP.Phase II consists of our regular Master's program in any of seven engineering disciplines. Many LEAP students go on to doctoral studies at Boston University."

A few universities have post-bac programs in EE, also intended for people who didn't major in it. Tufts University, for example, has a certificate program in Microwave Engineering.

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since you're a very uncommon case, it couldn't hurt to contact a few schools and ask if they'd be willing to waive a few requirements for you.

for the most part, I think most schools require the B.S. in EE or CS to ensure that you have the relevant background, but since you work as an engineer, there's a good chance that some schools will accept that work experience as a substitute, especially since you're only after a M.S. (and most likely a non-thesis option I'm assuming) which is generally viewed as a degree for industry.

another thing you have going is that your employer is willing to pay for it which means that you'd be a professional student and a source for revenue for the school where most engineering students tend to be funded by the school.

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