My previous educational background is mainly about mathematical/computational finance, however, I would like to apply for a CS Ph.D. in the future. I decided to first apply for a master degree related to computer science and then prepare for the Ph.D. during this master program.

One option is a master degree in CS, however, I found my relevant experience is more about data science (like applications of data science in finance) instead of pure computer science research. Will a data science master program make more sense?

My major concern is most master programs in data science seem to prepare students for a "professional path" instead of an "academic path" (it's like a terminal program), will this fact be disadvantageous when I apply for the Ph.D. in CS in the future?

FYI: There are very few Ph.D. programs in data science, CS Ph.D. is the only choice I guess for me. Also, for some reason, I cannot look for a job right after the master program and have to get a Ph.D. degree.

  • What is your reason to do a PhD?
    – koalo
    Sep 6, 2017 at 18:15
  • "There are very few Ph.D. in data science" - What does this mean? Is it the number of PhD already graduated, or there is not enough program in the world on PhD in DS?
    – Coder
    Sep 6, 2017 at 18:19
  • Just edited@Coder
    – Nicholas
    Sep 6, 2017 at 18:24
  • I ask, because if you need the PhD just because you think you can apply for better industry jobs (in my experience that is not the case in your area), then CS is probably the easier path. If you however want to do research for your whole life, then your early specialization might be beneficial for your academic career.
    – koalo
    Sep 6, 2017 at 18:32
  • 1
    I do not know the job market in the US, but for Germany the jobs you get with a CS PhD (taking about 4 years) are similar to those you get with 4 years of CS experience in industry (unless the job is specifically about your research topic).
    – koalo
    Sep 6, 2017 at 19:11


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