I'm currently a student at a UK university studying towards an MSc in Statistics, and I had some questions about how graduate schools in the US would view this type of program.

As I'm much more familiar with the US system, I've noticed that it's increasingly uncommon in the US to get a master's degree and then apply to a PhD - usually people just go directly to a PhD from a bachelor's. The courses that I'm taking here, from what I can tell, seem more like first year PhD courses than undergrad ones. Would I appear as or more qualified than typical applicants in that sense when applying in the US? How would the graduate admissions committee view the coursework for a European MSc in general?

Another difference I've noticed is that many UK MSc programs (including mine) have a significant dissertation component which can sometimes result in publishable work. Is such material typical of undergraduates in the US who are applying to PhD programs? Would graduate admissions committees also look favorably on this kind of work, or is it not particularly relevant in their eyes?

Thank you in advance for any and all replies.

1 Answer 1


Yes, you would likely be seen as more qualified for admission, other things being equal (grades, letters, etc). But there are other people who earn an MS in the US and then apply for a doctorate. The situation isn't seen as strange or unusual.

The main tasks you will need to complete is successfully passing comps and writing an acceptable dissertation. The coursework you have (and may take in future) prepare you for both. Any research experience, especially resulting in a thesis, is good preparation for the research underlying a dissertation.

But you will have the same sort of competition from qualified applicants in selective programs. Nothing you suggest here would be a negative, I think.

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