I graduated with Computer Science degree from a Russell Group University(Leeds) in 2016. I managed to find my first job as a software developer 3 months after graduation. I am 2 years into my career development in the industry learning and developing software every month. I am considering going back to University to get masters degree or Phd. My dilemma is weather to go for a MSc in Computer Science or straight go into Phd. I don't thing I can learn that much more from a MSc course just because I can learn anything on the job or read the books at home. However I might have problem with admission straight into Phd because of my grades from my Bsc. I graduated with 3rd Honors degree. I needed to work through my bachelors to support myself which resulted in less time for studying. I have managed to learn everything in order to do my job very well as a software developer(frontend/ backend / best practices/ clean design). Will my industry experience be enough to compensate for bad grades in my Bsc degree when applying straight for Phd or they will tell me I need to do MSc first?

  • You could ask directly. The answers may differ depending on the institution.
    – Buffy
    Jan 29, 2019 at 19:04
  • I still keep in touch with my personal tutor from my Computer Science degree and he told me for Leeds specifically that a relevant work experience is taken into account. But that is very general. Jan 30, 2019 at 12:04

3 Answers 3


Yes, most definitely your skills to date make you exceptional. They look at the bigger picture of the person whom has applied. I actually have a little experience with the university of Kentucky, and they are investing in the person, the man who and their own future as well. Yes sir you are ok

  • Thanks. Are you referring to the US university of Kentucky ? Jan 30, 2019 at 12:05

In many UK universities, a minimum requirement for admission to a doctoral programme is:

  • an upper-second-class or first-class undergraduate degree; or
  • a Master's degree.

And even if it is not a minimum requirement for admission, it is almost certainly a minimum requirement if you want a funded place.

Significant professional experience may mitigate poor prior academic attainment, but I am not convinced two years would be enough to compensate for a third-class undergraduate degree.

If you are happy to self-fund PhD studies, I suppose there is no harm in having a go at applying for a doctoral programme immediately (although I would recommend making at least one application for a Master's, in case nobody accepts you for a PhD at this juncture). But, if you want funding for PhD studies, you will almost certainly need stronger academic credentials than you have currently.


It’s hard to say with a PhD; most people don’t know exactly why they were offered certain positions as it’s a highly individual process, and every application is unique. I’ll just tell you my experience and you can glean from that what you will...

I have a pretty good Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree and have worked in both industry and research over the past four years and despite applying to over ten universities have failed to get a funded place.

I’m not saying what you propose will never happen, because I’ve heard of a few instances where it has, but I think to strengthen your chances, a Master’s degree won’t hurt. As the PhD application process is very stressful because it’s very competitive and people from all over the world, with the best grades, are applying for very few positions.

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