1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Programs Master's Degree before they get a PhD?

  1. Oct 31, 2004 #1

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Do people always get a Master's Degree before they get a PhD? I have noticed that some people will list in their credentials 1) the university where they got their undergraduate degree, and then 2) the university where they got their PhD, but there is nothing listed for the M.A. or M.S. I always thought it was required to do the Masters first, but maybe it varies from program to program? Or maybe they just didn't bother to list where the Masters degree came from if it was from the same institution where the PhD was received?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 31, 2004 #2

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Nope, it's not required to do a master's first. Some programs are even just dropping the master's degree as an option, or leaving it as a fallback plan for those who start grad school and find they can't really cut it. I would still recommend it for anyone who isn't completely sure of what they want to do for their PhD. It gives you a chance to spend just a short time getting your feet wet, figuring out if you like a field, learning a little about how to conduct research, and giving you time to find out whose labs are the best ones to work in before you make a long-term committment to a PhD program.
     
  4. Oct 31, 2004 #3

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Thanks, Moonbear. I was really curious about that.
     
  5. Oct 31, 2004 #4

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Mostly the pure sciences tend to avoid having a masters degree. You're more likely to find someone with a masters degree in engineering or the arts.
     
  6. Oct 31, 2004 #5
    I know for some programs at certain Canadian universities you can go directly into the PhD program IF you are an exceptionally bright student with very good grades.
     
  7. Oct 31, 2004 #6
    another route people often take is to start off in a Master's program, and then switch over to a PhD.
     
  8. Oct 31, 2004 #7

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Wow! I had absolutely no idea. I was thinking, "How did all these people cut in line and get away with skipping the masters program?"
     
  9. Oct 31, 2004 #8

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That's what I did. When I started, I didn't want to lock myself in because I wasn't totally convinced I didn't want to go to med school yet, then after the first year, I realized I was going to stick with the program, and switched to the PhD program. Most of the master's student were either just killing time until they got into vet or med school, or pretty much just getting additional training to get a good job as a technician.

    For my sister, she's a social worker, getting a masters is more useful than a PhD. A PhD is pretty meaningless in the field, but the additional master's degree was almost essential to qualify for any decent paying job.
     
  10. Oct 31, 2004 #9

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    In most big universities, the only way to get a Masters in the pure sciences is to join a PhD program and quit in the middle.
     
  11. Oct 31, 2004 #10

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Oh, another question I had. I see a lot of UCLA teachers/T.A.s with a "CPhil" as their degree. Does anyone know what that means? My chem teacher had this degree, but I also see this associated with programs like geography and language studies.
     
  12. Oct 31, 2004 #11
    BEst i can figure is that it is some credential degree, the only referencei've seen to it is in a lsit of california university degrees offered, and universities out here have huge teacher credential programs
     
  13. Oct 31, 2004 #12

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    True. Bet you're right on that. From what I hear, it takes about as long to get the teacher certification and credentials out here (I'm in Los Angeles) as it does to get a masters degree. There must be different levels, though. Most of my teachers are PhDs or PhD candidates, so I thought the CPhil would have something to do with enabling a person to teach at university level (since my UCLA chem teacher had the "CPhil" after her name).
     
  14. Nov 1, 2004 #13

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I've never seen anyone use such a designation before. Since it seems to be for your TAs who are in PhD programs, the best I can guess is that for some reason they are adding letters to show they have advanced to candidacy for their PhD (Candidate for Philosophy instead of Doctor of Philosophy?) Must be a quirky thing at UCLA, because I've never seen anyone tack letters onto their name for that since it doesn't really mean anything other than internally...if you drop out at that point, you don't get to continue calling yourself a candidate. In a PhD program, you usually don't advance to candidacy until you've put in at least 2 years of coursework and passed a candidacy exam that shows you're competent enough to remain in the program and continue on to get your PhD. In depts that don't offer an actual Master's degree program, those who don't pass the candidacy exam after two or three attempts, depending on the individual dept rules, are the ones who are handed a Master's degree as a consolation prize.
     
  15. Nov 1, 2004 #14
    Its a degree offered at UCSD, its listed under "other/degree cert"
     
  16. Nov 1, 2004 #15
    I know that in some places you may start a Master of Literature(MLitt) from which you may be transfered to a PhD-programme if what you have is approved by the Department concerned.
     
  17. Nov 1, 2004 #16

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    CPhil

    OK, I got an answer on this:

    It means "Candidate in Philosophy." A person with this award has completed all of the work needed for a PhD (including the award of Masters degree), but has not yet defended his/her dissertation.

    Moonbear, you nailed it. :smile:

    So, what happens if you don't successfully defend your dissertation? Do you get to try again?
     
  18. Nov 1, 2004 #17

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    By the time you get to your defense, it's almost a formality. Your mentor and dissertation committee shouldn't let you defend until they are certain you'll do well. I guess there are some people who are stubborn and refuse to accept they aren't cut out to ever get to that point, so they more or less get strung along until they hit the maximum time limit allowed (that's consistently been 10 years everywhere I've been, I'm not sure if there is any variability in that in other institutions), and are then told to accept the masters or start over. I've never really known anyone who didn't get the message long before that.
     
  19. Nov 1, 2004 #18
    So if your defense is not good enough, you will never get the PhD-title? All those years and all those money for no good?
     
  20. Nov 1, 2004 #19
    study Phd in USA is tough, it takes 5--7 years
     
  21. Nov 1, 2004 #20
    I always thought that you had to go in sequence. Bachelor's, Master's, and then a Ph.D
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Master's Degree before they get a PhD?
  1. Getting MS before PhD (Replies: 0)

Loading...