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I am writing a motivation letter where I have to write why I am directly applying for a Ph.D. position without masters. What can I write so that it seems valid and convincing to the professor? (The Ph.D. will take 4 years anyway for people who will apply from bachelor, the 1-year preliminary course then 3 years Ph.D.)

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    You should probably add some information about the program you are applying to and the location (and how common it is to do what your are doing). In some regions and fields, going straight to a PhD is the norm and requires no explanation. In others it is extremely unusual and will need significant justification for skipping what is viewed as a critical step. – Barker Jan 2 at 23:47
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    What about the actual reasons you are applying for phd and not masters? – Boaty Mcboatface Jan 3 at 10:41
  • I was thinking to apply to the USA to be very honest. But this position is from Germany, so I thought to give it a try. And they said they accept the student from bachelor (fast track Ph.D.). This position is for 3 years. If you don't have masters, then you will need additional one year for some preliminary courses. – Black Sheep Jan 3 at 11:05
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For any application, for school or a job, the key thing is to make sure that everything in your application indicates a successful future. In Germany, where a masters is mostly "expected" it might be hard to convince an advisor that you are ready unless you have done some exceptional things otherwise. Having the master's gives the PI a better chance to evaluate your future, based on your past. So, there, and in some similar places, the hurdle is pretty high.

In the US, by contrast, less is expected since the program is longer and involves coursework that can be used to help make predictions. Also, in the US, you choose the advisor later, giving everyone a better chance to evaluate.

But, what you can write to convince people must involve listing your past successes and other suitability for the proposed position. Just being a good student in a classroom situation probably isn't enough. A different situation if you have some research behind you and some publications.

Convince with deeds, not words, but get letters of recommendation that back you up.

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  • In Germany, the masters degree is not only "expected". It is (generally) required. Being allowed to do a PhD without it is a (rare) exception. – Roland Jan 3 at 9:40
  • @Roland, while I agree, the OP is in Germany and seems to be referring to an exception. – Buffy Jan 3 at 19:55
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You can simply write that you want to pursue your career in research. PhD are made mainly for research. Keep in mind that in Europe it is not possible at all to be enrolled in PhD if you didn't finish your master's degree before (3years bachelor + 2years master + 3/4years PhD in Europe).

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