I am a Computer Science graduate living at a developing country and I have two options to choose,

Option I: Pursue CS masters at a reputable, but not leading, national university with a limited alumni, a few of whom in the past has CS Ph.D. admissions from top 40 US graduate schools.

Option II: A very prestigious scholarship provides me an opportunity to pursue a one year master's in sociology at a well known UK university. Then I can still continue with Option I. This will have a positive impact on my career at work too.

My final goal is getting a CS Ph.D. from a US university, but option II allures me. Will Option II have a negative effect on my future career from the perspective of an CS admission committee member ? Is it viewed as a total waste of time ?

  • 1
    Hi Deepak, welcome to Academia.SE. You should consider rewording your question to something clearer and more useful to others. For example "How do CS graduate school admissions weigh an unrelated master (sociology) from a more prestigious school compares to a related (computer science) master from lesser-known school?"
    – earthling
    Sep 7, 2014 at 2:49

1 Answer 1


If your final goal is to have a CS Ph.D., getting a masters in sociology first will in no way help you reach that goal. Doing option II may be viewed as a "waste of time" by CS admissions committees, though it probably won't preclude you from getting into a masters program afterwards. I'm guessing the net effect will be slightly negative from the point of view of a CS admissions committee.

However, it doesn't mean you shouldn't do option II, especially if you think you'll enjoy it. You might even find your career plans changing after getting a masters in sociology.

  • 2
    I think it depends a little on what kind of CS research the sociology MS wants to pursue. I would expect a strong sociology background to be an advantage at the MIT Media Lab, for example.
    – JeffE
    Sep 8, 2014 at 2:43
  • Agreed. In most cases it won't help, but there are always exceptions.
    – Lev Reyzin
    Sep 8, 2014 at 16:31

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