I am a Pure Physics and Pure Math graduate. I wanted to do Ph.D. in Computer Science on AI. I am currently a research assistant on AI. if my undergraduate is not related to my area interest for Ph.D., will pursuing a master degree in CS increase the chances of Ph.D. CS admission? Or should I focus on research and getting publications and go directly to Ph.D.?

Are there any other disadvantages to go to master in different fields? Is it better to stay at undergraduate focusing more in research experience?

Related: The first answer said that there are disadvantages getting M.Sc when applying to Ph.D. rather than staying in Bsc, but I guess it doesn't cover the case when the Undergraduate and Ph.D.​ area are different.

Would getting a faster MSc instead of just BSc affect admission chances for PhD?

  • Did you apply and not get in? Why not just see if the CS Ph.D. programs will take you as is?
    – guest
    Commented Jan 26, 2019 at 19:06
  • Hi, I haven't applied but I want to have a plan since I need to save if I want to go for a master. But, thanks for the advice!
    – ivicts
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 8:35
  • Your CCcountry?
    – Thomas
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 19:04
  • hi, I might want to go to the country in Europe or America.
    – ivicts
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 3:52

2 Answers 2


Yes, pursuing a master degree in CS will increase the chances of Ph.D. CS admission.

If you show good research work in MS, then same advisor can help you get Ph.D. admission or other professors in the same or other universities who are doing research on the same or similar topic may accept you.

  • Of course. Since OP will have done little CS beyond the obligatory C/Python/Ada/Fortran needed to do routine calculations and possibly some R for statistics, they need to get to grips with the basics of PC hardware, op systems, algorithms, modern programming languages, etc. It is also likely they'll need to do some courses on AI. Expecting a PhD PI to coach you on this stuff - or think that you can be learning it all as you work away at research requiring proficiency with this very content - is unrealistic. An MS taught + project is the best way to proceed here.
    – Trunk
    Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 11:14

I assume you mean a master's in CS.

This might depend somewhat on where you are, but in the US it would probably have little effect. The way to learn if your background is adequate for doctoral admissions is jut to apply to a program or two. There are aspects of your education that would be good to have when studying AI.

In the US, I think that if you could get in to an MS program you could also get into a doctoral program with the same background. It might be different in EU or elsewhere, of course, especially in places that have strict rules.

But everywhere, you need to make your best case that you are qualified to begin and are a good candidate for success and that you have shown success in the things you've already done. You will find a lot of competition, of course, but no single thing will be determinative. Make your case.

  • At Michigan, it is much easier to get into the master's program in CS than the PhD program. YMMV at different schools. Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 22:30

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