I am now in the middle of my master's degree and I plan to graduate in August 2015. I currently study in Germany and for most engineering students here it is common to finish the five-year program (3 or 3.5 years for the bachelor's degree and 1.5 to 2 years for the master's). I'm thinking about applying for robotics PhD programs at different US universities but I noticed that most of them have a deadline in December for programs starting 9 months later. I don't have any publications in any international journals because in Germany this is mostly done by PhD students. But I have worked a lot during my studies (1 year internship, part-time research in university).
I don't want to lose one year waiting to start my PhD but in the same time I think that my master thesis will be a great asset while applying for such a program, especially when I will be willing to continue my research and PhD thesis in the same field as my master thesis. Do you think I should take the GRE and apply for next December or wait until getting my master's degree? And how this would influence the selection process.