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Is this doable?


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Hi all,

I graduated recently with a BS in aerospace engineering from a ~#70 engineering program. I had gone in very undecided with very good grades, a load of general college courses, and recommendations from HS and chose that school specifically because it had good programs in many departments, not just engineering. I could have gone to a much better engineering school (such as RPI) straight out of HS if I had known what I wanted to do, but I didn't, and I'm trying not to regret that too terribly.

During my time there I had considered changing majors a number of times but didn't have any concrete ideas about what I wanted to switch to. Many people recommended that I stick with AE. By the time I realized what I wanted to do I was many weeks into my senior year and it was too late to do anything, since I'd likely have had to take a couple extra years had I changed schools (the major I wanted to pursue, materials science & engineering, was not offered at my school).

I graduated with a 3.0 GPA and a couple grad-level aerospace/math courses and am now looking to apply for a MS or M.Eng in Materials Science & Engineering at RPI. I was unable to secure an internship or do any research during my time as an undergrad, so I have a couple questions:

- Is there any chance at all of getting into this program? Materials Science & Engineering seems less selective than, say, Chemical Engineering (I'm primarily interested in semiconductors and nanotechnology, and I understand both are applicable but I'm primarily interested in MSE, not considering it because it's less selective.)

- Is the amount of necessary background coursework going to be too much to make up?


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I considered applying to RPI for Computer Science (PhD) this year. During my email 'conversations' with the admissions people they said one of the most important things they look at is GRE score. I don't know if that is relevant for your program though.

The competitiveness of your application will depend heavily on your GRE scores.

That really disappointed me though, to hear that my application for a PhD program would be so dependent on how much I scored on a standardized test.

I don't know if that's the same for your program, but I would imagine that if they place such value on the GRE for a PhD application then they would value it significantly for a MS or M.Eng. application.

Your GPA isn't too far off from the average scores they reported for admitted CS applicants in Fall 2010:

Avg. GPA


Avg. GRE







So if the programs are similarly competitive then I would imagine that you would have a shot. I'm not sure about the course work though. Maybe you can ask the admissions people at that department. The CS people were very helpful when I was considering applying.

Edited by newms
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