180 change of fields as a grad student
May 31, 2008 9:16 AM Subscribe
I have a humanities undergraduate degree with a minor in computer science. I’m currently in a grad program in the same humanities field. However, I’d like to change directions and pursue a graduate degree in engineering, but I don’t have a math/science/engineering background. What is it going to take to do this?
posted by NormandyJack to education (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sorry if this isn’t quite right, it’s my first question to Ask MeFi. I did some searching and didn’t find much about this.
A little more background.... I'm currently on track for a PhD in the same humanities field as my undergrad degree, with a computational focus, but have totally lost confidence that this is the right choice for me. Ideally, I'll leave within the next year with a master’s. I’d then like to pursue a master’s in something along the lines of mechanical engineering. If I enjoy it as much as I’m imagining I will I’d like to eventually pursue a PhD, but I figure that’s some time off in the future.
The problem is I just don’t know how to do this is. My background in math and hard science is very limited. But, I do have a strong drive to learn and an aptitude for that stuff though. My academic record is very strong, even if it doesn't have much math and hard science. I've seen people make the change in the other direction, but I get the feeling that's a lot easier.
I had a few ideas of how I might proceed:
1. Go for a second baccalaureate. (To be avoided if at all possible)
2. Apply to master’s programs, hope one lets me in and take 1 year of intensive classes to fill in my missing background (is this even possible?)
3. Audit a class or two next semester to start filling the holes in my background (then goto 2)
4. Find a staff position at some university that allows me to take classes for free and spend a year filling in the gaps in my background. (then goto 2)
5. Try to connect with a potential advisor before applying (then goto 2).
I want to get this done as fast as possible, and without crippling myself financially.
Does anyone have any stories or advice to relate about making this sort of change? Am I correct in assuming that my missing background is a major hurdle? Would it be easier to get into a so-so engineering program, do really well there, then try to go to a good engineering program? Any other advice?