I am currently at a crossroads, deciding between several MS program offers. I have the choice to do a research based masters, where I would take very few graduate courses but focus almost solely on research, and a more course based masters where I would primarily be taking graduate courses with a small thesis component. My goal is to leverage my MS experience to apply to US PhD programs. My field is applied physics.
Given these choices and my end goal, who would be more attractive to US PhD programs? A candidate with a few graduate courses under their belt but with 1-2 years of research experience (with a paper or two) or a candidate with no papers but who aced many graduate level courses?