MS or PhD?

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lordbadri
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MS or PhD?

Postby lordbadri » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:18 am

Hey
I am an Indian student with an undergraduate degree in Electronics and Telecommunication from a reputed collage.
Currently i am working at IISc (Indian institute of science) (best in the country for research) as research assistant. Now after going through the replies of many post on this site i am at a dilemma now. My interest is to pursue my PhD in Astronomy in USA.I am currently trying my best to get a assistant-ship in the astronomy and physics department.I have given the subject test in Nov and awaiting its result.

My question is whether i will have a good chance of entering a PhD program after doing my MS (Astronomy or Physics) in the US or Applying to the direct PhD program in Astronomy and Astrophysics in the US?

I know that most of the top collages don't admit students for a MS program in Astronomy, i found a few that do but it would be of great help if i get a few suggestions on the universities that offer MS in Astronomy or Physics?

TakeruK
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Re: MS or PhD?

Postby TakeruK » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:04 pm

I don't know what universities offer terminal astronomy masters in the US off the top of my head, but you should be able to find this by looking up universities that have research which interests you. I also think you should apply to both Masters and PhD programs, there's no need to pick just one. Many schools that offer PhD programs won't offer a terminal masters by the way.

bfollinprm
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Re: MS or PhD?

Postby bfollinprm » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:22 pm

I doubt many schools will care if you do a masters beforehand in the US, as long as you already have quality numbers associated with your applications. It might help peripherally if you get good recommendation letters from your professors there, who might be better known than your supervisors in India in the field. It will almost certainly not be a good choice in terms of forwarding your physics career; you'll end up spending two years at a school relearning things you probably already know, all for the chance of a minor thesis project that might net you a recommendation or two. If you're competitive enough to get into PhD programs, I'd focus on applying to those; though of course, as TakeruK said, it wont hurt to look at some masters programs as a failsafe.

If there is some damning numbers in your profile (subpar GPA, below 60th %ile PGRE), then you might consider doing a masters first to boost these numbers and also solidify your understanding of core physics topics. I'm assuming you're not in this case, but I wanted to put this caveat out there just in case.

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lordbadri
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Re: MS or PhD?

Postby lordbadri » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:20 am

Thank you so much for your replies bfollinprm and TakeruK.
The point that led to me to conclude about applying to MS rather the PhD is that, i am not form the Physics Background...My undergrad degree is in Electronics and looking at how competitive the applications are also the selection is..i thought it would be better to show good experience in physics and Astronomy by getting an admit in MS in US before applying to PhD in US...ie increasing my chances to get an admit in the top 20 for PhD.About my GPA it is >3.5 and my Phy GRE result is yet to be out....but i have performed well.
But as you suggested bfollinprm that i keep MS as a fail safe rather then considering it...i will do that.I will apply for PhD programs in Astronomy and Astrophysics. As TakeruK suggested for me to apply to both MS and PhD if the school offers for example UCD....i will do that also.I am planning to apply for PhD around 10+ universities.

Apart from that, I have found 4 such universities who offer MS for my fail safe consideration:
Central Michigan University
Washington State
University of Georgia
Sand Diego State
Please do let me know if you have more which can be suggested and kindly advice me on the prospects of the MS Degree program Towards a PhD in top 10 or 20.

bfollinprm
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Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: MS or PhD?

Postby bfollinprm » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:18 pm

lordbadri wrote:Thank you so much for your replies bfollinprm and TakeruK.
The point that led to me to conclude about applying to MS rather the PhD is that, i am not form the Physics Background...My undergrad degree is in Electronics and looking at how competitive the applications are also the selection is..i thought it would be better to show good experience in physics and Astronomy by getting an admit in MS in US before applying to PhD in US...ie increasing my chances to get an admit in the top 20 for PhD.About my GPA it is >3.5 and my Phy GRE result is yet to be out....but i have performed well.
But as you suggested bfollinprm that i keep MS as a fail safe rather then considering it...i will do that.I will apply for PhD programs in Astronomy and Astrophysics. As TakeruK suggested for me to apply to both MS and PhD if the school offers for example UCD....i will do that also.I am planning to apply for PhD around 10+ universities.

Apart from that, I have found 4 such universities who offer MS for my fail safe consideration:
Central Michigan University
Washington State
University of Georgia
Sand Diego State
Please do let me know if you have more which can be suggested and kindly advice me on the prospects of the MS Degree program Towards a PhD in top 10 or 20.


If UCD refers to University of California, Davis, they do not offer a terminal masters degree. They offer masters degrees to PhD candidates once they finish their first year of graduate school, but you can not be admitted as a masters student.

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lordbadri
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Re: MS or PhD?

Postby lordbadri » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:33 pm

bfollinprm wrote:
lordbadri wrote:Thank you so much for your replies bfollinprm and TakeruK.
The point that led to me to conclude about applying to MS rather the PhD is that, i am not form the Physics Background...My undergrad degree is in Electronics and looking at how competitive the applications are also the selection is..i thought it would be better to show good experience in physics and Astronomy by getting an admit in MS in US before applying to PhD in US...ie increasing my chances to get an admit in the top 20 for PhD.About my GPA it is >3.5 and my Phy GRE result is yet to be out....but i have performed well.
But as you suggested bfollinprm that i keep MS as a fail safe rather then considering it...i will do that.I will apply for PhD programs in Astronomy and Astrophysics. As TakeruK suggested for me to apply to both MS and PhD if the school offers for example UCD....i will do that also.I am planning to apply for PhD around 10+ universities.

