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Does an MSC requires to get a PHD

Roshan Eranga Fernando
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 4
hi everyone,

I'm interested on getting a PhD.

I am currently following an IT degree (3 year) and I just Want to know whether I need to follow an Msc degree to get a PHD. Someone told me that it's mandatory to have MSc, before getting a PhD. But, I know that some people are getting PhDs by inventing new technologies - in such cases, if someone has invented some new technology without having MSc prior to that, would that make him eligible to get a PhD?

Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18765
    
  40


I guess it would depend on the school... you will need to see if there are any schools that have a PhD program that doesn't require a masters degree.

Henry


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Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 38517
    
  23
We certainly don't require MScs before applying for PhDs. We do however require a 2i or 1st at bachelor's level, for people who don't hold an MSc or MA or other higher degree.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24183
    
  34

In the US, anyway, it depends very much on the discipline and to a lesser extent on the school. For many of the "pure sciences" -- physics, chemistry, mathematics -- a master's degree really means "I failed to get my PhD". One never gets a master's in physics first, and then a Ph.D; once you've gotten a master's degree, you're out of the game. There's no such thing as a "master's program" in these fields. In other fields -- and business is the one that comes to mind -- there's no such thing as a PhD, and people pursue master's degrees as an end in itself. In many other fields, a master's is indeed a stepping stone to a Ph.D. It's not usually required, per se, but it generally makes sense to do it that way. CompSci is one of these.


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Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4650
    
    5

Ernest Friedman-Hill wrote: master's degree really means "I failed to get my PhD"


The usual term in the hard sciences is that a Masters is a "terminal degree" meaning that you either get one as a booby prize when you can't get your dissertation accepted, or you entered a program where the plan from day one was to get the Masters and be finished.

Very few (any?) major US universities expect you to get a Masters first and then enter the PhD program.

Some computer related departments, generally things like computer engineering, software engineering, and some computer science programs are aimed more at folks in industry who need to get degrees to advance their careers in industry. They have a lot of folk getting Masters, but they are terminal degrees from the start.

Computer Science is so broad, that its very hard to make generalizations. Some programs are academic, and lead to a PhD, others are industrially focused and lead to a terminal degree.

Personally, I picked up the Masters while I was working toward my PhD, I did not finish my thesis, so the MS in CS is a booby prize after five years and many tens of thousands of dollars. I didn't even want the Masters, but it was free along the way. I'm pretty sure that having the Masters has done nothing to my income, position, or other professional thing.


Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 38517
    
  23
Ernest Friedman-Hill wrote:In the US, anyway, . . . a master's degree really means "I failed to get my PhD". . .

It doesn't mean that in Britain; I went for an MSc, which, as Pat Farrell says, is intended for people in industry or planning to enter into the industry. There were various possible other awards for those who completed part of the MSc course, PGD (postgraduate diploma) for ≥⅔ of the course, PGC (= PG certificate) for ≥⅓ of the course, UCPD (=University Certificate in Professional Development) for one module and UCPAD (the A means advanced) for >1 module. I ended up with MSc, UCPD and UCPAD (I sat some additional modules) and only bothered to attend the MSc graduation ceremony.
I liked the academic life and stayed; I am now working towards a PhD, and if I actually do any work hope to go through "progression" to the PhD stream next Spring or Summer. People who don't go all the way towards a PhD usually end up with an MPhil, as do some people who intended to work for an MPhil from the beginning. So some MPhils here would come in EFH's category, but not all of them.
Jimmy Clark
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
In U.S.A., a PHD is usually only sought if the individual wants to teach at a college or university in academia. Graduate degrees for individuals seeking advanced positions in commercial industries are at the master level, e.g. Master of Business Administration, Master of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Education, etc.

