I'm applying to a grad school in the US for fall 2016. While filling the application, I stated my initial and terminal degree preferences as Master's only (and not PhD) as I want to work in the industry post MS. Will it hurt my chances of getting selected?

  • 2
    Not if you're applying to a terminal master's program.
    – JeffE
    Dec 4, 2015 at 14:48
  • @JeffE, It was a regular MS program (and not a MS+PhD one). So that means it is indeed a terminal Master's program, right?
    – Hyperbola
    Dec 4, 2015 at 15:27
  • This could depend somewhat on the field and the particular department. Make sure to read carefully the department's instructions about this. Dec 6, 2015 at 13:37

3 Answers 3


It probably won't hurt your chances of getting accepted, but it will definitely hurt your chances of getting funding from the department.


Probably not. In fact, each student admitted to a PhD program constitutes a fairly major commitment on the part of the university and department, so admissions standards are generally higher for Ph.D. applicants.

That said, if the program you are applying to doesn't "do" Masters, you won't get in. For your own good, you should be limiting applications to programs that have thriving Master's Programs, because they'll probably be better at providing your education appropriately.

Further, my own opinion is that if you feel pressure from the department you're applying to to accept admission as a Ph.D. student when you've applied as a Master's, beware.


No. It might even help since a terminal Masters means you'll probably be paying your tuition and are less of a drag on the school's resources.

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