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Seeking Advice for what to do during undergrad with Masters/PHD ambitions


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I am going to be transferring and finishing a mechanical engineering bachelor's degree. Ideally, I would like to go to Virginia Tech's Aerospace/Naval Engineering Masters Program (Aeronautical/Mechanical Masters with a naval certification) and to go to a PHD program after that, preferably for mechanical engineering. A lot of my interests fall into aeronautic and naval engineering principles.

My question is, what should I focus on during my undergraduate? Should I be looking to do undergraduate research? Or is it just as good to get internships/co-ops at relevant companies? I have the option of doing a co-op 2-3 times before I graduate. I don't think there are any professors researching anything close to my interests at the school I am leaning towards but I feel confident about applying and co-oping somewhere that does. I also wouldn't mind doing research even if it is unrelated to my interests for the sake of experiencing it. I just don't know if co-oping puts me at a disadvantage for grad school or not.  

Thank you for your time!


Edited by MechanicalFox
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In the US, if your final goal is a PhD, you don't need to get a Master's first. Apply straight to PhD Programs after BS. For PhD programs, in my opinion, research is better. But both research and internships will look good on your apps

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