Master’s Or PhD: Which Engineering Degree Is The Perfect Fit For You?


A student reaches a major milestone in their Engineering career when they earn their Bachelor’s degree. If they decide to pursue further education, the next big decision they must make is whether or not to complete a master’s degree or a PhD.

Many students have trouble deciding which path is a better fit for their career goals. Both options build on the skills gained in undergraduate studies, but each degree does so in different ways. Depending on the type of work you’re interested in, one may suit you better than the other.

If you’re not sure which road to take, read on to learn some of the key differences between a master’s degree and a PhD in Engineering!

Master’s Degree

This path focuses on building up your arsenal of skills and knowledge, which will come in handy when you’re practicing Engineering. Completing a master’s degree provides you with the specialized training needed to handle large tasks such as designing and creating automobiles, engines, and large machinery. Simply put, it prepares you to take on more challenging projects once you’re in the field.

In addition, getting your master’s means you will be better equipped to move into a leadership position. Roles like Architectural Manager or Engineering Manager require a greater depth of knowledge, so individuals seeking these sorts of positions need to have extra training to ensure they’re familiar with every aspect of a project.

Because of all the different Engineering streams, the time it takes to complete a master’s degree varies – anywhere from 1 to 3 years. However, it’s a worthwhile investment because Engineers with master’s degrees generally have a higher earning potential than engineers with an undergraduate degree alone.

In short, you should pursue a master’s degree if you plan on working as an Engineer and want to develop more knowledge and practical skills, as well as gain access to more opportunities in the field. It’s also a great option if you want to specialize in a specific stream of Engineering.


This path focuses on expanding your areas of knowledge instead of teaching you practical skills and will provide you with opportunities to complete original research. Rather than aspiring practitioners, PhDs are more suited for those who are passionate about academia. In short, after completing a PhD, you should be an eggs-pert in your area of study and ready to become an academic leader!

Students who aspire to work in Research & Development for a company or lab will benefit the most from this option. That’s because a PhD will provide you with the vast amount of knowledge you need to create new and unique theories and put together a thesis.

Moreover, a PhD is absolutely necessary for anyone who plans to teach Engineering in the future. Whether you’re a professor or a contract instructor, you’ll need an extensive knowledge base in order to thoroughly explain concepts, answer a variety of questions, and encourage students to investigate new ideas.

However, one of the biggest challenges in completing a PhD is the amount of time and dedication it requires – usually 5 to 7 years of graduate studies. Students who take this path should have a deep, ingrained passion for the subject.

In the end, you should pursue a PhD if you’re more interested in research than working on Engineering projects. It’s also the best option if you’re aiming to become a leader in the expansion of knowledge in the field of Engineering.

Keep in mind that there are many different specializations in the field of Engineering. Although basic information will stay consistent throughout, specific details will vary between streams, such as tuition costs and time commitment. However, both degrees will help you go that extra step in your career.

Remember – there is no “right” choice. Pick the one that fits you the best!

Want to learn more about the industry? Check out our Engineering Career Guide!