Apart from that, I have found 4 such universities who offer MS for my fail safe consideration:
Central Michigan University
Washington State
University of Georgia
Sand Diego State
Please do let me know if you have more which can be suggested and kindly advice me on the prospects of the MS Degree program Towards a PhD in top 10 or 20.


If UCD refers to University of California, Davis, they do not offer a terminal masters degree. They offer masters degrees to PhD candidates once they finish their first year of graduate school, but you can not be admitted as a masters student.


oh thanks...i didn't know that.
other universities i have mentioned i am sure they offer MS terminal......for me MS is only fail-safe.

Catria
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Re: MS or PhD?

Postby Catria » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:43 pm

IMO a Canadian MS is better than an American MS (even a thesis one) because it teaches research better.

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lordbadri
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Re: MS or PhD?

Postby lordbadri » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:25 pm

oh is it. i didn't know that :)
Could you please suggest me a few Canadian universities to apply for then?
How is the funding their? do they fund MS fully?

jeffreyweee
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Re: MS or PhD?

Postby jeffreyweee » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:10 pm

Miami-Ohio offers a terminal masters that is funded and is research-centric. The guy I know went there enjoyed it and was able to gain entrance into a good PhD program.

http://www.muphysics.org is their website for more information.

Catria
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Re: MS or PhD?

Postby Catria » Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:10 pm

lordbadri wrote:oh is it. i didn't know that :)
Could you please suggest me a few Canadian universities to apply for then?
How is the funding their? do they fund MS fully?


What is it that you want to do research in?

However, MS programs are fully funded (but, even so, it might not be the same as an American PhD after paying tuition).

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lordbadri
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Re: MS or PhD?

Postby lordbadri » Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:47 am

jeffreyweee wrote:Miami-Ohio offers a terminal masters that is funded and is research-centric. The guy I know went there enjoyed it and was able to gain entrance into a good PhD program.

http://www.muphysics.org is their website for more information.


Thank you so very much for your reply jeffreyweee
:)
I will surely look into it and apply.
Any other such programs you have an idea of ?

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sphy
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Re: MS or PhD?

Postby sphy » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:17 am

lordbadri wrote:Hey
I am an Indian student with an undergraduate degree in Electronics and Telecommunication from a reputed collage.
Currently i am working at IISc (Indian institute of science) (best in the country for research) as research assistant. Now after going through the replies of many post on this site i am at a dilemma now. My interest is to pursue my PhD in Astronomy in USA.I am currently trying my best to get a assistant-ship in the astronomy and physics department.I have given the subject test in Nov and awaiting its result.

My question is whether i will have a good chance of entering a PhD program after doing my MS (Astronomy or Physics) in the US or Applying to the direct PhD program in Astronomy and Astrophysics in the US?

I know that most of the top collages don't admit students for a MS program in Astronomy, i found a few that do but it would be of great help if i get a few suggestions on the universities that offer MS in Astronomy or Physics?


How about this:
Why don't you try for some project or internship or winter program in IUCAA or NCRA or IIA or ISRO may be and publish a paper or two (good one as first or second author) and in the mean time take another subject TEST in April, Nepal (and then in November if it's not above 950 or something). Now recommendations from these various institutes along with from your Alma mater would prove to be vital in the next fall. And by then you'd have plenty of research experience in the competitive environment which'll put at ease in US because of your experience.

The most important thing is you'll have a better chance of going in to some top 30ish school which will satisfy you (I am sure about that.). I am suggesting all these because of very poor Subject GRE score of yours, which will definitely hamper you when you will compete with other international students in the application process.

Don't take it as a waste of one year but as a gain of research experience and I am sure you will end up in a far, far better university next time. So why don't save the sweat and anxiety!!!!


[PS: i have not read other's suggestions so see if they have some good thing to tell, as a compatriot I'll tell you not to go to any as such school (you know what I mean) rather go to that school you've always dreamt of.]

mitchellwarnes
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Re: MS or PhD?

Postby mitchellwarnes » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:50 am

It depends on the expectations for the industry. A masters degree is often the "terminal" degree for many industries particularly applied engineering. A Phd in Engineering will usually not be worthwhile unless you intend to be a researcher or professor, not an engineer. Another example is business management, in which an MBA is the terminal degree, not a PhD.

It's completely false to say that a masters degree is required for a PhD. Many PhD programs require only a bachelors degree. In fact, many subject only allow students to be admitted as PhD candidates and not for a masters degree in the same subject. The masters degree becomes a "consolation" prize for PhD candidates who complete the coursework but not the dissertation. Many PhD programs cost the students little or nothing, the students are paid a stipend to go to school, and tuition is waved for working part time as a Teaching or Research assistant. Getting a masters degree in these subjects can be a complete waste of time and money when the student is qualified for the PhD program. That's why many university departments do not ALLOW students to get a masters degree and then a PhD.

A PhD is not necessarily a "higher" degree than a masters degree. It's a different kind of degree that leads to different careers, usually either postdoctoral research or tenure faculty positions. Many companies have executives with MBAs who are paid much more than the PhDs that work for them doing research on different project management thesis topics

You need to do your own homework about the graduate programs in your engineering specialty to learn the requirements, limitations, and expectations. The book "A PhD is not enough" is a good starting point.




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