My situation is that I already hold a Master's degree in computer science (in machine learning specifically), I apply for some doctoral schools but haven't got any offers yet.

During my master's study, I have built some background in coding and some machine learning area knowledge. However, I do not have enough research experience to start or to find a good Ph.D. topic independently.

Here are my ideas,

  1. I can take another Master's degree in applied mathematics (I will probably do it in Europe). After I collect enough background, I will do a Ph.D., and hopefully, by that time I will start a good Ph.D. topic.

  2. I can do a Ph.D. directly. Even if I may be not very interested in the given Ph.D. topic.

which track should I choose?

  • Hi @dawen and welcome. Your title seemed to say something different to the body of your question, so I've edited the former. Feel free to correct my edit if I got it wrong.
    – Chris H
    Jan 8 '20 at 9:46
  • This will depend a lot on where you are planning to do your PhD.
    – mmeent
    Jan 8 '20 at 11:03
  • 1
    In my personal opinion, you should not do another Master. You should be better off trying to find a suitable PhD position. Also in most cases a PhD takes about 5 years which is plenty of time to learn the maths. It is not required to know everything when you start a PhD. There are many many sources to learn the missing knowledge from online courses, youtube, lectures which are put on the web etc.. Doing another Master is probably just a waste of time. Jan 8 '20 at 12:32

I am thinking about following another Master's degree in applied maths...The courses include measure-theory based probability and more challenging statistics, in which I am interested.

You don't need another degree to research the theoretical aspects of machine learning (instead of the application). During research, you can study any aspect of mathematics that are necessary and your supervisor et al. can help you.

which track should i consider ?

The theoretical aspects of machine learning. Perhaps with a supervisor that is also interested in applied machine learning, so that you can switch, should you want to.


What is the value of a degree? It proves two things, one you have a certain set of knowledge or skills and two you can do work at a certain level. So a second degree is worth less than the first because you've already proven you can do work at that level. The only value of the second degree is learning the new knowledge. But you could get that knowledge directly during your PhD instead of doing a masters first. So I'd say go straight for the PhD.

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