A little bit of context behind this question: I was asked, during a student presentation, whether an en-route masters (usually awarded upon passage of quals in a direct PhD plan) really was worth the same as a terminal masters (with thesis), knowing the latter is the norm in Canada.
That physics undergraduate said that she'd rather earn a terminal thesis masters than an en-route one (although I feel that this particular undergraduate could be offered a direct PhD plan), because a terminal masters would signal that one is capable of completing a research project, while an en-route masters usually involves a failed, unfinished or downsized research project, since a person in position to take quals usually spent upwards of a year in a research project in the direct PhD plans I know about.
So are terminal research masters in physics regarded differently from en-route masters in physics on the job market?
P.S.: Perhaps the answer varies from a field to another, so what's applicable to physics may not be applicable to, say, chemistry or history.