I am an undergrad student in CS and I am planning to go to grad school after graduation. My ultimate goal is to pursue PhD since I have done research and I am interested in. However, my research experience may not be good enough for top PhD programs. So, I may go to MS first and then apply for PhD when I get good publications in my pocket. I understand that MS can cost a lot of money but I am able to afford it if I have to. There are some PhD programs that I would like to apply and it’s not that competitive. I think my profile could have a chance. That means I will apply both MS and PhD this year. If I get PhD, I will take it. If I get rejected from PhD, I will go for other MS programs.

My question is: “What are the difference in applying MS and PhD.” I have heard a lot that applying PhD needs to emphasize research. But is it different in MS? Some MS programs even have track that does not require thesis. Is that mean they should not expect research experience from applicants? Then, what to emphasize in the application?

Thank you very much!

  • 3
    If you want to do a MS to get research experience, you should not be considering MS degrees that do not require a thesis. – Bryan Krause May 16 at 17:09
  • From my own research MS without thesis tend to be considered "professional" masters. They are intended for those going into industry. I second if you are looking to continue to additional research based degree avoid the non-thesis option. Also look at the program as a whole (and of course talk with the grad advisor for your prospective program) for what the program's objective is. Some may require thesis, but overall the course work is more applied than theoretical. – scrappedcola May 16 at 17:59
  • What country is this? – Buffy May 16 at 18:58
  • I'm aiming for schools in the US. – GGG May 17 at 1:16

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