Good luck!
Roshan Eranga Fernando
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 4
Does that mean everyone must follow some academic modules/courses in order to get a PhD? I thought that someone, who has invented a new technology or something like that can get his PhD directly without following any academic modules. Seriously, is their something like that?
Matthew Brown
Bartender

Joined: Apr 06, 2010
Posts: 4376
    
    8

In the UK, there are master's degrees that are "failed" PhDs, but standalone master's are much more common. It can all get a bit confusing:

Where I currently work, standalone master's are mainly MA and MSc (although there are others - e.g. MEd, MRes). The MPhil is what you get if you don't complete a PhD. But at Cambridge (where I studied), an MA is automatically awarded for your undergraduate work, standalone master's are mainly MSc and MPhil, and MLitt is the incomplete PhD. It's entirely possible other Universities are different again. So you've got to be careful making assumptions.

You don't need a Master's to start a PhD programme, but it's becoming a much more common model, so a lot of Universities will now expect it. (But remember in the UK an undergraduate degree and a PhD are both expected to take three years - less than many places).

British PhDs generally don't require additional academic modules - it's a straight dissertation. Just inventing a new technology wouldn't be enough, but it would form the basis of the research for the dissertation. There is also the rare example of "doctorate by publication", which is when someone hasn't finished a formal thesis but has published sufficient research to be considered equivalent. It's most likely to apply to an experienced researcher without a PhD moving into academia.
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4650
    
    5

Roshan Eranga Fernando wrote:Seriously, is their something like that?

Seriously, all you "need" it to publish amazing ideas in peer reviewed journals. When I was in the PhD program, the word was that if you had three journal papers published, you could put a one page cover sheet on it, staple all of them together, and submit it as a Thesis.

A PhD is not about inventing stuff, (I have two patents and zero PhD). Its about expanding the state of knowledge for mankind.

In reality, places that grant Doctorates live on money, so to really get a Doctorate, you have to provide a certain amount of money to the school. You can, if you wish, just write checks for tuition, but that is not the preferred way. The better way it to be "supported" meaning that you are a research assistant on sponsored projects. The school get lots of money, they can hire you to be a research assistant. The best way is for you to be so good, and doing such important work, that you can write the grant proposals, and the school gets the grants.

Nearly all programs have minimums. For example, any science program is going to require at least one graduate class in statistics. You have to do experiments, and you had better know enough statistics to design the experiment. (You can get help from the Statistics department grad students, but you have to at least be able to talk about the issues with them)

In the program that I was in, you needed about 70 credit hours of graduate "classes". Now you didn't have to take classes, as many as 30 credit hours could be for "thesis research" which were independent studies that you and your advisor agreed on. If you were nearly done, you could take 15 hours per semester. If you needed time, you could take 1 hours per semester.

Now, if you wrote a 10 page paper proving that P == NP, or even P != NP, you would be awarded a PhD, and maybe a Nobel Prize.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24183
    
  34

Pat Farrell wrote:When I was in the PhD program, the word was that if you had three journal papers published, you could put a one page cover sheet on it, staple all of them together, and submit it as a Thesis.


IIRC mine was five published papers (might have been only four), plus an introduction, plus a chapter I added of miscellaneous bits of work that weren't significant or complete enough to be published on their own, plus a few appendices explaining to younger lab mates how to use various apparati I'd created. I think that's pretty common -- there's a central theme to your thesis work, but you publish your results incrementally along the way.
Gaurav Raje
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 23, 2010
Posts: 136
my 2 cents.

In theory, MSC is not a requirement for getting a phd. Nor is a phd a natural product of MSC.
In practice, both are.

Msc (MS in US) normally has a substantial amount of research. For a normal person who has done so much of research (in computer science or Software engineering) might not desire to go into the software industry to be bullied by the so called "Experienced" people who might be good.. i am not denying. But might have significantly less knowledge than you, simply because you were doing research and living on a measly 7$ an hour cafeteria income when they were out there making money and "gaining experience". MS will get a job similar to a BS with a small feather in your cap.
Job industry will never look at your academic experience and count it higher than industry experience which in some cases(not many but a few) might be more challenging and complete.
In the research world, people will think of you as a non phd and you wouldnt have significant say. So in short you will be over qualified, inexperienced for the non research field. You will be underqualified for the research field.




As for doing an MSC before PHD goes, phd admits will look at your prior research experience. It is difficult to publish "good" and substantial amount of papers during your bachelors. Many people do publish em. But Msc will get you a better exposure and give you enough time to puvblish more papers. That way you get a better phd university.
 
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