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Thread: Exploring Civil Engineering Master's (Transportation), no background in UP/Engineering

  1. #1
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    Exploring Civil Engineering Master's (Transportation), no background in UP/Engineering

    Note - I originally posted this in the Student Commons, but after some more reading I realized this is more appropriate. I'll edit out my thread there. Sorry about that.

    I wanted to give you guys some information about my situation in the hopes of getting some opinions on the direction I am heading. I've done plenty of searching through these forums and haven't found a similar situation (yet, at least).

    I'm 24 years old and have been working in customer service at two different tech companies (smaller companies with specialized roles, not call centers or mega-corporations) for the last 3 or so years. I graduated in 2012 from a small but fairly well regarded college in Florida with a 3.74 GPA. I have two Bachelor's degrees: one in Computer Science, and the other in Sociology. I have yet to take the GRE but expect I could do reasonably well (at the very least, above average) with enough studying and perhaps a tutor.

    I've been recently feeling interested in heading back to school, but don't want to really seriously consider it until I have a really good idea of what I am interested in. Like many people in their mid-20s, I'm just not sure what my passion is yet.

    I've always been interested in transportation: from a fascination with trains and heavy machinery and a love for drawing my own maps as a kid, to spending almost all of my time on Sim City building giant highway/rail networks across regions as a teenager, to a strong interest in how people get around cities today, I know it's something I'm interested in. But what I don't know is if this interest translates to a desire to pursue this area professionally. Obviously, that's for me to figure out.

    My first question is: are you or someone you know a Civil Engineer who did not do any kind of Engineering or Urban Planning in college/professionally before going for a Master's? I'd love to hear more from you. I'm not a math whiz, but am not afraid of it either (I had to take quite a bit for the Computer Science degree). I love learning new software and systems (and am a quick learner) but also have no experience with ArcGIS or any other GIS software.

    I've been looking at grad schools on the West Coast (I'm pretty uncompromising about wanting to remain on this side of the United States for, hopefully, the rest of my life). At the moment, I'd say University of Washington would be my number one option if I were to pursue this area of education, mainly because I've read great things about the program and I'd love to wind up in Seattle. For someone with no prior experience, is that a viable option? What are some other good choices?

    Finally, can anyone recommend reading material, videos, a MOOC, etc. that might introduce me to the broad field of Civil Engineering and in particular, Transportation Engineering?

    Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally posted by HBtC View post
    Note - I originally posted this in the Student Commons, but after some more reading I realized this is more appropriate. I'll edit out my thread there. Sorry about that.

    I wanted to give you guys some information about my situation in the hopes of getting some opinions on the direction I am heading. I've done plenty of searching through these forums and haven't found a similar situation (yet, at least).

    I'm 24 years old and have been working in customer service at two different tech companies (smaller companies with specialized roles, not call centers or mega-corporations) for the last 3 or so years. I graduated in 2012 from a small but fairly well regarded college in Florida with a 3.74 GPA. I have two Bachelor's degrees: one in Computer Science, and the other in Sociology. I have yet to take the GRE but expect I could do reasonably well (at the very least, above average) with enough studying and perhaps a tutor.

    I've been recently feeling interested in heading back to school, but don't want to really seriously consider it until I have a really good idea of what I am interested in. Like many people in their mid-20s, I'm just not sure what my passion is yet.

    I've always been interested in transportation: from a fascination with trains and heavy machinery and a love for drawing my own maps as a kid, to spending almost all of my time on Sim City building giant highway/rail networks across regions as a teenager, to a strong interest in how people get around cities today, I know it's something I'm interested in. But what I don't know is if this interest translates to a desire to pursue this area professionally. Obviously, that's for me to figure out.

    My first question is: are you or someone you know a Civil Engineer who did not do any kind of Engineering or Urban Planning in college/professionally before going for a Master's? I'd love to hear more from you. I'm not a math whiz, but am not afraid of it either (I had to take quite a bit for the Computer Science degree). I love learning new software and systems (and am a quick learner) but also have no experience with ArcGIS or any other GIS software.

    I've been looking at grad schools on the West Coast (I'm pretty uncompromising about wanting to remain on this side of the United States for, hopefully, the rest of my life). At the moment, I'd say University of Washington would be my number one option if I were to pursue this area of education, mainly because I've read great things about the program and I'd love to wind up in Seattle. For someone with no prior experience, is that a viable option? What are some other good choices?

    Finally, can anyone recommend reading material, videos, a MOOC, etc. that might introduce me to the broad field of Civil Engineering and in particular, Transportation Engineering?

    Thanks for reading.
    I know some people didn't do transportation things in college and went to grad school for transportation engineering. I wanted to do that, so I did a little research (but then I decided to go for a Transportation Planning concentration in a Planning school). They usually have some requirements for math and engineering background. For example, 3 semesters of Calculus, 1-2 semester of Stats with Calculus. And depending on your track (transport system or infra engineering), they might require mechanics classes or econ classes. If you didn't meet this, you could take classes once you got in.
    Here are Virginia Tech's requirements: http://www.vtceewebsite.cee.vt.edu/f...ked-questions/

    If you want to have a less-strict requirement, you might want to take a look at UC Irvine's Transportation Science, or UC Davis's Transportation Technology and Policy's program. I know a girl who had a bachelor in Land Management in China and ended up having a master's there. She's working for Parson Brinckerhoff.
    http://www.transci.uci.edu/
    Last edited by GGT; 22 Jul 2015 at 9:36 AM.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    GT

    Georgia Tech seems to be fantastic for both transportation policy/planning AND engineering. There is collaboration between the two departments. Although that doesn't abide by your west coast preference.

    Another thing to consider is complementing your transport engineering degree with an elective or two in transportation planning to round it out.

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