Yep, as Grae mentioned, I'm a Cornell AEP MEng alum. I would've responded to this sooner, but it's been a couple of weeks since I've had time to check out these forums. I hope this information still proves useful.
zandertirade wrote:In a previous post someone mentioned that only 2-3 students out of 10, move on from the MS to Phd program at Cornell (applied physics). Now is that all that is accepted from the MS program or is something going on?
In my year one student out of either 8 or 9 (can't remember exactly) stayed on for the PhD at Cornell. One went on to another Ivy League PhD program, and the others are all working in industry (I'm at a national lab currently).
I don't think there's a hard-and-fast rule about how many MEng students are admitted to the PhD. If you can demonstrate that you're qualified for the PhD program, I think you have a great chance at getting in. My informal understanding of how you demonstrate your qualifications, is that you do an excellent MEng research project and get an A in at least one of the AEP PhD core classes (applied E&M, applied QM, etc). This doesn't sound too bad, but I wouldn't underestimate how tough it is. The MEng program is intense -- you take a heavy course load and spend a lot of time on your research project. Bear in mind that you'll also be doing another round of PhD applications in the fall, which as you know is very time consuming. The Cornell courses were also significantly harder (or at least a lot more time consuming) than the undergrad classes I took.
The MS is a two year program but it appears that I can knock out some of the course load.
I have only been accepted to one other school. Would the Cornell option set me back?
I don't know if the program has changed in the last year, but historically (for the last 30 years or so) it's been a one year program. I did it in 9 months, but some people stay on for the summer. It's fast and it's intense.
Expect to spend $50k +/- 5k for tuition and living for a year in Ithaca. It ain't cheap, but for me it paid off. Nine months and $50k took me from having a bachelors in physics/math from a third-tier state school (not particularly employable!) to having a masters in engineering from the top program in the country (ranked #1 out of about 10 engineering physics programs
). Commensurate jump in earning power, marketability, blah blah.
Those are the basics; hope you read this before you make your decision. PM me if you have other questions and I'll try to get back to you today.