Doing a PhD after your Bachelors (B.S)

24 posts in this topic

Posted

I met an academic yesterday and from what I read from her C.V., she went onto do her PhD after she finished up her Bachelor of Science, and this was all stateside, no German university. How is this possible? I thought one had to do a Masters degree before doing a PhD? :unsure:

(Mods: I was not sure if I was posting in the right forum, feel free to move the thread elsewhere if this is the wrong forum, thanks)

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Posted

Yes, it is possible. Info on the requirements for different countries here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_of_Philosophy#Admission_7

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Posted

Agree. I've known plenty of American PhDs who never "bothered" with a Master's degree. They often had to do some extra coursework.

I know some Europeans in the same situation now that I think about it.

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Posted

Indeed - in many fields research universities offer admission only into PhD programs and do not admit students to "terminal" MA programs. In such cases it's only those who quit the PhD who receive an MA as a sort of consolation prize (after at least a year of work toward the PhD, often longer, and usually having completed the preliminary exams for the PhD).

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Posted

Kazalphaville, CindyinDE and liebling, thank you. I just requested some information on a couple of PhD programs, let's see how that goes down. :)

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Posted

I did my BSc in Canada, and applied to work in a genetics lab in the US for a Master's. The lab only wanted students for PhD projects, so I skipped the Masters. My prof told me that he didn't take MS students because he wants people to stay long enough in the lab to finish a larger project, not be leaving every couple of years. My husband did the same thing, going into a physics PhD program without a MS. It is not uncommon in the us, and I think there are some universities in Canada that allow it as well.

Most programs that allow this do require more class work the first couple of years of the PhD, I guess essentially what you would have done in a MS. That is why some US PhD programs are longer than some in other countries. I don't know if you can do a PhD without a Master's in Germany.

Do think about what your eventual goals are: if you want to be a prof, or run a lab, be a research scientist, etc., you usually need a PhD. However, if you want to do more bench work, like working in a core facility or technical lab in biotech or pharma, a MS might be sufficient and more practical. Plenty of jobs, and often a bit less stress on the job. I enjoy my work, and sure, it is nice to have the "Dr", but it is frustrating to always be overqualified for the majority of jobs in my field, and to be doing yet another limited-time postdoctoral fellowship.

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Posted

Yup, very common in my field. I started my Masters and then transferred into the PhD program after 6 months - my Masters start date became my PhD start date and all my credits transferred.

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Posted

Mellyco I think you are considered to be overqualified cause there are few Drs in your field, I mean in Germany. One thing that I noticed in Germany that if you own qualifications that your employers don't own, they get very jealous of that. I used to have a boss who used to ask me like once a month if I am planning on doing my Masters or any additional professional qualifications. He only had a high school diploma. He kept telling me that I should not get any further education or degrees. Now looking back I think that was none of his freaking business.

Kazalphaville, wow I did not know that, thanks.

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Posted

You can kinda do it but you basically have to take all the required master's courses during your PhD time (because a given number of ECTS credits are required in order to have a PhD, a number equivalent to a master's degree). The big upside: you have a stipendium / salary, and access to research meetings / ideas through your colleagues. The downside being, that you will know a lot less than your colleagues that have gotten a master's. BUT, I would still recommend it.

I know it because I have a very smart colleague that was invited to do a PhD with us right after his bachelor; he has his salary as public employee, but he still has to take the exams for the master's.

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Posted

My sister has a PHD that she obtained after finishing two bachelor of science degree programs. Myself, I have a Master's degree and wouldn't even consider going on for a PHD because it wouldn't pay off in the end as I've maxed my salary for my field with my current degrees.

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Posted

I think I can pull that off. I looked into the various PhD programs and some of the stuff that needs to be learned I already know from some of the work I have done. I have written some white papers, but I have not had them published so I think this might work.

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Posted

You can do it in the UK too.

When I was working for the University of Manchester (Dept. Physics) I am pretty certain that the PhD students we had doing High Energy Physics research went straight from a B.Sc. to PhD. I think the same was true for the theoretical physics students.

My father supervised numerous PdH students in Chemistry (crystalography). I recall him conducting numerous PhD reviews but never heard of M.Sc. in that subject.

I studied Computer Science & after B.Sc. the route there was via M.Sc. to PhD (ie you did both). I exited after the M.Sc.

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Posted

Hi!

Yep it is possible, and even possible to come from a foreign country and break into the system without a Masters, rather B.Sc. Hons (4 year Bachelor). This is quite common where I'm from but not yet here. It isn't so straightforward - there is (of course!) some bureaucracy and paperwork involved but with the volume of international students seeming to be ever-increasing, it is something universities will become more used to.

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Posted

p.s. The course I am doing is just a PhD, no Masters course work is required but I can attend lectures if I need to. Good luck!

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Posted

I did a chemistry PhD in the UK. For subjects like Chemistry and Physics it is the norm there to do a PhD without a Masters.

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Posted

Same for Biology, I don't think they even offer MSc programs in Biology anymore in some places.

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Posted

I can only speak for PhD's in engineering and physics but here goes:

American PhD's are usually aimed at students who've just graduated from a full time

(4 year) bachelor program and take around five years. The first two years

essentially consist of Masters level coursework - where you can fill gaps in your

basic understanding of the subject and take advanced lectures in areas that

interest you. You can then write the "quals" to become eligible to work on a topic

for your dissertation.

The PhD program in Germany (and most of Europe, if I'm not mistaken) on the other

hand, is meant for students who've completed their "Diplomarbeit" or who've

graduated from a Masters program. It tends to take around 3 years (although this

can depend on the area of research). I have a friend who's doing his PhD in

biotechnology at the LMU - he joined the program immediately after his Bachelor

and was required to spend one extra year for coursework. He was funded

throughout.

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Posted

I have an American B.A (4 year) and not a B.S. and I will go for an American PhD program.

EDIT: And it will be a Phd degree in Economics.

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Posted

Then you will very likely be required to take (some) master's courses to be "up to par" with people that have a Master's.

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Posted

Then you will very likely be required to take master's course to be "up to par" with people that have a Master's.

Yes I realized that, but it won't be a problem for me cause I love Economics. My minor was Economics.

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Posted

i know several people who took a PhD in a different area to their degree and so had to do a master's degree before they could go on to do the PhD, one of the people took two master's degrees before he did it.

I know a number who didn't get the PhD, of those some got nothing, others got an MPhil or an MA.

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Posted

Me too but I will skip the Masters and I am pretty sure they will let me do that.

Most of the people who have done their Masters can barely finish their theses so no wonder that guy did two MA degrees.

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Posted

Yes, this is common in the US, especially in the sciences. A student registered in a Masters program can be fast-tracked into a PhD program if they tend to perform well.

I wish you good luck as we do need a few economists with a light in their head.What we seem to have is econo(mist)s with bloated egos.

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