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MS vs Phd – Part 3 with Bhaskar Prabhakar

9 May 2008 5 Comments

Hey Guys,

We were discussing about MS Vs Phd in this post.

Professor Jayant Haritsa gave his views about it here.

Dont you think it would great to hear the views on this topic from an MS student who is contemplating on Phd.. Here we go!

Bhaskar Prabhakar is now pursuing his masters in Mechanical Engineering in Pennsylvania State University, USA. He is officially working with the energy institute at PSU. Bhaskar was the Best Outgoing Student of NIT TRICHY – 2007. Bhaskar might go for a Phd. He hasnt decided yet!

Without futher ado, Over to Bhaskar on MS vs Phd.

Personally, I feel one should consider MS or PhD if and only if he is interested in doing some meaningful research in life and wants to contribute to the world knowledge base. If coming to the US is the sole intention, MS might turn out to be the easiest way, i agree, but then will not be the right choice. The reason why I say this is because you can get done with your masters even without doing research at many universities, or what they claim to be a non-thesis option. This is basically course work, which might be an extension of what was covered in the undergrad level, or might be a bit more in depth and sometimes more rigorous. But then, just doing course work without any practical application or coming up with stuff on your own (research-though it might sound a misnomer) is of no use from what I see.

Coming to MS vs PhD…First and foremost, I would say never commit to a PhD without going to a particular univ, the reason being, things might seem very glamorous from India when posted on the world wide web, but the essence of it lies when you really taste it..in simple words, it is good to start off with a masters, evaluate yourself, if you are worth a PhD, look around for what interests you and what in the department you can do and then commit..this seems to be the best option to me..I have seen lots of people committing to a PhD right from the start and have quit after a few years not liking what they are doing, its quite practical that this can happen to any one..first of all, do what you like and then start liking what you are doing..

Secondly, a masters degree is just an eye opener, it is quite broad because you really dont get to specialize in anything( may not be true always, I have seen lots of masters students being Gods in some areas), while a PhD is more focussed into one particular subject. In other words, you narrow down your focus into a smaller domain and work for more time till you have substantial results.

Having said that, it is wrong to claim that a PhD candidate is area specific. it is important to know that a PhD candidate works on many projects, in multiple dimensions before he can churn out his own results. This makes him a good know-er of many subjects too.

Masters is a quick degree, while PhD is more time consuming..Many people say, PhD students have lost social bearings, I will agree partly and disagree too..it depends!!!!!

Coming to who does PhD? A person who is looking to work in academia or wanting to contribute to research in a big way does a PhD, while a masters student is looking to get done and hunt for jobs in industries, where not much of research is called for.

Coming to salary and preference, obviously a PhD candidate is preferred over a masters one due to the depth of knowledge, but pay wise both remain more or less the same.

I hope i have cleared some of your questions…

Thanks Bhaskar. That was helpful. Readers, hope this clears some of your doubts about MS and Phd.




  • The Maharishi said:

    first…thanks a lot Bhaskar !…a very very useful and timely advice . . . a wonderful eye-opener ! and thanks a lot for that !..i ‘ve been asking lotsa people about this and your reply summarises almost everyone’s opinion !..thanks again !

    second…kudos to Sundar for taking such wonderful and useful initiatives ! this blog serves to a wide range of age groups and for people in diverse fields !..

  • venkat said:

    “.Many people say, PhD students have lost social bearings.” ..he he he

  • venkat said:

    “.Many people say, PhD students have lost social bearings.” ..ha ha ha

  • shiva said:

    hii..is their any chance to pursue Phd in usa without a masters degree?If yes ,what are the colleges offering

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