6

I am considering applying for a degree (ideally, but not necessarily, MSc) in Computer Science and Maths, such as this one: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/undergraduate/degrees/computerscience/comscimathsmsci/#Programme-structure, or another one from a respected university. My father has shared his concerns that this may be a 'Jack of all trades and master of none' option, when compared with single subject degrees, and I wanted to find out if this is true.

Would a degree programme of this nature (CS and Maths) make me just as skilled as somebody with a degree in either Computer Science or Maths, or would I be left with a degree that leaves less competitive than somebody who has studied a single subject?

Would employers/universities (I am currently interested in academia and being able to enrol in a Ph.D programme is beneficial) respect this degree as much as a degree in one or the other?

If this is true, is this true for both MSc and BSc courses, or would the integrated Masters make me competitive against single subject students?

  • 5
    Short version: Nobody will care about your major. – JeffE Jun 29 '14 at 20:08
  • The courses that I'm looking at are equally split between the two, so not major and minor. I'm not completely sure what is meant by "Nobody will care about your major.". Do you mean that 'majoring' in one field and 'minoring' in another (or, in this case, studying equally for two somewhat similar subjects) is not as good as just taking one field, or that they won't care as long as it's in my degree title? – user3784841 Jun 29 '14 at 20:20
  • 2
    I mean nobody will care what your degree is called, or whether you majored in this or minored in that. What they will care about is the expertise that you demonstate, in part through the specific classes you take, in part through the stuff you do outside class (independent projects, research, interships, clubs, etc.), and in no small part through your recommendatoin letters (if you decide to pursue a PhD). – JeffE Jun 30 '14 at 0:49
  • @user3784841 : I see this question was raised 3 years ago. Did you in fact choose to proceed with this program? And how did it work out for you? – John Slegers Dec 7 '17 at 12:07
7

Your choice depends on your purpose and your competitors. You should ask yourself: who am I competing with?

If you want to pursue a Ph.D. degree, and if the subject you want to study contains a lot of math, such that a standard syllabus of a M.Sc. is insufficient, then you should go for it.

If you don't want to work in academy, then this depends on the company's choice of employers.

But remember, it is not about taking a lot of courses. As far as I experienced, professors pick their Ph.D. students by their i) research skills ii) background knowledge about the subject. And those are listed by priority.

Assume that, there are two CS students, Alice and Bob. Both are seeking a Ph.D. position in area of Game Theory.
Game Theory is closely related to Economics. But also, Multi-Agent Systems is main subject that relates Game Theory to Computer Science.

Alice chose to enroll a double-program which is a hybrid of Economics and Computer Science. Whereas Bob enrolled a standard M.Sc. Computer Science program, and took more Computer Science related courses.

They both graduated at the same time, with the highest possible graduation grades.

Scenario I

One of them wants to work at a company, and the other wants to join the research team of Professor Charlie. The result is, they are not competitors.

Scenario II

Both want to join the research team of Professor Charlie. There are two vacancies. The result is, they are not competitors (assuming that they are the only ones who want to join).

Scenario III

This time, there is only one vacancy. Now, you are Professor Charlie. Who would you pick? The right answer to this question is: what is my research team doing? Yes, it is indeed a question, but a necessary one in your situation. If professor Charlie's team is working on theories from field of Economics, then he will pick Alice. However, if his team is working on pure computer science and Multi-Agents, then he will pick Bob.

However, above all these, if there is a third student, Daniel, whose grade is not so high but published two top-conference papers and submitted one of his papers to a top journal, all in the area of Game Theory, it is most likely that Professor Charlie will pick him.

All in all,

If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there. -- Lewis Carroll

  • 4
    The quote excellently summarizes the questioner's situation. – paul garrett Jun 29 '14 at 20:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.