There are many people who pursue a thesis-based master's degree but do not want to pursue academia after graduation. If people just want to have a good job, is thesis writing helpful to them? My major is electrical engineering.

  • Could you be more specific about your question? The value of completing a written thesis likely varies by field and position, even in industry. – Harry Mar 3 '17 at 21:40

I can think of two reasons you might want to write a thesis.

  1. If you would inherently enjoy the challenge.

  2. If digging in and writing up specialized knowledge in a particular topic might be related to your future work on the job.

Either of these would be a good reason -- you don't need both.


Actually having a Ph.D. can be seen as a disadvantage in industry. I have met this attitude from a couple of employers / potential employers. They see you as an academic, and not wanting to do real work.

I think it would be less of an issue with big employers, but certainly smaller ones, at can be an issue. It may be worst in my case, as I spent a number of years as a post-doc at university.

If you don't want to do academic work after university, and just want a good job, I'd personally suggest the case for doing one is rather weak.

Others experience may be different, but I personally think the main thing you get out of a Ph.D. is the ability to do research properly. That is a transferable skill. My Ph.D is Medical Physics, but I work in a completely unrelated field (I'm director of Kirkby Microwave Ltd, developing vector network analyzer calibration kits) The skill of doing research I learned during the Ph.D. are very relevant to the products I develop, and hope to develop, despite they have nothing to do with what I actually did during my Ph.D.

If you go into industry after 3 years spent studying for a Ph.D, you will probably find your manager does not have one, and is earning more than you!

I can't recall where I read it, but there was an analysis somewhere of what it costs to do a Ph.D. If you consider a "good job" one where you gets lots of money, you will probably find the loss of income for those 3 years is significant and you may never make it up in your lifetime.

  • 2
    The question is about writing a thesis as part of one's master's degree, not about doing a PhD. – Miguel Mar 4 '17 at 18:59
  • Oops - my error. – Dr. David Kirkby Mar 4 '17 at 21:32

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