I've got admission for MS in Computer Science in a US university. Which option is better Non-thesis or thesis ? How do I decide which one I should take ?

  • 2
    Better for what purpose?
    – JeffE
    May 15 '16 at 18:08
  • @JeffE i was asking in a general perspective
    – crazymav
    May 17 '16 at 12:06
  • 1
    That's like asking "Which is better: The Beatles or Elvis?" There is no "general" answer. Each optinon is better for some purposes and for some people than the other.
    – JeffE
    May 17 '16 at 20:53

In my experience, many non-thesis options are used as bailout options for students admitted to PhD programs that get deep into the program but decide not to finish. On the opposite side of the coin, some professional Master's programs have both thesis and non-thesis options where there's no discernible downstream difference between the two. If you want to continue in academia, having a good Master's thesis to point to in your PhD program application is probably better than having nothing. If you plan to go to industry, the Master's thesis may do you no good unless you're trying to reach a job in a research department at a company or national lab.

If you can answer some of these questions about what you want to do with your life after your Master's degree, you might be able to sort out an answer.


The thesis option is often sought by people who are going to pursue some higher level graduate studies, such as Ph. D. Non-thesis tracks are suitable for those who seek a typical job in industry (which means that this option is similar to MEng programs). Of course, the thesis option could, potentially, lead to a professional job too.

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