Learn Everything About the Masters Vs PhD Discussion

Masters Vs PhD

Many students are talking about the Masters vs Ph.D. debate. This discussion about graduate degrees has been going on for years, after all. Many undergrads want to get into a PhD program without completing the Master. Others say they don’t even need a PhD after their degree program to get a top salary. In any case, the Master’s degrees vs doctorate degree debate won’t be over anytime soon.


This write-up does not talk about the differences between a graduate degree and a postgraduate degree. However, it emphasizes everything you need to learn about the differences between a master’s degree and a doctorate degree. In this article, you would learn the most important and rudimentary differences between these postgraduate programs.

To make sure you understand the differences between the Master’s degrees and the Doctorate of Philosophy (NOT Psychology!) degree, we have compiled all the information you would ever need right here. So, let’s talk about the Master’s programs vs doctoral programs!

What is a Master’s Degree?

After most students complete their bachelor’s degree they don’t know whether to go for postgraduate studies or not. And those who decide to further their education don’t know if they should go for a direct PhD or master’s program. The issue here is often the confusion about whether to do master’s programs or doctoral programs. To this end, many people who talk about PhD vs Masters don’t really know what each degree is or how it is obtained. Many people take part in the Master vs PhD debate because they support just one of the two degrees. So, let’s start by explaining what Master’s degrees really are:

  • It is a postsecondary credential.
  • Getting it requires either 2 or 3 years of study, as well as a thesis or clinical experience.
  • There are many Master’s degrees one can get, including the Master of Science (MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA).
  • To get into a Master’s program, you need a Bachelor’s degree. In addition, some programs require you to have a Bachelor’s in a related field.
  • Most programs require a thesis. MFAs, however, usually just require writing projects. MSW programs require clinical practice and experience.

What Is PhD Degree?

The next step in our Masters or PhD discussion is to talk about the Doctorate degree. It is different from Master’s degrees, of course. It is also a lot more difficult to obtain, unfortunately.

Some individuals would rather choose to join a doctoral program after their masters program. The reason is simple, they want to experience a gradual progression of the level of difficulty of each program.

Here is everything you need to know about the PhD:

  • A PhD is a type of doctorate.
  • To get a degree, you need to do extensive research and fill a gap in knowledge.
  • Your contribution to your field needs to be significant.
  • To graduate, you need to write a dissertation proposal and defend it orally. Towards the end of the program, you will need to present and defend the dissertation (an academic paper that often spans hundreds of pages).
  • You don’t necessarily have to get a Master’s degree to advance to a PhD program. However, we think it is a good idea.
  • A PhD degree is much more difficult to obtain than a Master’s one because you need to use your own research to write the dissertation. Much of this research must be entirely original.

Do You Need a Masters to Get a PhD?

Do you need a Masters for a PhD? In many cases, if your academic results are excellent (in the top 1%), you don’t need a Master’s degree to qualify for a PhD program. This holds true in both the United States and the UK. However, it’s a bit more difficult to skip the Master in the United Kingdom. But should I get a Master’s before a PhD? This is the correct question to ask. Here are some of the advantages of going straight for the PhD:

  • Since Master’s programs and doctoral programs overlap in some areas, you will basically be doing a Master’s course while working on your PhD.
  • It saves you time because you don’t have to spend 2 or 3 more years on the Master’s program.
  • Many doctoral programs offer to fund to their students, which is not something you will get as part of a Master’s program.
  • You can get a Master’s degree while you advance on your PhD program. Sometimes, the Master’s degrees vs doctorate degree discussion doesn’t include this important piece of information.

The other side of the PhD or Masters debate will always tell you that there are also disadvantages. The most notable are:

  • If you withdraw from the PhD program, you will not get a diploma, not even a Master’s degree.
  • You don’t know if you can complete a PhD program because you haven’t tackled such a project (like you would have had if you’d have chosen to go through the Master’s program first).

Knowing the merits and demerits stated above, the ball is in your court, and the choice is yours to make. The most important thing is that you are making significant progress after leaving for graduate school.

The Difference Between Masters and PhD

Of course, there is a very big difference between doctoral programs and Master’s programs. Most master’s degrees require you to study for 2 or 3 years and write a thesis (based on research that has already been done), the PhD degree requires you to write a dissertation and come up with original research. You will have to bring a notable contribution to your field.

Also, a doctorate degree will enable you to teach your own course at a faculty. Master’s degree holders cannot do this.

PhD Vs Masters: Which Is Better?

By now, you may have decided to do a PhD after your Master’s. Or you may simply want to get enrolled in the doctoral program directly. No matter what you choose, you are surely interested to know which degree is better. Obviously, a doctorate degree is better. Here are just some of the reasons for this:

  • A doctorate degree will get you a much higher salary. You can expect to get 50% more money than people who only have Master’s degrees.
  • The PhD allows you to teach your own course at a faculty. You can’t do this with just a Master’s degree.
  • The PhD degree allows you to sign your name with “, PhD” at the end. This is extremely meaningful for your prospective employers or clients.
  • Finally, a doctorate degree is the highest format degree you can get, which demonstrates to the world that you are extremely experienced in your field.

So, if you can get a doctorate degree without a Master’s degree, and you truly believe that you can graduate from the program, it is a good idea to go straight for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. It will get you a lot of benefits. And besides, if you are a PhD degree holder, the Master’s degree becomes almost irrelevant.

This does not in any way relegate the relevance of a master’s program. For some individuals, their graduate school results aren’t enough to go for a doctorate program directly (by skipping a master’s degree). If you are this shoe, then you would do just fine with a master’s degree. Then after that, you can go for your doctoral degree. Regardless of your case, you are in charge, and the choice is entirely yours. So, whatever you choose, focus on the degree and do your best in it! Enjoy!



Are there any differences in PhD vs Masters salary?

Yes. Because the PhD is a terminal degree that shows a potential employer that you have achieved excellence in your field, it will help you get a much higher salary. And we’re talking about a big difference here. You can expect 50% more than what you would earn with just a master’s degree.

Do you really need a Masters before PhD?

In the United Kingdom, many institutions require students to have a Master’s degree to be eligible for a PhD program. In the United States, however, one can skip the Master’s degree and get admitted directly to a PhD program. In Canada, you could start a Master’s program and get fast-tracked to a PhD program without completing the Master’s.

Do you know of any PhD programs without Masters degree?

You don’t necessarily have to hold a Master’s degree to enroll in a PhD program. In the UK, however, many universities require a Master’s degree, as well as a Bachelors’s degree (at least 2:1). You should ask the faculty staff directly at the university to see their requirements.

Going from Masters to PhD, what is the best way to start?

The best way to start is to look at the university’s requirements for the doctorate program. The next thing you should do is find a topic and write a proposal. Keep in mind that the proposal will need to be defended orally to a commission.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main difference between the coursework of a Master's degree and a PhD?
Master's degree coursework focuses on advanced knowledge and skills in a specific field, while PhD coursework is geared towards developing research skills and expertise in a particular area of study.
Can I obtain a PhD without a Master's degree?
It is possible to obtain a PhD without a Master's degree, although some programs may require completing a Master's degree as a prerequisite. Students with a Bachelor's degree may be able to enter a PhD program directly but should expect a longer time commitment and more rigorous coursework.