I am thinking about doing a PhD as I am quite interested in research, I really enjoy trying to figure problems out myself and having to find and understand the necessary information I need for my next report or project myself. This is great.

I am currently enrolled on BSc Computer Science and I am in my last year. Its going nicely so far. So long as I do well (at least a 2.1) then I will consider perusing a PhD.

The problem I have is that I don't know whether or not I should go for a MSc first before getting a PhD. I mean whats the point if I can just enroll on a PhD immediately?

I have talked to some other students who have done MSc/PhDs in their respective degrees and a lot of them tell me that I shouldn't waste a year of my life on an MSc, they say if your going to do a PhD, then an MSc is pretty pointless.

Is there truth to this?

  • 5
    This depends on your locale. It sounds like you are in the US. In Germany, you will usually need to have a M.Sc. to be eligible for entering a Ph.D. program. (Which will then not take as long as a US Ph.D. program.) Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 11:34
  • 3
    Dan is obviously in the UK - I don't think American unis give 2.1 degrees.
    – J. LS
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 12:14

1 Answer 1


If you know you're going to continue on to a PhD, then there is no need to pick up a MSc, unless a specific program you're interested in requires you to acquire the MSc before continuing on to a PhD.

Some people want to have the flexibility that comes with acquiring a MSc, but this is a matter of personal interest, rather than a requirement. The danger is, of course, that if you decide to stop your PhD studies, then you run the risk of having worked for several years without any degree at all.

  • 7
    The "danger" you mention may not exist in all programs. In many PhD programs, you can be awarded a masters degree after completing the first couple years of the program (which involves work similar to a masters). Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 11:46

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