I am really looking for some very open-mind answers here. So here is the scenario. I have finished my undergraduation in Visual Communication Design from a premiere institute from my country. I couldn't get a chance to make it for post-graduation or further for any phd program, due to some health and financial issues. But I have been working on a research paper that I started as a project during my design school days, that would come under psychology, art and design. Given the fact, that I currently donot have much chance in terms of further formal education, what can I do best? I have been working on the research for few years now and would want to continue without any hesitation but what are my options as an independent researcher? Can I apply for phd programs later in life without a masters degree if my research is good enough? Can I send my papers to conference to get reviewed by people from the field? What are the resources available for someone like me? What are the platforms where I can interact with other researchers?

Initially I was very upset about the situation, but now I think I have decided to do something about it. And I am looking for answers to make things better or rather find a direction, to make the best when life gives you lemons.

  • I suggest you look through the questions tagged independent-researcher to get some understanding of what you can do as an independent researcher.
    – svavil
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 7:22

2 Answers 2


This answer comes late, but I hope it is still relevant to you, or maybe to others in a similar situation.

You don't need degrees to do research. Anyone can do it and anyone can publish their research, provided it is acceptable to reviewers and editors.

The difficult part, however, is to get feedback on what you are doing so that you get some assurance of both its correctness and its value. That is easier for graduate students and faculty members at universities and institutes. But it isn't impossible for an independent researcher.

The key is to build a circle of people (or even a single person) with similar interests, who is willing to read your work and give you feedback. One way to do this is to contact some professors at a local university and ask for assistance. Some will be willing to help, even to collaborate, but others won't want to make the effort. So it may take a search.

One of the most important mathematicians of the 20th century, Srinivasa Ramanujan working in India and with little formal education, made contact with G. H. Hardy in England, and it was that association that brought his work to the fore.


I think you can't get a phd without masters degree.

Regarding your Independent Research well if it some kind of out of this world research like Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity where it can be a world changing research it may get some support immediately.

Also the content of your research will not prove that your grab all the necessary requirements to be a master's degree.

If you can't get further, I suggest you should take another path. It's not that really important to get a PHD just to be the best in your choosen career.

  • 1
    Thanks Jay for the reply. I'm already working as a designer. But the research subject is very close to my heart. Honestly, it really doesnt matter to me so much if I donot have a phd except that its a conventional way. I actually want to continue my research as I believe it has potential. All I want to know essentially is where do I stand as an independent researcher? How do I approach people/forum? Can I submit my papers for conferences? How do I get a review & get into discussions with my peers who are into research in the field? What are my possibilities as an independent researcher?
    – Nitasha
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 15:52
  • 3
    "I think you can't get a phd without masters degree." Well, I did, and it wasn't at al unusual. This sort of thing depends very much on location and probably field of study. Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 15:22
  • It is very much possible to get a PhD without an MS.This is a very misleading answer on all fronts.
    – Layman
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 15:58

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