3 answers

What was your experience in applying for and choosing a master's degree program in STEM?

Asked New York, New York

I am interested in pursuing a master's degree in Construction Engineering and Management after graduation, but I welcome those with different backgrounds in STEM and/or Management to respond! :) How did you go about looking for master's degree programs to apply to, and how difficult was the application process(es)? How did you narrow down your options afterwards?

I imagine applications for MS programs to be stressful, especially because I plan to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam in my senior year. How did you balance preparing for that and the GRE together? What about the financial aid/scholarship/fellowship process? Please also comment on any other information you found pertinent in your own experiences. Thank you! :)

#stem #engineering #masters #management

3 answers

Abhay’s Answer


Hello That's a great choice.

GRE is easy and it is designed for an individual to take it on the go, although with preparation things does get easier. Most of the university ask for GRE and usually universities have certain criteria more of a base cut off on GRE scores.

Then further ranking is based on your Statement of purpose (SOP), LOR and overall profile. Usually you can browse the programs an university has aligning towards your interest. I would reached out to the Grad School Dean/ Liaison and the Professor itself to get more details, such as on programs, funding opportunities, etc. Some of the reference are



FE is a great idea.

PS: In my cases the research ran out of funding in my 2nd Semester, but I got that funding/scholarship/assistantship from my Department

Abhay recommends the following next steps:

  • GRE
  • Reaching out to Graduate school's (once narrowed down based on initial browsing research)
  • Narrowing down the grad school's to apply to
  • Apply
  • Follow up on Scholarships with acceptance
Hi Abhay, thank you for your response! I really appreciate your targeted comments, and I will definitely be mindful of them as I get closer to the time for grad school applications. I have taken a look in the GRE and the English section looks a bit too pompous for my tastes, but I know that I will need to work hard instead of slacking off like I did for the SAT. Actually, I didn't know one can reach out to professors and deans of the program he/she is applying for, does it put them in an advantage?
It certainly does. It certainly makes them aware of you as a candidate, this will also be a great platform to break the ice and dwell in details.

Peter’s Answer

Updated Kent, Washington

You ask some well-directed questions, Abhay. Let me start by telling you my Engineering Masters Degree experience. I got my undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology. But Earth Day had just started and I was very keen on going into a career in Water Resources. So I entered a Masters Program at the Civil Engineering Dept. at the University of Washington. I had no formal background in Engineering, but I took a number of engineering graduate classes as part of my program. After I graduated, I worked for a number of engineering consulting firms. While at these firms, enough formal engineering rubbed off that I finally took my EIT about 10 years later. The following year I passed the Civil PE and got my engineering license. Graduate school got me firmly established in the Field of Water Resources and I thoroughly enjoyed my career of over 40 years working in a very challenging and satisfying Field.

As for taking exams such as the EIT or the GRE (or the LSAT, which I also took), don't seat it....you just DO it. I suggest that you leave several months between exams. You can often take a preparatory course these the exams. I did this and would certainly recommend that you do this too. As for choosing a masters program, I asked around to determine good schools with advanced water resources programs and applied to three of them.

If you have any further questions or need for perspective, let me know.

Pete Sturtevant <PE

G. Mark’s Answer


Realize that STEM is, of course, "Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics," so it encompasses quite a lot of topics. My own experience was that I was always interested in those things, so when applying to colleges, this was a natural fit. My submission for scholarships specified that I was intending to pursue a degree in medicine. After I entered undergrad school, I became intensely interested in engineering and computers, which, as it happened, meshed quite well with my medical intentions. One thing I noticed was that, due to the fact that STEM education is so valuable to the world at large, faculty and others are more than happy to support you in your goals to pursue STEM classes. This is rather convenient for students, since STEM students are often recruited by companies on campus. I happened to interview with a pretty prestigious R&D company that was, at the time, a monopoly. They had ample funding, and I, being lazy ( :-) ) did whatever they asked to get their help in putting me in a Masters program. I really don't think many students who successfully complete a STEM curriculum will have much trouble entering a Masters program. But entering is the easy part. Completing many STEM Masters programs does entail quite a bit of work. The good part is that if you've gone through school and studied the STEM material, you're likely interested in that sort of stuff anyway, so you've got an automatic leg up. Plus, workload notwithstanding, it can be pretty fun.