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Cornell MEng

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I applied to Cornell for their PhD program in Electrical Engineering, since I received an email early on saying that ECE majors could not apply for an MS degree, only PhD or MEng. Today I received an email stating that they didn't have room for me in their PhD progam, but I was offered a spot in their MEng program. I have heard that a lot of Ivies only use Masters degrees as booby prizes to students who don't qualify, or can't hack the PhD program. Is this true? Would a Masters from Cornell be looked down upon in the working world? Also, I understand that the MEng is more coursework and less research. I have done a lot of research in my undergraduate work, so I would prefer a more research based Master's program. I'd like everyones' impression of the MEng degree at Cornell. Thanks!

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I applied for the PhD program at Cornell for my second time this year and only got the MEng thing. I have spoken with some people that completed the program who told me it is possible to switch into the PhD track although somewhat rare.

In terms of applying for jobs it is equivalent to an MS. Everyone I know that has the degree just stated they had a masters in EE when applying for jobs and had no problems.

For me I want to try and do research so I am going to do a MS program at U Mich instead.

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  • 11 months later...

I completed an MEng degree at Cornell (but in a different field). Honestly, I believe that most MEng students at Cornell were Cornell undergrads who decided to stick around for an extra semester or year - Cornell allows any engineers who maintain a high enough GPA to enter into the MEng program, and even lets seniors who are ahead in coursework begin the MEng while completing undergrad. I did not know any MEng students who had done undergrad at another school.

MEng is intended as a professional degree, and would certainly give you a leg up on getting a job in industry over someone with a bachelors degree. I'm not sure how valuable it is in terms of academia. I'm applying to PhD programs now and most schools will allow me to go straight to a PhD, but I think that it is common for engineers to go straight to a PhD anyway. I think it will only benefit me by allowing me to take my general exams earlier in the program and maybe cut a semester out of my program.

The MEng program consists of an almost undergrad amount of coursework along with a project. This project can be as research-ey or as design-ey as you and your advisor agree on. But I think it is common for it to be a small part of someone else's project rather than something that is truly your own.

I guess if you are just looking to get a job in industry an MEng is good, but if you want to be in academia and ultimately are looking for a PhD, I don't really think it is what you are looking for.

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I should also add that if you are just looking for a masters degree to get a job, there is the advantage that an MEng should only take you one year while an MS may take longer. And it is true that very few employers will distinguish between the two; a masters degree is a masters degree.

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