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Phd student in biological sciences wondering about PhD in materials engineering


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But not for me!  I'm quite happy in the sciences.

My fiance is a materials engineer and has always wanted to do R&D.  He did an 8 month co-op in it and has been working for the past 4 months in an academic lab.  He's graduating in December and is trying to find a job until he says that he wishes he could go to grad school because R&D is impossible without an advanced degree.  First off, is this true?

He has a 3.02 GPA, specializations in polymers and metals (I'm pretty sure that's what they are called) will have 2 publications by the end of the semester, is a first generation Hispanic college student, and is super passionate about materials.  So I'm trying to use all my resources (ie this place) to figure out if there is a way he can go to grad school at Vanderbilt, where I go, because he's been drooling over the program there.  In biology, you can take a could of years "off" to gain experience as a lab technician.  Is this something he could do?  Would it help offset his GPA (Which started off low but had a strong upward trend)?  What are some options he could come up with to make a career in materials R&D?  Also, are engineering master's funded?

I'm sorry my questions are so basic, but it's really a whole different world.  Ask me about applying in biomedical sciences, sure.  But engineering??? :D

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From what I've seen, "researchy" industry experience is typically treated similarly to research experience in engineering. To my knowledge taking a gap year is helpful for engineering too and probably has a similar effect as in biology. In general, engineering masters are not funded.

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