Why Get a Master’s Before a PhD?

Online masters and PhD programs are great ways to augment your expertise, conduct research into your industry and accelerate your career. But when it comes to picking a postgraduate degree there are some variations in trends amongst different parts of the world. i

Some countries allow students to enroll in a PhD program without a masters’ degree, while others don’t.ii This can make one wonder; is a masters’ not necessary for a PhD?

The short answer to that is well, no. You do not always have to acquire a masters’ degree to enroll in a PhD program, particularly in the USA and Canada. But most advisors would recommend you do get a masters’ first. There are more than a few reasons to choose the masters’ to PhD route, especially for business fields.iii

First, if you enter a PhD program before getting a master’s degree or an MBA then you might be unprepared. You might also not have enough real-world experience which is vital for business studies. That can make it tougher for you to do research, learn about theory, and link it to practical application.

Currently, there is a 43.4% drop-off rate amongst PhD students across multiple fields. Various factors contribute to this such as age when started the program, length of PhD program and funding. The research showed that doctoral degree completion was associated with higher grades in the masters’ program.iv

Secondly, masters’ degrees are often cheaper than PhD degrees and less competitive as well.vThis makes masters’ a better option if you have limited funds or if you want to scale your career quicker. You might be able to get to a managerial level post with masters’ and enjoy a fruitful career.

Undergraduate and postgraduate studies are widely different. This makes students with a masters’ degree or MBA better-suited candidates for a PhD program.

These days some online master’s programs offer their students the facility of direct entry into a relevant Doctorate or PhD program after successful completion of their online masters’ programs. This is a great incentive to join a master’s program.

Get Your Masters’ Degree Online

PhD programs are a huge undertaking. These can be exhausting so you should ensure that you are fully prepared for this program before you apply.

People often bypass the masters’ degree to join a PhD program because it saves time and resources. Since the in-person masters’ degree might take up to 2 years and then the in-person PhD can take 3-8 years.vi

Online education has made postgraduate studies much more accessible and quick. You can complete the online masters’ degree in 9 months and a PhD in approximately 2 years [Lengths can vary as per different programs]. While studying online you can also save a lot on travel and accommodations expenses.

There are programs offered by some international universities that can gain you an entry for a PhD after you complete your masters’ with them. You could enrol in such an online masters program and avail of such advantages. So, go ahead and acquire an international degree from the comfort of your home!