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I received an associates degree in computer science from a junior college and then transfered to an university to pursue my bachelors degree. I am almost finished with that and I plan on continuing towards a masters degree. A lot of classmates tell me that you should get your masters degree from a different school then the one your received your bachelors from. Is this true? Why? Should you get your PhD from the same school your got your masters?

EDIT: Thank you all! This helps me a lot!

marked as duplicate by jakebeal, scaaahu, Enthusiastic Engineer, Peter Jansson, gman Jun 12 '15 at 9:42

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It is commonly accepted that it is generally better for a student who is going on to an academic career to get their PhD at a different institution from where they got their MS. For an academic, the place where you got your PhD is generally more important than where you got your bachelor's degree and that it is important to have a PhD from the very best program that you can get into. Studies have shown that PhDs from the top programs are much more successful than PhDs from lower ranked programs.

There are lots of middle tier universities with good undergraduate programs that adequately prepare students for graduate study but that don't have very strong graduate programs. If you're at one of those institutions, then you'd be well advised to "move up" to a better institution for your PhD.

You've asked this question specifically about your MS degree, where this is much less of an issue. If you're getting a terminal masters and planning to work in industry, then it probably won't hurt to get your BS and MS at the same institution. If you're planning to get your BS and MS at the same institution and then go somewhere else for a PhD then having gotten your BS and MS at the same institution won't be a problem either.

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    FWIW my BS, MS, and PhD are from the same institution, and I don't feel that it has had any negative impact on my academic career. – Brian Borchers Jun 11 '15 at 23:10
  • Interesting, I wonder if it's field dependent. One of my organic chemistry professors once said that he felt like his entire career was spent trying to make up for the fact that he got his BS and PhD from the same schoo. – chipbuster Jun 12 '15 at 1:07
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As for your question regarding Why?

As far as I understand this is to be able to get more academic exposure to different ideas. One could imagine that someone who trained for around 8-10 years in the same place might leave with some bias from working with the same people and being exposed to the same ideas for that period of time.

I completed my BS and MS at the same university and then traded institutions for my PhD. This wasn't as much for academic exposure as finding the best program for me. However, having made the switch I have appreciated the different environment and meeting new people. I have only positive things to say about going to a different institution for more advanced degrees.

This advice is most relevant when considering institutions for a PhD. Someone who is pursuing a terminal masters degree probably doesn't need to worry much about going to a different institution.

Of course you will find many people who agree and disagree with this rule. I know several people who got all their degrees from the same institution and are doing just fine and others who decided to go to a different institution. The bottom line is you need to find the program that is going to fit you best.

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    Depending on the university and place, doing one's Bachelor, Master, and PhD in the same university does by no means always imply that you keep "working with the same people". – O. R. Mapper Jun 12 '15 at 8:33
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It is not necessary to get your masters degree from a different school then the one your received your bachelors from. The choice is entirely yours. Although there are a few things to consider while making your choice;

1) the job prospects in the area: what are the chances of you getting accepted by your potential employers.

2) your choice of subject and area: Computer Science is one of the STEM subjects which has favorable job prospects all across the US. But it would be easier for you if you were to earn a degree New York then job hunt in New York rather than in Alaska.

3) research and compare the reputations of Unis and tuition fees: it would do any good if you found out that your undergraduate uni has greater reputation than your new uni. The reputation of a Uni matters to quite an extent when you are getting a job after all your studies.

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