I have just graduated with a Bachelor degree in computer engineering. Most of the students who get a Bachelor degree at my university go furhter to pursue a Masters degree. However, I have a mental illness, a psychotic disorder (a mixture of Risperidone, Biperiden and Alprazolam appears to help). Many people on the Internet are advising people with mental illness not to pursue a PhD, because PhDs are tough on mental health. I am wondering, is pursuing a Masters degree in computer engineering also tough on mental health?

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    I don't think we can give an answer that's useful to you, because your issues are far from the most common mental health issues and hence the appropriate advice for you might be completely different. Also, it matters what your alternatives are - for example I'm sure homelessness is much worse on mental health than grad school. I would strongly suggest you consult your doctor(s) and or therapist(s) instead of strangers on the internet. Oct 19, 2023 at 17:22

2 Answers 2


If you can manage your mental health issues, you should be fine in an MS. Usually, you just take a bunch of classes that are slightly more interesting than the classes you already did.

Ph.D. are hard on mental health, because Ph.D. students have to deal with certain temptations, such as the impostor syndrome (a Ph.D. should make you the world's specialist in a very small subfield), the feelings of discouragements because Ph.D. students do not feel the progress they are making, and other challenges. Now, if you have access to a therapist, a lot of these problems are much more manageable. Having an understanding Ph.D. advisor also helps. So, I would not conclude a priori that you cannot do a Ph.D. The reason that it might be a good idea is because R&D tend to be more tolerant of personality quirks, which of course in your case are often a syndrome of you illness.

The MS is often very similar to two years of undergraduate studies, but with classes almost exclusively in your chosen major.

Individual factors are very important here. For example, if you have to worry about finances, you have a very high stress factor. The risks of trying out an MS are limited, because leaving after a semester does not cost you a lot. Finally, holding down a job might be equally challenging, unless you have an understanding employer. You might be surprised which big employers are actually good to people with mental illnesses, as long as they can be productive.

In summary, I would advise you to not exclude any options, to talk it through with a therapist (who is trained to elicit your feelings and helps you deal with them), and to minimize risks in your planning.


The overall stress level is only one factor, and something we can't help you determine because it will depend on your university and program of choice.

What is more important is to find out whether your mental condition precludes you from independent, self-directed work over a long period of time, which can be a specific sore point tied to specific disorders. Bachelor degrees often have a much higher level of hand-holding. The same tasks can feel entirely different in terms of stress if they are to be done in a supportive, restrictive, or free-form environment.

It's generally a good idea to take calculated risks in life. However, in this specific scenario, you really need to be asking your therapist about it so as to develop an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses and how your condition ties into that. Internet strangers like me cannot help you or if they do, it will purely be by accident. This is because we lack a clear and sufficient understanding of your circumstances and your disorder.

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