I'm about to graduate with a BS in computer science, my question relates to even higher education.

I generally found most of the topics (Aside from the post calc 2 math) pretty easy and am graduating with a 3.5 GPA. I had the chance to get into an early entry MS program but applied over winter break and 2 of my instructors didn't send their recommendation in time. Now I don't have enough credits to double count as masters level credits for the next semester. I plan on working and letting my employer pay for my Masters degree after a few years, but they won't pay for a PHD.

Would it be worth the extra time, work, and money to get a PHD? I don't want to be "overqualified" and denied jobs because of the extra salary and I'm not super interested in working in academia (At least not until I'm about to retire). If there is someone with a PHD who would offer their input I'd love to hear from you. Thanks!

  • When you say "I'm not super interested in working in academia (At least not until I'm about to retire)", what do you mean. What is academia to you? Teaching? With a MS degree, you can likely get into teaching after a 20+ year career at the community college/undergraduate level. You may want to start as adjunct a few years to a decade in advance to build relationships with your local college leadership. If instead you mean you want to be primarily doing academic level research, then the PhD will be important. – mikeazo Mar 21 '16 at 13:26
  • In the US with a BS you can teach in some community colleges for CS so PhD, masters aren't really required for that. I think it really depends on your goals and how much you really like research. If research and theory aren't your thing I would stick with just the BS or Masters, if that is what is required in your little part of the CS world. Beware not a lot of employers are really getting on the "pay for school" bandwagon any more. So your employer may change their mind if you hold out too long. Mine will only pay for certain certificates and even then it's a pain to get anything covered. – scrappedcola Mar 21 '16 at 14:16
  • What does "worth it" mean to you? Generally there would be three reasons to get a graduate degree -- you are really interested in a particular specialty, and want to spend a lot of time studying it; it opens up jobs that you wouldn't otherwise have access to; or it gives you a chance to make more money. In CS, you probably won't be making a lot more money, especially when you factor in the years you aren't earning while studying. Opening up particular jobs depends on the specialty. You need to figure out what you want from the degree before you can make a decision. – Kathy Mar 21 '16 at 14:49
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about work prospects outside academia. – Cape Code Mar 21 '16 at 17:23

By looking at the wording of your post, I suggest you to run away from a PhD degree as fast as you can.

A PhD degree is one of the milestones in an academic's life and is not something to pursue if you don't know it's worth it.

Getting an extra salary and having a PhD is two different things. A salary is based on your value for the company. A PhD is something that you earn by conducting quality research. It seems you try to have a PhD degree just for some extra money. That is not the way to go.

PhD would not teach you how to be a good employee and an inevitable member of the company. If you want to earn more in the industry, you should keep away from academia and start putting all your effort into your job.

Your employer of course would not pay for your PhD because i) it is usually 4 years long, ii) a PhD student will have numerous opportunities to earn scholarship and iii) pursuing a PhD will require some time, which means your productivity for the company will drop.


A master degree and a Ph.D are two completely different things.

The master degree has the intention to specialise you in a field, to know what is already there and allow you to build new things (applications, webservices, ...)

The Ph.D has the intention of teach you how to do proper research (in a given field, but the main idea is to know what is research). This includes how to experiment and treat data to come to a conclusion about a problem, publishing papers etc.

Ph.D are not specific to academia, in fact, many doctors are working with industry or leading their own firms.

At the end, the choice lies in what kind of job you want to work. A master level job will probably be about creating innovative product, manage a project, whereas a Ph.D level job will mostly involve managing a research project, dealing with specific problems and looking for ways to solves them, then eventually coming up with a product.

  • Yeah, I over-generalised a bit I think. Is it frequent though ? – M'vy Mar 21 '16 at 13:42

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