Why Graduate School?

There are MANY reasons you all should consider going to graduate school. The main reasons you should go to graduate schools are as follows:

  • there is an ongoing technological revolution; global competition is fierce; highly educated professionals are in demand and this demand is growing!
  • open more doors
  • work on cooler more-challenging problems
  • more access to resources
  • more responsibility
  • more flexibility (e.g. hours, schedule, etc.)….this HELPS TREMENDOUSLY WITH FAMILY LIFE !
  • easier to climb ladder (i.e. raises, promotions, etc.)
  • when layoffs come (and they will come), you have an MS insurance policy…can save you for a while…
  • and lastly, you will make about $10-15K per year more …THIS IS NICE TO KNOW, BUT IT IS NOT THE MAIN REASON!
NOTE: Most of the above can help tremendously with family life!


There are always some students that will ask: Can I do just the same or better with just a BS? Will I lose earnings by staying in school an additional 1-2.5 years to get the MS?
You may want to examine the following:
Here is my answer. This is an important matter. Let me begin by calming down.
(BY THE WAY: I want you to do your own homework! Your own calculation. Don’t just blindly listen to my 30++ years of experience - 1000’s of years if I count the hundreds of students/engineers that I have mentored.)
First, let me begin by reminding you that we are talking about ENGINEERING – arguably, one of the most important areas for world jobs moving forward.
We are not talking about a low-paying career. For some low-paying careers, graduate school may be fiscally insane! (unless mom and dad are capable and willing to pay the bill)
I plan to do a thorough ENGINEERING MS vs BS TRUE COST COMPARISON calculation. Not here. Not now.
Here is what my calculation will show.
If you are a slacker, then the graduate degree is the far superior route – financially and otherwise. The MS degree will provide you with a much needed pay and insurance cushion, while the real world forces you to undergo some rapid de-slacking.
If you are someone who works hard, then the graduate degree is the far superior route – financially and otherwise.
If you are a super genius, then the BS or graduate degree may not be needed; Steve Jobs Bill Gates Mark Zuckerberg etc…do you know any more like these ? Notice that the list is short….get my point? Get as much education as possible. Knowledge is power!

Those of you interested in graduate school should learn about each of the following:
  • Best Engineering Schools
  • Writing a Statement of Purpose – what do you want to do? why is it important? what have you done to prepare? why you should be admitted?
  • Getting Letters of Recommendation – start planning early; work with professors on substantive career-steering/shaping/relevant projects!
  • Importance of community service
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • MS Thesis versus Exam. Advisors: Academic, Research, Thesis

  • Why pursue a PhD?
  • Research Advisors
  • Career Mentors
  • Research Careers
  • Technical Reading
  • MBA Considerations
  • Other Professional Degrees

Fellowship Opportunities Financial Aid: Government and Private Loans

Learn about the many federal loan opportunities that exist.



Dr. Armando A. Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Southwest Institute for ENG Transfer Excellence (SWIETE)

Motivated Engineering Transfer Students (METS) Center
Professor of Electrical Engineering
School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering
Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering
Arizona State University

Tyler Mall, GWC 352
Mailstop 875706
Tempe, AZ 85287-5706
Office: (480) 965-3712
Fax: (480) 965-2811