"I believe that the long-term benefits of graduate school are tremendous, and particularly so when the student studies at a university that is different from the one where (s)he received an undergraduate degree. Civil engineering is such a diverse field that there just isn't time at the undergraduate level for anything more than a cursory introduction to the transportation field. Graduate school gives transportation students the first principles and theoretical underpinnings of analysis methodologies that must be understood if these methodologies are to be applied thoughtfully, creatively, and legitimately in real-world situations. The research assistant-ships that are often available to graduate students add great value by giving real-world context to the coursework, by allowing the student to work shoulder-to-shoulder with his/her professors, and by introducing the student to a national (and sometimes international) set of professional contacts that will continue to be accessible throughout the remainder of his/her career."
Wayne Kittelson, PE
Chief Executive Officer
Senior Principal Engineer
Kittelson and Associates, Inc.
"A graduate degree in a specialty makes you more attractive to firms or agencies in that field - it shows that you are interested in their line of work and are willing to learn. For the student, graduate school encourages the development of critical thinking and communication skills, industry contacts, advanced knowledge, and "big picture" perspective that will serve them well in their career."
Dr. Chris Monsere
Portland State University
Highway Safety Engineering Coordinator
"At David Evans and Associates, Inc., we hire graduate engineers at both the Bachelor's and Master's level. In some fields, such as traffic engineering and structural engineering, we generally consider a master's degree as the first professional-level degree. In some other specialties within civil engineering, a bachelor's degree and relevant experience will still qualify you for an entry-level position. Over time, I expect that we will at least state a preference for a graduate degree for all of our entry-level engineering positions. In any case, we encourage our engineers with bachelor's degrees to consider graduate studies, and support them in their efforts to pursue a Master's degree."
Jay Lyman, PE
David Evans and Associates, Inc.
"Civil Engineering is such a broad topic, that I didn't feel I got an in-depth experience in any one area. Graduate School gave me the opportunity to explore one area, Transportation Engineering, in much more detail. I didn't fully appreciate the breadth of Transportation until I studied it for two more years. Graduate school has given me a foundation on which to build my career. Because of Graduate School, I felt I had more information and experience to draw from when I joined the workforce. Colleagues respected and appreciated my graduate work and I feel it gave me an advantage from the beginning."
Pamela M. Kordenbrock
FHWA - Office of Travel Management
"If a student is interested in some specific areas of engineering, they would benefit from extended focus in their academic studies. This focus should allow them to show additional expertise and greater familiarity with the current tools and approaches used in their chosen area. Some example areas that we look for additional focus efforts include structures and traffic planning. I would also encourage choices that would develop the student's ability to write (well, not just a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo), work in team environments, and co-op or intern opportunities."
Dan Dixon, PE
HNTB - Seattle
"My graduate degree in Civil Engineering enabled me to pursue my interests in transportation sooner and at a much higher level then otherwise possible. I had the opportunity to work directly with professionals in the field and learned from them. Pursuing a graduate degree took work, but it was fun and a very rewarding experience.
Having the graduate degree opened many more doors for me to an exciting and rewarding career."
Federal Highway Administration