I have recently graduated with Computer Science and Engineering and joined an R&D firm. During the job, I enrolled for a part time MS(Research) from the topmost institute in my country (with reputable world rank). Though the only difference from full time course is that we get 1 extra year to complete part time course.Everything else, like the courses, class timings, labs, exams and rigor remains the same.

I intend to join academia in future. How valuable is a part time degree with respect to joining academia and industry?

  • 4
    What country are you from? In most of North America and Europe, a Ph.D is needed to join academia. In some countries the MS is sufficient to get an introductory professor position.
    – Irwin
    Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 20:33
  • The degree doesn't say part time, so it makes no difference from that perspective. Thing's that might make a difference for part time degree seekers (though these don't seem to apply to you) are more CV/resume related -- i.e., any major gaps where it doesn't look like you were productive, indecision, seeking degrees to avoid making decisions,... Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 22:12

4 Answers 4


The fact that you have done your degree either part or full time will not change your degree's value. I have never heard of part-time degrees being treated differently from full-time degrees. In fact, it would be unusual to list a part-time or full time status on your CV so it's not clear how people would know. And I doubt many people would react differently.

Your decision to do a degree part-time or full-time has other important implications on your long term goals but they are indirect. If you want to go into industry, choosing a part-time degree might mean you have more time to build up industry experience which might be nice. If you want to go into academia — and you can afford to go to school full time — do the full time degree because work in industry will only slow you down from the pursuit of your long term goal. Being a part-time student might also mean less attention from faculty who might think you are less serious about an academic track while you are doing the degree.


It would not make a great deal of difference at all. As you stated, everything but the time to complete it is the same. I am in the same boat and I have found that when I apply somewhere, that they are not in the slightest bit concerned about me studying part time.

Look at it this way, once you complete your research degree, you will also have a considerable amount of practical experience, that will speak volumes in your favour.


While the OP has probably graduated by now, I believe the answer to this question is culture dependent. My answer will focus on the industry part of OP's question.

First and foremost, the accepted answer was partly incorrect as it would be quite obvious to an experienced HR, from your CV, that your employment record and your degree overlapped in time. Thus one or both of them has to be part-time.

HRs from my Asian hometown care. Why?

While the OP was pursuing a degree from his/her home country, other readers coming across this question might enroll in an overseas program. In this case, a full-time degree overseas would entail multicultural exposure, which is an important employment consideration for multinational companies. Depending on the country where you get your degree, it may also imply that you can speak a foreign language.

Whereas a part-time degree from overseas would most likely imply distance learning and a lack of networking with fellow classmates in your research area. The argument stands even if the degree is from your home country, but a different city.

It does not matter if my weak "deduction" above may not necessarily be correct. As long as some HRs think this way, those jobs are forever lost to you. (This "some" becomes "most" in Asia.) Even if actual researchers in the industry consider you an equal, your application will go straight to the bin before ever reaching their desk.

Nonetheless, your experience at an R&D firm, if it is of the same area as your research, is much more important than whether your degree is full-time or part-time when it comes to hiring decision. The word "same" is stressed because, referring to the culture of my hometown again, unrelated experience is not considered working experience, at all.


I got my master's degree in computer science by part time study while working full time. It was the same arrangement as in the question - same courses and other requirements as the corresponding full time program, but spread over an extra year.

My employers treated it as a valid qualification for the rest of my industry career. After that, I was accepted into a CS PhD program. It was my only formal CS qualification. My bachelor's degree was in mathematics.

If you look really closely at my resume, you can tell I was studying part time because of the overlap between university attendance and a job. There is nothing about my degree that makes any distinction between full or part time study.

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