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PhD Minor vs. extra Masters

  1. Jan 12, 2015 #1
    So I'm looking at a program which requires all PhD students to do a minor subject of 12 graduate hours. Would it be worth it to add a few more classes and just get a master's degree in the second field? Would that make you significantly more employable than if you just had the PhD minor?
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  3. Jan 12, 2015 #2

    Quantum Defect

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    At many places, there is strong pressure to limit the amount of coursework that a PhD student takes. When I was in graduate school, advisors were known to discourage their research students from taking courses.

    In most situations, the PhD is going to be the thing that people look at. Having an additional Masters would not make you more marketable, I think.
  4. Jan 12, 2015 #3
    Wouldn't that be dependent on said Phd and then said minor? From what I have seen on these forums you are either planning to do an applied math or plasma physics Phd, but it would be helpful for everyone else if you specify these things. Such as a Phd in the Classics and a minor in Italian will not make you more employable per say (what my girlfriend is doing). Obviously this is not your field, but it would be helpful to specify for the rest of us!
  5. Jan 12, 2015 #4
    Yes, I'm considering a PhD in Mathematics with a minor or masters in Nuclear engineering vs a PhD in Nuclear engineering with a minor or masters in mathematics.
  6. Jan 12, 2015 #5


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    A PhD "course-based minor" is a major flag against the program in my opinion. This is assuming that these are above and beyond the regular coursework already attached to the PhD.

    You're already going to be spending 4-6 years of your life on your PhD. For every ~ 12 credit hours of graduate coursework you're likely going to add another year to that, both because of the time to take the extra courses and the time that study is going to take away from advancing your thesis project. And then, by adding "a few more courses" for a master's you're essentially adding another year to your program. It would seem to me that if this is the case, you have no real advantage over someone who finishes a PhD and then completes a master's degree in a more professionally marketable field. In fact, in terms of marketability you might be in a disadvantage against the latter because that candidate's master's degree will be more recent.
  7. Jan 12, 2015 #6
    UCLA where the girlfriend goes to and one of my professors requires a minor. I would hardly consider that university a bad one. I think it makes interdisciplinary studies much easier to achieve which I believe the OP wants to eventually do. If you were only looking for pure mathematical research then the minor is useless but this does not seem to be the case. This is merely anecdotal evidence and Choppy may be right in regards to on a "whole" that most programs containing these minors are not as good. I wish you luck.
  8. Jan 12, 2015 #7
    Essentially my philosophy is to "keep my options open." So I've always tried to get as many qualifications as I could pick up along the way to my main degree/diplomas in undergrad and grad studies. I'd basically be doing similar research in either of these PhD programs. I'm probably slightly more interested in the N.E. PhD...but I'd like to be able to for example teach community college / university mathematics courses as a back-up career plan...in case the job market is terrible when I graduate. Yeah, these are both top programs. One is top 5, another 10-15 and another is 28.
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