I just started my Masters in CS at EPFL. I got accepted here with their university wide scholarship as well as a unique opportunity to do research in a lab. My problem is that the course load (typically 7-8 courses per semester) is so much for a Masters degree here that I don't have any time to dedicate to any research. Of course there is the Masters Thesis but that only comes after all course work is finished. In the mean time I see that the PhD students and other researchers in the lab are working on really interesting stuff and I won't have the time to participate in such work. So I was thinking about just applying directly to PhD programs either at EPFL or ETHZ or in schools in the United States. I wanted to do a Masters to get a better understanding of what exactly I want to research but I have realized that just by picking the research lab here at EPFL I know what field I want to do research in.
I was wondering how common it is for people to apply to PhD programs without completing their Masters studies. How should I explain this in my application, that I am deciding to leave a program? Would it be fine to explain that I am deciding to leave as I want to enter a more research oriented program? How open will admission committees be to that? Will the admission committee be worried that if I decided to leave this Masters program I might decide to leave the PhD program, which I don't intend to?
Any advice in this matter will be helpful. Thanks.