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I am a master's student in computer science. I have completed my coursework and will be graduating soon, with a project. I am planning to do a PhD in the future: is a master's thesis an important prerequisite for a PhD? Most people say yes, hence I am of two minds: (1) get an extension and improve my project into thesis, and then graduate or (2) graduate now, hoping that everything will work out fine. I already expressed my interest to work more on my project; my advisor said OK. Do I need to do anything other than this (improving my project, of course with research exploration) to get a thesis? My advisor seems to be a little uninterested, because he has to guide other students, too, rather than that I did a bad job on the project. But I am wondering which way to go: industry or master's thesis?

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    Short answer: No. Longer answer: All else being equal, more research is better for PhD admission. (Note: More research, not more degrees. Admissions standards for applicants with masters degrees are higher.) – JeffE Apr 18 '12 at 3:40
  • US/UK or Continental Europe? Please indicate in title and question, as the answers are very different. – Piotr Migdal Apr 18 '12 at 8:36
  • Sorry, the country was USA... – howtechstuffworks Apr 18 '12 at 13:43
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Your last question is a bit of a non sequitur, frankly: I don't really see the connection between going into industry versus doing a master's thesis with the rest of the question.

That said, JeffE's comment above is essentially correct: if you are interested in doing a PhD in the near future, an industrial job is probably not going to get you the research experience you need to be a competitive PhD applicant.

With respect to what you need to do to convert your project into a master's thesis, that's really something you ought to discuss with your project supervisor. Without knowing the specific policies of your department, as well as the specifics of what you did in the project, it's difficult (if not impossible) for us to know what needs to be done.

  • Hi, Thanks for your advice. I just saw your profile and I work in a molecule simulation project too, but thats been done and the professor from another department, who also collaborated is happy. So my work is in an final stage and will be completed within May end and I am good to graduate. But If I want to make it as thesis, I have to work on parallalizing the simulation for performance and this will algorithm for parallalizing can be used by anyone who uses this method, not just for my project. I would really love to work somewhere as research Assistant to gain experience, but I am in F1 – howtechstuffworks Apr 18 '12 at 13:52
  • F1 Visa, is for international students(I am from India), I need to work on a H1B Visa to stay, which I dont think any research organization offers(I have to check out though). So I am planning to extend my graduation for December and see, what can be done. I am planning to decline a job offer that I already have and planning to do an internship in my field,systems(tats industry though, I have an offer).Please advise. – howtechstuffworks Apr 18 '12 at 13:57
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    @howtechstuffworks: This is a very different question from the first one, and I think could be asked as a separate question. (I'm also not really qualified to answer this question, as I am not based in the US, and I was a US citizen, so I didn't have to worry about US immigration law!) – aeismail Apr 18 '12 at 17:19
  • Actually, that might be an another different question. But for now, my concern, is how important involving in research during your masters is important? Because, I am planning to take a shot, will it worth and my adviser is not so interested in my research as he is used to be for my project till now. Just wondering. Thanks. Sorry for the confusion. – howtechstuffworks Apr 18 '12 at 20:51
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    "how important involving in research during your masters" — If you're aiming for a PhD in computer science, involvement in research is the single most important aspect of any masters program. – JeffE Apr 20 '12 at 9:46

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