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Other Grad Advice

  1. May 30, 2017 #1
    So I just finished up a masters in math (my undergrad was in physics) and I was considering applying for physics graduate school next year. However, I recently got accepted to a physics masters program. My question is whether I should accept the offer, or apply for a doctorate program next year? Some things to consider: 1) I really feel I should be paying back some of my student loans, which could be hard to do under another masters program. 2) My undergrad GPA was only a 3.65. Would doing well in a masters program make up for this?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 30, 2017 #2


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    It might help to know where you are in the world as you might want to consider different things depending on the schools. In the US, you can generally jump from a BSc to a PhD. In other places you generally need a master's degree.

    How long is the MSc program and what will it cover? In some cases MSc coursework can be used towards PhD requirements, and so enrolling in a MSc program is like starting a PhD program. In other cases you might have to repeat the work - particularly if you enroll in a PhD at a different institution that insists you do it's coursework.

    Do you have any kind of work lined up if you don't do the MSc this year? A lot of recent graduates are struggling to find work these days. If you end up unemployed for the first six months of your job search, how will that affect your student loan repayment? Conversely, if you have something that you could step into and start making good money at, you'd be in a good position moving into the PhD - not only repaying the loan, but possibly building up a nest egg so that your PhD years aren't quite a slime as they need to be. On top of that, it will give you some real world work experience that could come in handy after the PhD.

    I don't know what you mean by "make up for" a 3.65 GPA. Sure, if you get a 4.00 in your MSc classes, it will look great on an PhD application. It probably won't elevate you to rock star status though. A lot can depend on the specific of the courses and program involved too.
  4. May 30, 2017 #3
    Thank you for the response. I live in the U.S., and the master's program is two years. Many institutions tend to differ on transfer credits which is why I was unsure. If I didn't go, I would probably work a military job (I live near two military bases that are constantly hiring) or seek out a nasa job. I should also clarify that my major GPA was 3.54, my undergrad was 3.65 :(. Thanks again though, your answer was helpful.
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