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Please refer to this previous question of mine:

As someone with low grades how can I prepare myself to study MSc in CS in USA?

Would it be a good idea to quit my job to prepare for the GRE and TOEFL?

I live in Bangladesh. With a background in IT, I am doing a job in a bank. I am 32. Honestly speaking I am done with my job. With an ambition to do a PhD from a USA/Canadian/German university, I have understood that my current job is actually going to get me nowhere.

Some answerers of the previous questions pointed out the importance of having a job in the related discipline, proving research capability, involving in research activity, being a part of a research group and so on.

After considering all these points, I am actually strongly planning to quit my job and get enrolled in a "Masters with thesis" program in CSE in a local university. My previous degree was in Information Technology which is, I guess, considered a professional discipline. So, I am going for a CSE degree. As far as I know, Information Technology degree is not considered a fundamental discipline.

My plan is this: (1) I shall complete a masters degree in CSE with a thesis, (2) write and publish one/two research articles and finally (3) complete GRE+TOEFL, if required.

And one more thing, I want to secure a funding either in the form of Assistant, Teaching Assistant(TA), Research Assistant, Research Fellow or anything else.

Please tell me about my prospect as a Masters-by-thesis candidate along with a funding after completing this series of actions.

Is the risk of quitting the job worth taken?

  • This question could be a bit clearer: In contrast to your previous question, you are now wondering about how a local Masters in CSE is going to look when it comes time to apply for your PhD? – Matthew G. Feb 1 '14 at 17:19
  • I agree with Matthew G. Your question is about the local master's thesis. It has nothing to do with quitting your job at this point. So you might as well drop that part out of the question. That's just confusing the issue further. – aeismail Feb 1 '14 at 17:29
  • @MatthewG. ---- Yes. – user4271 Feb 1 '14 at 17:57
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+50

PhD positions in universities are limited and given to outstanding students who have a potential for research. If your aim is to pursue your PhD in USA/Germany/Canada etc., I'd highly suggest applying for a Master's in those countries UNLESS your local university is well-known, with good professors and coursework. Your application will be evaluated on:

  1. Your GPA & Test scores
  2. Reputation of university you're graduating from (Master's, undergrad) // And as Daisetsu says, the researchers you work with
  3. Research aptitude
  4. Reputation of the journals you're published in
  5. Your statement of purpose
  6. Letters of recommendation
  7. Previous work experience

Also ask yourself, "Why a PhD?" What is your career trajectory and will a PhD help you? What about an MBA? How many years can you invest in this?

To be honest, no one here can tell you your chances of getting into a University for a PhD apart from the admissions committee itself. Spend some more time reading up the requirements of the colleges you're keen on and then arrive at a well informed decision.

Best of luck!

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    Just an additional note, journals have impact scores which can help you determine their reputation at a glance. I would like to add that it's not always the university, but in my experience the PI you work with. I've met terrible researchers in well known schools, and incredibly influential people in less well known schools. – Daisetsu Feb 7 '14 at 6:42
  • Do getting into MS-by-research or PhD have any age restrictions formally or informally? – user4271 Feb 7 '14 at 8:18
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You're going to need to prove to admissions that you are better than the other candidates. Why should you be picked over all the other applicants who also have completed a masters degree and published a paper or two?

The people I know who have been accepted to PhD programs have a passion for their field which drives them to do something extraordinary. Go ahead and get a masters, publish some papers, but make sure you have something to prove that you're worth a universities investment in your education.

  • "but make sure you have something to prove that you're worth a universities investment in your education." ---- how can I prove that? – user4271 Feb 7 '14 at 5:09
  • There's no single answer to that question. Imagine you worked at the university admissions office. If you saw 100 applications, and everyone had a masters and a few articles, how do you pick who gets to be admitted? They want to pick someone who can succeed in the program and do good research for the university. Maybe do additional work outside research, get involved in professional groups, propose your own research, anything to make them think you can will complete your degree, and be of use. – Daisetsu Feb 7 '14 at 6:03
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I can't comment yet, so I decided to post another answer in case you end up missing the edit.

Officially, there are no age limits when it comes to pursuing any degree. However, the main purpose of a degree is to enhance skills or gain experience in a different area. This requires a lot of commitment- both personally and in terms of time and money. That's why most people finish their studies early on. The more you're out of the habit of studying, the harder it is to keep up with the class too. It's also difficult to support your studies when you have a family to take care of. Note: I'm not saying it's impossible, just that it requires a lot of planning.

With regards to MS by research/ PhD- again, the universities look at your fit for the program. If you have 10 years of working in marketing or accounts they might not consider you to be the best fit for a CS program.

Again, ask yourself- "Why?" Make a list of courses that align with your previous education, your current job and your intended career. Then look at the universities that offer it and what their requirements are. That will give you a better idea. If a PhD is what you want, go to a research center in your area and ask if there are any openings for RAs or start thinking about your Master's.

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