Masters vs PhD: All You need to know

Global Ed

At the graduate level, that is after having completed your Bachelor’s degree, you have the choice between a Master’s and a PhD program. Typically, the PhD comes after you have completed your Master’s. However, many universities today are offering integrated programs wherein you can transition into PhD.

It is not an easy decision to make. So here is a comprehensive guide that will help you decide what is right for you.

Master’s versus PhD

Master’s PhD
What is it It is the next level after a Bachelor’s Doctor of Philosophy.
It is the highest academic degree one can get in a discipline.
What you get An M.A./ M.Sc A Doctorate. On successful completion, you can affix “Dr” in front of your name.
Duration 1-2 years 5 – 7 years, if you are looking at integrated Master’s. 3-5 years, if you applying after your Master’s
Structure of the course Mostly structured coursework, with a project at the end. Some programs also offer a semester of research that ends with a thesis. Does begin with coursework that can last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. But the primary emphasis of a PhD is your dissertation.
Your research will significantly contribute to the existing pool of knowledge.
Independence in domain Considering it is structured very similar to a Bachelor’s, you will be closely monitored during the course. Classes, exams and essays, and you are done. While you do get a supervisor to support you, the progress in a PhD is largely dependent on your self-motivation. You are making decisions and finding justifications for your research on your own.
Once your area of research is decided, you will be asked to give lectures/ take classes on the topic at hand.
You transition from being a student to a scholar.
Scope You are adding to the knowledge you gained in your Bachelor’s.
You can also choose a Master’s that is unrelated to your Bachelor’s, make a tangential connection and carve a niche for yourself.
You are diving into the deepest end, seeing how you can expand the existing knowledge of the domain that you are interested in.
Career Prospects It is a stepping stone to rise in ranks. You will have more specialised knowledge with a Master’s Degree. More supervisory and managerial roles open up. A degree like an MBA or an MPP (Master of Public Policy) is designed to prepare you for the profession. Typically, you will notice that people with PhDs build hugely successful academic careers. University professorships and research are some of the most common careers.
However, in fields like Health, Technology, Management and others, big private companies often swoop in PhDs for research, market analyses and development of new products and services.
Skills Developed Designed towards industry requirements Research and Analysis. The thirst to find something new.
Cost Higher than a doctoral degree. But, your returns also start coming in sooner. PhD programs are usually funded. Fees can be waived and researchers can be given a stipend for living expenses.
You might also expected to work as a teaching or a research assistant.
  • Shorter duration
  • career-focussed rather than research focussed.
  • Easy to moderate learning
  • gain industry-specific knowledge
  • Intensive and Original
  • Thrust you to the top of your field
  • Gain transferable research and analytical skills.
  • A career in academia

We hope this helps. At the end of the day, your decision of whether to stop at the Master’s level or take it further to a PhD is purely dependent on where you see yourself in the future. Both are solid programs, designed for very different things. The structure of a Master’s course will give you better work-life balance whereas a PhD can become all-consuming. However, on completion, a “Dr” in front of your name automatically opens more doors. Either way, these degrees will catapult you far ahead in your careers when compared to others.

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Global Ed


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