Masters or PhD Overseas? Which One Is Better For Me?

Pros and Cons of Masters and PhD Overseas

Masters or PhD? Many of us thinking about studying abroad come across this question, but cannot find a definite answer. But now you have come to the right place!

There are three questions that you must have answers for before you take a decision in this regard.

  1. What career path are you looking for?

First and foremost, Masters programs are designed for skilled, applied work. Most Masters graduates end up working in the corporate sector or industries, taking up positions that require using specialized knowledge for practical goals. Contrast that with PhD programs, which revolve around research or development of theories. PhD graduates are most suited for laboratory projects in industries, or for teaching positions in academic institutions. Thus, you must choose a Masters or a PhD program, depending on which career path you are aiming for.

Another aspect to consider in this respect is your field of work. A PhD in a Humanities field has little to offer in terms of lucrative research positions, and candidates are left only with academic careers. Such practical considerations can play a pivotal role in your decision too.

2. Can you deal with uncertainty?

As coveted as a PhD appears to be, it is not entirely without its faults. Firstly, a PhD is the most advanced degree in any field, which means that you are overqualified for most jobs. The majority of jobs do not require the skills, knowledge, and talent a PhD program builds in you. In such cases, even for highly skilled jobs, Masters candidates are preferred. Only in the specialized, research-oriented jobs and research-focused universities can PhD graduates flourish. Finding such opportunities can be challenging.

Also, a little said fact about PhDs is that it is possible that you may never graduate! There are several who drop out of their PhDs halfway through. So you must ensure that you have the commitment and ability to deal with the uncertainty that comes with pursuing a PhD.

3. Do you have the academic potential to pursue a PhD?

While both Masters and PhD degrees require strong academics, PhDs are solely offered on the originality and creativity of your research work. PhDs are way more rigorous than Masters programs, both in terms of academic rigor and duration. Consider the facts that Masters programs are 1-2 years long and have a standardized curriculum. Also, when there is a thesis option in Masters programs, the thesis is smaller in scope in comparison to a PhD thesis. What all this means is that, if you are not a particularly studious individual, a PhD program should not be your choice.

There are other parameters of comparison too, such as the cost. Masters programs abroad seldom offer stipends to students. PhDs, on the other hand, regularly offer some financial assistance to students. Thus, a Masters can be a more expensive option, even if it is for a shorter duration. Further, you must also look at the possibility of taking up PhD after the completion of your Masters, by which time you will have a better idea of whether you are well suited for a research/academic career.

Clearly, there is no winner between the two, but we can say in a nutshell that Masters is an application-oriented, faster, and less rigorous path as compared to a PhD which is a research-oriented, slower, but more rigorous option with the possibility of a rewarding, intellectual career.


At Beyond Consultant, we help you bring your dreams to life, by guiding in your overseas education journey. For a free consultation, please get in touch with us here.

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