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Is Funding for a Masters that Hard?

  1. Sep 22, 2013 #1
    While browsing through one of the AIP's relatively recent publications (written in 2012 concerning the classes of 2009/2010) I found some information I thought was out of line with the common conception that masters-only students are rarely if ever funded. According to the publication (see page 5), a full 75% of physics/astro masters are funded by some means and 62% of engineering masters likewise. These numbers cannot only be for interim masters en route to the PhD, though surely some are, as there are about 200 terminal masters awarded each year (according to the second link I put below).

    So this begs the question: is getting funding for a masters in physics or engineering actually more likely than not for a physics bachelor? From all of your own experiences, have many people you know (perhaps yourself) been admitted to a research physics or engineering masters with funding without the intention of receiving a PhD? Or are these numbers hiding something? I naturally assume that course-based masters are never funded for obvious reasons. Please share.

    Articles in question:
    http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/reports/bach1yrlater0910.pdf
    http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/reports/physgrad2008.pdf
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 22, 2013 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    The number of MS's awarded in PhD departments per year is 1450, and in terminal MS programs is just over 200. 75% of 1650 is 1240, so the MS's in PhD departments are capable of saturating the awards. So I don't see that your argument works out mathematically.
     
  4. Sep 22, 2013 #3
    This does not make complete sense when you see the number of the sample size (for the physics masters, N=224). Now, the response rate for this survey was 41%, but that's for both 2009/2010 combined. So, that means that the number of students entering physics grad programs those years was approximately 1280 per year ((1052/2)/0.41) and the number of masters total was about 270 per year (obviously some error here because maybe certain types of institutions could be more likely to report their grads' paths).

    Also, the ratio in this survey of PhD's to masters (3.7 to 1) is not similar to the total PhD's to 1650 (approximately 1 to 1). On the other hand, neither are similar to the PhD to terminal masters ratio in the second publication (6.5 to 1).

    Regardless, this indicates that what they call "masters" are composed of a large number of terminal ones (in short because of the approximate number of masters involved as well as the ratio of masters to PhD's). Of course I could have missed something, but I hope that I cleared up my argument.
     
  5. Sep 22, 2013 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    I'm going by the plot on the third page of your first reference.
     
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