Is it possible to pursue PhD with only BE degree and 16+ years of Software Industry experience? I know that most of the institutes expect a Masters degree to pursue PhD. Do they consider Industry experience to relax this criteria?

And, then the big question - Is it worth it to pursue a research/academic career after 16 years in Software Industry? Has anyone done this? what are your experiences like?

  • 8
    What do you hope to achieve through a PhD?
    – user7226
    Dec 27, 2013 at 13:08

2 Answers 2


Your assumption depends on your location. If you are interested in obtaining a PhD in Computer Science at a school in the US, then in fact many programs do not expect you to have a Master's degree prior to beginning your doctoral studies. However, if you've been in industry for 16 years, it may be difficult to secure the letters of recommendation required for entry. Certainly letters from employers are accepted, especially in your case, but if they do not show a strong desire and aptitude for research, they will not be worth as much. However, don't let that dissuade you. Apply anyway, if that's what you want to do.

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    Jonathan: Your answer is region-specific. US schools do not require a master's. In most other countries, a master's degree is required to pursue a PhD, regardless of discipline.
    – aeismail
    Dec 27, 2013 at 17:31
  • @aeismail, I was not aware of that. Thank you. Should I edit my response? Dec 27, 2013 at 19:20
  • Well, at the very least, you should mention that your answer applies to US schools. The rest of your answer is generally applicable to anyone out of school for so long.
    – aeismail
    Dec 27, 2013 at 19:33
  • @aeismail duly edited. Dec 27, 2013 at 21:52

From my experience, even in the US, the situation apply to specific subjects of study. I would suggest you do a masters degree because it will help you and open up your ability to do a wider range of research. If the PhD subject your want to study has a coursework before research then the best way go about it is to do a masters degree because in most PhD coursework exams, you're required to know most of the things done at undergraduate and masters level. The best thing about doing a masters before doing a PhD is that studying masters degree takes only one year in most universities around the world. You can manage one year.

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