Ph.D or masters

Discussion in 'Education' started by grantlen2211, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. grantlen2211
    Joined: Dec 2011
    Posts: 9
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 23
    Location: place of no where

    grantlen2211 Junior Member

    I am interest in naval architecture and I was thinking about getting my masters in this field. Because the schools I am looking at you can get your masters in 5 years also with your Bachelors. And I was wondering is it worth trying to get a Ph.D and spend more years learning. Would it help in the long run to get my Ph..D and would it make me more money.
    Thanks for your help
  2. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
    Posts: 1,854
    Likes: 71, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 896
    Location: OREGON

    rasorinc Senior Member

    If your choice is between Naval Architect and Engineering I guaranty you will make more money and have far more job options in engineering. Become an engineer and make Naval Architecture your minor, even to the point of getting a BS degree in it.
  3. jehardiman
    Joined: Aug 2004
    Posts: 3,045
    Likes: 560, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 2040
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington, USA

    jehardiman Senior Member

    What do you want to do? That will determine what you need. Sometimes PE is more important than Piled higher and Deeper.
  4. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,936
    Likes: 148, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1593
    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    it all depends on what you envision your future career path to be. A phd is useful if you intend to go into academics or work for a large institution or government agency where credentials are considered important.

    If you want to design boats than compatence and knowlage is more important that credentials. A 4 year degree and good work experience is the most valuable thing that demonstrates competence. A degree in Navel Architecture limits your career options, but is most recognized and accepted if your career path keeps you in the marine field.

    Engineering gives more technical expertise and the most amount of career options both within the marine industry and outside of it. Jehardiman's suggestion gives you a good start, and still leaves you with options if there are slow times in the ship design business.

    My degree is in Mechanical engineering, later I took the tests and met the requirements for a professional license (Professional Engineer, or "PE"). I have never been unemployed, I have worked in a lot of different fields: defense aerospace, designing military aircraft, and in commercial jets (large passenger planes), consumer products, sporting goods, automotive engineering, and I have also ran my own consulting firm for the last 19 years (full time) doing building design, on-site sewage treatment facilities, drainage and other construction related work, in addition to doing a fair amount of marine engineering when ever I can get it.

    by being flexible you will never be out of work. The work always varies and I never get bored of it. A degree in engineering will give you enough basics to allow you to apply the knowledge in a variety of fields, where there is always a demand for a skilled and flexible engineer/designer.

    If your career plans are just to design pleasure yachts, even as a successful designer or NA, you can expect long stretches of little to no work. Clients and boat building goes with the economy, when everyone is worried about the future they put off have a boat built. Most independent NAs have to take on work outside of boat design to keep a steady income, unless you become one of the well known and lucky few who become well enough known to be in demand. If that happens than great! but I would not count on it so you need to have enough design skills to get work when you need it.

    good luck.
  5. Mike Graham
    Joined: Feb 2013
    Posts: 67
    Likes: 6, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 54
    Location: Maryland

    Mike Graham Junior Member

    If you're just going to university now, don't plan as far ahead as a Ph.D. Once you're involved in the system for a while, it will become a bit clearer to you what a Ph.D. really means. People with doctorates are usually leaning towards different sorts of work.

    If you shared more about what you want to do and what your career goals are, you might be able to get better advice.
  6. SleepyOldDog
    Joined: Apr 2012
    Posts: 9
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 19
    Location: Virginia

    SleepyOldDog Junior Member


    The members above have given you some very sound advice. I'll try to add a little perspective:

    Years ago, in a yard far, far away, I was a mechanical engineer (BS) with 10 years of experience designing and getting things built while meeting cost and schedule constraints. Being reasonably successful, I was given the responsibility for leading a new, fairly large project in the concept/preliminary design phase.

    The project had some unique and challenging anchoring requirements. Fortunately, I had access to a PhD Naval Architect whose dissertation was about a specialized anchoring system. I met with him and provided the requirements and constraints.

    8 weeks later all I got was a professorial chalk talk about how many variables are involved in anchoring – bottom characteristics, bottom suction, wave action, water depth and so on. I was lectured on how complicated anchoring was and how I was underestimating the time and effort required... But, this was preliminary design. I needed a basic design concept so I could create realistic budgets for space, weight, power, control, cost, etc. requirements for the anchoring system as well as dozens of other system design challenges on the project.

    I learned quickly from this experience about the PhD and the real world. They can have a hard time mixing. I have no problem with the real need in the world for PhD Naval Architects/Engineers. But the university system that produces PhD Naval Architects/Engineers forces prospective PhD and some MS students to study small areas of our field in ever increasing minutia to meet academic demands. If you want to be the worlds authority on computational techniques for simulating wave interaction with dredging barges in 35 feet of water in the Mississippi Delta, get a PhD and study the problem for years. Publish or perish. Since I've been retired for 10 years this may have changed. But I seriously doubt it.

    For the rest of us run-of-the-mill BS/MS Engineers and Naval Architects, we strive to turn customer requirements into something we can prove – through design, analysis and testing– will work within cost and schedule constraints. So if you want to design and build boats/ships/marine platforms get a BS in NA or Mechanical Engineering and get to work. Work on as many different projects as you can. Build on your experiences. Learn something everyday. It is a very special and rewarding day when you see your boat hit the water for the first time. It is hard to explain the “romance of shipbuilding” but it exists.

    Good Luck and Have Fun!

