I had BSc + MSc in IT without thesis from my native country "A". I had an ambition to do PhD in CS.


First, I got enrolled in MSc in CS program in a university "X" in a country "B". I left the program as it was math-intensive.

Second, I got enrolled in MEng in CSE program in a university "Y" in the same country "B". I left the program because I failed in consecutive semesters.

As it stands, I am weak in math, stats, and some other core CS subjects.

I am now planning to get enrolled in BSc in CS.

Would that be a wise decision?

What other options do I have?

  • 1
    Ask yourself why you want CS? CS has a lot of math and stats; you won't really get rid of them. If your programming is good, perhaps you could consider IT-based routes which are less formal or simply work as developer. If not, ask yourself why you want to force yourself to do something where you have no aptitude for (especially as you failed multiple times)? Perhaps a private tutor may help you find a bridge into the field, but in general that sounds like you really should avoid math-intensive topics. Oct 27 '19 at 21:55
  • What is your goal? Still the PHD? And why?
    – Thomas
    Oct 27 '19 at 21:56
  • Do you understand why you failed mathematics courses? Was it missing foundation or lack of interest and aptitude? Oct 27 '19 at 22:10
  • @PatriciaShanahan, missing foundation. For instance, I never did probability. But, I learnt it myself while I was in CSE. I am now able to teach it to anyone.
    – user366312
    Oct 27 '19 at 22:15
  • 1
    @user366312: what does this mean?
    – Thomas
    Oct 27 '19 at 22:18

Many people succeed after setbacks. But your current base from which to move forward isn't strong. Let me suggest two options.

The first is that you reevaluate your "need" to get a doctorate. What else do you enjoy doing for which your preparation is better and the path to success shorter. I don't suggest that is best for you, but worth thinking about.

But the other option is to take a long view. Figure out where you are weak - math, stats, and some core CS subjects. Figure out how to get the required knowledge in (most of) those and work on that, delaying but not abandoning a doctorate. Proving yourself there will help you move along, but it will also help you figure out if it is really right for you. If you wind up hating the study of the basics it will be hard to move to higher levels.

But a doctorate is about more than just those sorts of topics. It involves research and you don't indicate whether you have any experience there, so it is hard to guess whether your desire is realistic. That is, do you have a realistic picture of what a PhD graduate actually does to succeed. If you don't have a good picture of that, you need to get one before you spend a lot of time and effort trying to reach something you may not enjoy in the end.

(a) consider options, or (b) long path - long view.


It sounds like computer science is a subject that really interests you, so a BSc in that subject is a good place to start. Mathematics and statistics are both core skills for computer science, so you will need to devote time to improve your skills in these areas. The Bachelors program should be at a lower level of difficulty than a Masters program, so it should give you an opportunity to develop at a pace that is more manageable for you. Contrary to one of the comments above, if you go into that field, you should not try to avoid the areas in which you are weak --- to the contrary, you should "run towards" those things, and put it in the time to develop your mathematics and statistics to a point where you are comfortable with that aspect of the material.

Setting your sights on a PhD program at this early stage is premature, and for now I would recommend that you see how you find the Bachelors program, and use this to determine if this is a good field for you. I would recommend that you look at your education as a means to develop some skills sufficient for practice, and you will find that opportunities for later work/study will begin to present themselves once you finish your undergraduate degree. Once you have finished your BSc you will be able to see if you can handle a Masters program (i.e., see if you can then handle the mathematics that was giving you trouble before), and from there, who knows. A PhD program is essentially a training program for scholarly research, and there are many other avenues to practice computer science. Concentrate on learning as much as you can in your undergraduate degree, and then you will have a bunch of good options at the end.

From comments: "PhD is in my blood. I can't imagine myself [dying] without a PhD. ... I want to become an instructor of [computer science] in colleges."

With present technology, doctoral-level knowledge of academic subjects cannot yet be injected intravenously, so unfortunately, the traditional arduous journey of research and study is still required. I think academics cringe a bit when we see students express the notion that their life is a failure unless they achieve a particular academic title. That kind of talk suggests a longing for social-status rather than an emphasis on acquiring valuable skills and knowledge.

In your case you have a goal to teach the subject in college, so that is a more useful way to look at it. If teaching at a tertiary level is your goal, then you will need to master the subject and its foundations. By the time you get to the end of a Bachelors degree there may be some opportunities to tutor classes, and this can be a good entry-point into teaching. Many academics begin by tutoring courses for their own professors while they are in the late stages of their undergraduate degree, and this practice assists them to master their subjects and become adept at teaching. Students are usually selected for these positions if they have high grades in their undergraduate subjects, so try to accomplish that, and you will be able to get your first taste of teaching in a college environment.


From your comments I understand A) you cannot imagine living and dying without a PhD in CS B) you are now so good in the subjects you failed previously that you can even teach them to anyone (I hope I understood this correctly) C) you want to teach CS and for that you need a PhD in CS

Putting these together, I think it would be a wise decision to enroll. Under the premise that B is true (you might want to check this again - if B weren't true, I would reconsider my answer. Look, if possible for outside evaluation on that as soon as possible) you would probably pass this degree. If you have the BSc, you might change your mind about A and C -- but in any case, a BSc degree in CS seems like a good careeer start. Maybe a PhD is too difficult/math heavy for you, maybe you hate teaching then - but those are questions you should answer in a few years, not now.

But really check before if you are no longer weak in those areas!!


You are clearly not the sort of student who should do a PhD. I am not trying to be rude. And I know this might hurt your feelings. There are so many outside options. Take your consecutive failures as a signal and move on to something other than academia.

  • Sorry, I down vote your answer because I find your text destructive which may affect future of a potential good researcher having minor failures in his past studies. How did understand this very clear thing without seeing his CV, personal interests, skills, long-term learning abilities, his tutors' ideas, career experience, etc?
    – enthu
    Oct 28 '19 at 7:12
  • Failing two graduate programs arenr minor failures. You are fueling a delusion.
    – 123
    Oct 28 '19 at 16:36
  • I don't understand your argument. Moreover, please take note that the OP, by their comments, has a really well understanding of the subject they failed in.
    – Thomas
    Oct 29 '19 at 17:45
  • Just because he says he understands something doesn't override the signal of failing out of two different graduate programs.
    – 123
    Oct 29 '19 at 18:13

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