I had interviewed by a professor for a Ph.D. position in Australia and the application has been unsuccessful. However, the professor wrote I did well in the interview and encouraged me to apply for a one-year diploma or two years master's (As I only have a 4 years bachelor's degree). I want to know what is the main difference? I mean if I do a diploma, will I be eligible for doing a Ph.D. after that? Especially in Europe (as Europe needs a master's for getting a Ph.D.)?

  • Could you explain what the difference is between masters and diploma aside from the length?
    – user111388
    Apr 2, 2020 at 13:20
  • Also, do you have a specific country/uni/prof in mind?
    – user111388
    Apr 2, 2020 at 13:20
  • 2
    Master's degrees in Spain are sometimes one year long (or used to be a few years ago), after which you can apply to a PhD program. In any case, each PhD program might have slightly different requirements or provisions for exceptions, so it's probably best to contact the particular programs you're interested in directly.
    – finitud
    Apr 3, 2020 at 10:37

1 Answer 1


You are eligible for a PhD in some European countries with just a bachelor's degree. There may exist countries - e.g., I believe Germany -* where a master's degree is universally required before a PhD. In other countries, requirements vary between institutes (and supervisors may even insist upon their own requirements). So a list of countries probably isn't useful and exceptions would no doubt exist.

* A comment clarifies that a master's degree is not a universal requirement in Germany. Another comments notes, "it might not be possible to employ the PhD student as a scientific employee (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter), which is the default for PhD students in many fields," so, for practical purposes I presume a master's is a widespread norm in Germany.

  • 1
    Which countries?
    – TimRias
    Apr 2, 2020 at 13:24
  • 2
    In Germany some Länder allow for the possibility of a PhD after a Bachelor. But Germany would even allow universities to grant somebody a professorship without a phd, without a bachelor's degree - provided the somebody is a genius.
    – user122146
    Apr 2, 2020 at 21:42
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    A master's degree is a common, but not universal requirement in Germany for a PhD.
    – GoodDeeds
    Apr 2, 2020 at 22:32
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    In Germany, even though one might be allowed to do a PhD with just a bachelor's, the practical conditions might be undesirable. Specifically, it might not be possible to employ the PhD student as a scientific employee (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter), which is the default for PhD students in many fields. Apr 3, 2020 at 10:24
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    @lighthousekeeper: I don't see how one could argue that someone qualified to pursue PhD studies would at the same time not be qualified to be wiss. MA. (But I'm very much aware that a given administration may mean that something that should be possible becomes impossible in a particular place at a particular time.) The procedure I'm familiar with is to require foreign students whose thesis is not automatically considered equivalent to a German Master thesis to pass some exams that show they perform at the required level in the field of their PhD studies. Apr 3, 2020 at 20:32

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