Is there any advantage in getting a masters of science (say for theoretical physics) before getting your PHD? I was thinking it might be easier to be admitted to a better PHD program if you obtain a masters degree at a different school first, as oppose to just applying to a PHD program right out of college. Is there any truth in this? Also, is it possible to get paying positions (TA, research assistant, etc.) while enrolled in a masters program? Thanks in advance for any advice.