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Do you need a masters degree in Physics to be a Professor?

  1. Jul 4, 2012 #1
    Will not having a masters degree lower my chances to be a professor in physics.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 4, 2012 #2

    Integral

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    Not if you have a PhD.
     
  4. Jul 4, 2012 #3
    It also depends on the country. In the US one often either takes a Phd or a Masters as a result of graduate school. In many other countries you first take a Master's degree before beginning your Phd, so then you will need a Master's degree to be able to get to Professor's level (this is quite common in European countries as far as I know).

    But strictly speaking, I guess the answer to your question is no.

    Edit: I might be wrong about the US, maybe one takes both a masters and a Phd in graduate school? (I'm not american myself so I've never been in contact with the US system.)
     
  5. Jul 4, 2012 #4
    I know that you need a PhD but people say it's better to have a Masters but I feel it's a waste of time if you don't need one to be a professor.

    Lets say if 2 people are applying for a tenure track job, one has a PhD and a masters and the other just has a PhD. Will the first one have a better chance of getting in?
     
  6. Jul 4, 2012 #5
    You earn a masters in most phd programs on the way to getting a phd
     
  7. Jul 4, 2012 #6

    jtbell

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    In the US, this is true. In most other countries, masters and PhD are separate steps, and you have to get a masters before you get a PhD.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012
  8. Jul 4, 2012 #7

    cepheid

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    A master's???

    I don't know of any examples where someone who didn't have a PhD could get a faculty position. A master's isn't good enough as far as I know.

    Then again, I'm thinking of a university professor. Maybe it's different for someone who is just hired for a lecturer position, or someone teaching at a community college? But I don't think these are called professors
     
  9. Jul 4, 2012 #8
    Wow, I had no idea that you could go straight into a PhD from a bachelors. I always thought you had to go bachelors->masters->PhD. Why is that (at least the people I know) everyone gets a masters and then a PhD? Is it the reason that jtbell states?
     
  10. Jul 4, 2012 #9
    I meant should I get a Masters before getting a PhD (Of course I am going to get a PhD)
     
  11. Jul 4, 2012 #10
    -edit-
    I see where the misunderstanding is.

    If you're in a PhD program, you should certainly file for a M.S. after you're qualified for it. It won't cost you anything excess, and if you drop out for any reason (your research takes too long, you run out of funds, etc.), at least you end up with a contingency and not nothing. Of course, having it won't increase your chances at professorship, because once you have a PhD, it pretty much nullifies your Masters. A Masters is a milestone that all PhD's must pass, so whether or not it is a reality on paper is futile.

    By the way, don't waste your effort on a physics M.S. program if you're in the US. Masters students mostly don't have stipends; it's not worth it. If you only, do it in engineering, and don't become a professor or a physicist.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012
  12. Jul 4, 2012 #11

    jtbell

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    https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=3982389&postcount=5
     
  13. Jul 4, 2012 #12

    cepheid

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    Oh ok. This was not clear to me *at all* from the thread title or the OP. Your wording suggested to me that you were asking whether a master's was a sufficient condition for a faculty job (as opposed to merely a necessary condition).

    Some phd programs are direct-entry and don't require a master's first. Others aren't. Each one had pros and cons. In my program, which is direct-entry, if you complete your course requirements and your two short-term research projects, and you decide then to drop out of the program (or are forced out because you fail your quals), then you are awarded a master's automatically.

    So the argument that a direct-entry phd program is disadvantageous because it locks you into academia doesn't hold in this case. If you decide after your first year that the academic path isn't for you, you can drop out and obtain a graduate degree that is hopefully somewhat marketable in industry.
     
  14. Jul 4, 2012 #13
    Thank you everybody for your feedback.
     
  15. Jul 5, 2012 #14
    What I know in particulary Denmark, we have Bachelor, and then we can choose to have a candidate. After that you can pick either Masters or PhD. I think that's the way. I'm very unsure though.
     
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