    (Since ours is a small community, the above example has been modified to protect identities and is not meant in any way shape or form to criticize my friend the PhD. He is very successful and a true expert.)
  7. Mike Graham
    Joined: Feb 2013
    Posts: 67
    Likes: 6, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 54
    Location: Maryland

    Mike Graham Junior Member

    I just want to add that if you might have any interest in a Ph.D. or even a research-based Master's degree, then ask your professors if they need a research assistant while you're an undergraduate. At a good university professors are usually eager to bring on reasonably promising undergraduates and this will get you exposure to the academic system most students don't have.
  8. El_Guero

    El_Guero Previous Member

    Get real experience.

    Forget the Ph.D. And probably forget the Masters.

    If you want to be a research assistant, do so on the advice from professionals in the field. If you cannot find a professional in the field to recommend a professor to work with, the professor is all theory and no practical.

    Theory is ok, if you never want to work.

  9. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,532
    Likes: 367, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    All good advice. If you want to do nothing but research go for the PHD. But if you want to design ships, yachts and other vessels stick with a bachelors. Very few NAs have a PHD. I started in the field in 1965 and in that time have only known three NA's that had a PHD and only one of them was working in design. I want to get a degree as an NA, but a lot of stuff intervened and I ended up taking general engineering courses. My degree? Eventually I shifted to Operations Management, yet I was hired by the Coast Guard as an engineer and spent my career working alongside an NA doing exactly the same work.
  10. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    Its all depend of your financial situation. If you have the means, well take anything you want, Phd is a long, long way, and it is not sure you even get it.
    If you are on a shoestring budget take the fastest course and get to the work force.
  11. Wavewacker
    Joined: Aug 2010
    Posts: 696
    Likes: 21, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 226
    Location: Springfield, Mo.

    Wavewacker Senior Member

    As in any field, I'd suggest you get a master's degree as it's still closely related in effort to the undergrad. Getting the undergrad is like jumping two feet in the air, a master's is 2 1/2 feet in the air, a Phd can be like jumping 4 feet high due to a higher degree of specialization in that field. Most students get a master's and then work in that field a few years. This gets you settled into the industry. Make that decision when you know more about your career path.

    I'd think if you were to be a consultant to the Navy and take a GS 18 position, the Phd would be well worth it. If you end up wanting to build your own shop and do small crafts, a master's may be all you'll ever need.

    A phd is for teaching, being considered for consultation in specific areas, writing technical publications, sort of a political hedge in a field. It is not a blank check to any position in any industry.

    Many engineers starting out fail to get a decent business background. I'd say an MBA and a master-N/A or at least a dual concentration in undergrad with a business degree, would take you further than a Phd in N/A. I suggest that because every business, large or small, runs for profitability, not to design the ultimate machine. If what you design is not economical to build, is not cost effective, is not marketable or doesn't out weigh the cost benefit, then it will do you little good in designing it in reality. That will be true in government or any private sector. :)
  12. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,936
    Likes: 148, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1593
    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    you left out the most important aspect: it must meet your customer's needs. If any business classes, or MBA program, does not teach this very basic aspect of running any business, it is a waste of time. From a small shop building custom dingys, to a internationally known consulting firm, if you do not meet your customers needs, you will not stay in business.
  13. Wavewacker
    Joined: Aug 2010
    Posts: 696
    Likes: 21, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 226
    Location: Springfield, Mo.

    Wavewacker Senior Member

    well, customer satisfaction, meeting a market niche, meeting demand and public relations aspects fall in the realm of "marketability". Developing a market, classification of the market, anticipating and forecasting markets, pricing, customer satisfaction, repeat business, maturity of markets and social aspects as well as government influences all impact marketing.

    Yes, these aspects are basically taught for a business degree. I taught accounting, finance, economics, marketing, banking and insurance at the university level, I can assure you customer satisfaction and demands are taught at any accredited university or college, at least to some degree.

    I worked with PEs for over 20 years, many thought they had a good command of business basics, few did, they were mostly self taught, missed theory and legal requirements, finance was a foreign language to most all of them. Engineering is a science. Business is an art as well as a science, more so than a technical, formula driven, physical laws science of engineering. Not saying that engineering doesn't allow artistic applications, but it's generally in secondary considerations to engineering requirements. Much more leeway in business applications, no one dies if you treat your inventory on a first in first out basis. I'm not an engineer, but I know if engineers screw up people can die, so I do have a great respect for them.

    Now, if you are an engineer and you speak the language of business understanding the variables, then you will have very marketable skills. :D
  14. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,936
    Likes: 148, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1593
    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member


    I agree with you about most engineers, I have worked with them my whole career, and have many work for me in my current business. Some have some pretty cooky ideas about "marketing" or running a buisness. One I had thought all advertizing should be outlawed, I asked him how would people find out what you have to sell if you do not advertize. He seemed to think it was some kind of evil power that made people buy things they do not want.

    But meeting the customers needs is not just about "marketability", it is something basic to any business. From a one man sole proprietor, to a company that builds airliners, boats or automobiles. Your ability to stay in business is directly related to your ability to deliver what the customer needs or wants. It does not matter how good your design, it does not matter how well built or how pretty what you have to offer it, if it does not meet the customers need, you will not sell it.

  15. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    MBA is a tool, not a finality. If you have a hammer you can drive the nail home, and the customer is happy. If you don't have a hammer because it's a waste of time, and you drive home your nail with your shoe, your customer will be not happy.
    MBA teach you the basic, it will not teach you about yourself. And you need the basic if you want to be in finance or business.
    It is like that with every educational program, they are designed as a tool. then you do what you want.
    No educational program is a waste of time if you understand what you are learning.
    No educational program will teach you how to get rich and famous. That's your part of the deal using the tools they gave you. If you don't understand the difference, your chance of success is nil.
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.