I would like to start my doctorate in the same university during the last semester of my Master's. Do you think it is wise to do this?

Think that I will have to start writing my Master's dissertation, meanwhile taking PhD courses (both starting 2016's fall and finishing by mid 2017's spring) and right next to start my PhD thesis (2017's fall).

So, what is your advice?

  • 4
    It depends on the department and university. What does your Masters thesis/departmental advisor say?
    – Luigi
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 17:22
  • 1
    @Luigi I think they don't mind about it. My question is more related to intensive track pressure and to short time gap between one program to another. Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 17:24
  • 2
    Depending on how your university deals with things, courses you take in 2016 may count towards your Master's and not your PhD.
    – svavil
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 17:58
  • 2
    It really depends on country and culture. In most places you are rather busy to do even one, so doing both can be too much.
    – Greg
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 15:22
  • 1
    I would like to start my doctorate during the last semester of my Master's -- Why? Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


I think it's an extremely attractive proposition, but not necessarily realistic. For a start, your master's degree/dissertation result most likely won't have come in by the time the PhD term starts (and your master's dissertation will give your institution a good idea of what your PhD performance will be). For my own institution, I submitted my dissertation mid Sept and my mark came in early December. There's no way I could have started a PhD a week after submitting my dissertation! But your deadlines may well be different.

Secondly, how you would have time to do a well-thought out PhD proposal while you are doing your master's dissertation is beyond me. Don't do too many things at once. Bear in mind that when your master's dissertation finishes it's a good idea to start thinking about your PhD topic pretty soon afterwards anyway. Work through the proposal carefully and thoughtfully during the Autumn and submit before Xmas/Jan - especially if you are going for funding. Then you will have to work on your supporting statement.

Thirdly, it may be a good idea to collect yourself and have a year between master's and PhD. I'm currently at that point and while I do miss academic responsibilities, I do have a couple of things to involve myself with in my field. Join your library, do some reading. You may also appreciate a year [well, it's less than a year] to have a little time out before your full-on PhD.

Summary: while it's extremely attractive as an idea to do PhD straight after master's I don't think it's practical. You need mental and physical space to do things well and to commit to both properly. Don't push yourself too hard and don't be scared of your year in between the two. As you must know from your time in master's, it's better to pace yourself rather than to rush things.

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