This question might be a variation of similarly asked questions, however, there is some different details that I think might make it different. So thank you in advance for reading.
I was admitted into a M.S. program in Electrical and Computer engineering as a full-time student in a good private research university in the U.S. I finished my B.S. in 2017 and been working full-time since then. My goal was to apply for PhD programs, however, I didn't have the necessary research experience or academic record to give me a good chance of being admitted to top-tier PhD programs.
I'm doing my M.S. as a stepping stone to take rigorous graduate courses and gain experience in doing research towards writing a M.S. thesis. Afterwards, I'm hoping if the fit is right, I'd continue as a PhD student at the same institution or apply for PhD programs at other universities.
Now comes the main point of the question, my program doesn't usually fund M.S. students and I'm seriously thinking of starting as a part-time student while working full-time till I can secure funding or finish the M.S with thesis as a part-time student. Is this a reasonable idea?
My areas of interest lie in the fields of communication theory, control, and optimization. And since, the professors whose work lie in those fields mostly do theoretical research or a hybrid between theory and implementation, it can be possible to do a Master's thesis project as a part-time.
To Summarize the previous information and the implied questions:
How likely is it to find a professor or thesis advisor who will want to work on a part-time M.S. thesis project if M.S. funding is not available?
If such arrangement is possible, will it hurt my chances if I want to apply to PhD programs in the future? Or PhD admission committees won't see it problematic if a thesis was completed part-time?
Thank you and hope everyone is staying well and safe.