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"Short" PHD at Undergraduate Institution

  1. May 31, 2015 #1
    The way that my undergraduate career went, I had the opportunity to finish a MS at the same time as my BS within 4 years and now believe I will now have an opportunity to continue my MS to a PhD. I've heard that this typically isn't very good for employment opportunities, but would this be the case considering the "head start" I would have in the program?

    Edit: This is as a physics major at a well respected institution.
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. May 31, 2015 #2


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    Do you mean after you finish the Ph.D.? Why would this be the case?

    (Is this in physics or in some other field?)
  4. May 31, 2015 #3
    Yes, this is in Physics. I do mean after the PhD, and I've heard from several people that companies and other employers prefer to stray away from someone who has remained at the same institution for their entire academic career.
  5. May 31, 2015 #4


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    It's actually pretty common and I'm not sure where that thinking originated from.

    In my grad program probably 1/3 to 1/2 of the students were undergraduates at the same institution (including myself). I assure you we haven't had any problems whatsoever. I'm at a National Lab (and I have another colleague who stayed in one institution all the way through her PhD who works in my group here). Of those of us that went BS though PhD in our school (a UC campus, btw) one is currently a director of an engineering design group and another is currently working an engineering management job at Apple. Can't really get more successful than that, can you?
  6. May 31, 2015 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    I believe that it is better to go to two schools than one. That doesn't mean that staying at the same school will destroy your life, just that it's better not to. I believe that you learn more by being exposed to different faculty and different ways of doing things(I certainly did), and your description of "a Short PhD" suggests you can do this faster, which almost always means learning less.

    Finally, at some point you need to focus more on what you will be learning than on what other people might be thinking.
  7. May 31, 2015 #6


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    I am assuming that if you stayed at your institution your PhD research be a continuation/extension of your MS dissertation work (otherwise, how would it save time to stay)? If so, as Vanadium 50 indicates, you need to decide if that is the research you want to continue. I must say that even completing an MS in under 2 years after undergrad is not so easy, especially since doing research and writing a masters thesis can easily take the better part of a year. How did you manage to do both undergrad and MS in 4 years?
    Anyway, regarding your question, I don't think staying at the same institution will hurt you for most jobs - when I interview people I never care. However, doing a "fast" degree might hurt (or might not) , if it means that you learned less / did less research / presented at fewer conferences / had fewer publications. Ultimately, you should look at your grad options in light of what you actually want to specialize in and what kind of research you want to do.

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