Why you have to do a Master’s degree before PhD

Thinking of acquiring a PhD immediately after your first degree, and skipping master’s degree? Then you really need to read this post to see reasons why you should follow the traditional process of acquiring a master’s degree before a PhD.

In some continents of the world, there has been a new development in the academic system where it is possible for students to acquire a PhD after gaining a bachelor’s degree. While this saves cost and time that would have been utilized for a master’s degree, it is not always advisable.

You may be probably thinking; I graduated magna cum laude in my first degree and can adapt to the advanced learning system for a PhD program, you should calm the eagerness and follow due process. OR You may even question back with a valid point of the school’s system and their allowance for such. I still suggest you read through before making that decision.

Firstly, I would take you on a journey to knowing the differences between a master’s degree and a PhD.

What is a master’s degree?

It is coined from the Latin word magister, known to be the first level of a graduate study, that is, a level of study after one has acquired a bachelor’s degree. Invariably, to be eligible for a master’s degree program, you must have completed a bachelor’s degree.

Unlike undergraduate programs that take a longer time span, master’s degree are usually about a year or two dependent on the school of choosing, program in lieu or type of study of which can be full time or part time.

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Also, every field have a specialization that can be offered as a master’s degree. Note that master’s degree has to do with a specialty. As the name connotes, it means gaining mastery of a particular subject.

Some few fields that have a sub specialization are; health sciences, engineering, mathematics, biological sciences, physical sciences, applied sciences, arts, humanities, managements and a host of others.

For you to earn a master’s degree, you must be ready to complete 36 to over 54 semester credits, this is specific to the US academic system, for the UK, it takes over 180 credits and 90 to 120 credits for the European system of higher education. .It can be to equivalent to 12 to 18 or more courses offered in the course of the program.

A master’s degree would then be awarded to an individual who has successfully completed a specialty having demonstrated infallible expertise. Acquiring a master’s degree has diverse benefits that cannot be exhausted.

It is that important step to crafting a niche in one’s pursuit of academic goals. Additionally, it gives you the upper hand in an employment environment. Some job role requirements appreciate a master’s degree the more even when not stated. It guides in making career decisions as well. here are some master’s degree scholarship

What is a PhD?

PhD is abbreviated for Doctor of philosophy. It is known as a terminal degree and the highest level of university study.  PhD’s are conferred on diverse academic programs.

This is after you have submitted a dissertation or thesis, having completed a research that is original to you. The research work must be extensive and holistic. It is also known as that bridge to earning a professorship title.

PhD’s are mostly for individuals who love research or want a career in the educational field. The height one can attain in this field is closely related to their qualification and this degree serves as a lift, figuratively.

This kind of degree, due to its nature takes a longer time span. It can span from three to seven years dependent on the school and program. The program determines it more, since it is research oriented. One cannot be precise on when a research can be completed.

Additionally, regarding the nature of the degree, students were mostly required to study in school that is full time, under the close supervision. But, with the advent of distance education and e-learning facilities, some schools have now approved part time study and distance learning for this level of degree.

Traditionally, enrolling for a PhD requires earning a master’s as a prerequisite but some schools aren’t strict about this. One can apply for a PhD directly after the first degree dependent on your academic background.

Is a PhD harder than a master’s degree?

If I say no, it’ll be untrue. PhD’’ are research oriented while master’s degree are career oriented. As we know, researches can be uncertain most times and requires lots of analysis for a dissertation. ‘It requires a great level of commitment being that the research intended is original to you.

Benefits of doing a PhD skipping a master’s degree

In as much, the post is centered on the reasons why doing a master’s degree is essential before venturing for a PhD, I would want to come from both sides of the coin before streamlining.

This I do to help you choose effectively the road to tour coupled with the advantage. The advantages bared helps you recognize priorities that resonates with you and your goals. I will be hinging on two benefits that are quite paramount.


Yes, this is actually a good bait. Who wouldn’t want to save the money that would have been spent acquiring a master’s degree to add up for your PhD funding? Truth is I would readily jump at the opportunity. Most times, we even get scholarships for this level of degree directly, what’s the point of ditching the opportunity. It sounds insane right?


This is actually a great benefit. We can achieve the height in lesser time compared to going through the hurdles of acquiring a master’s degree which can be time consuming as well. Saving one to two years is a great deal. We could launch out to the peak of our careers sooner, landing a great job and settling in life.

Now that we have seen the two paramount benefits of bypassing a master’s degree for PhD we can then look into reasons why having a master’s degree must precede a PhD. At this point, I will implore you look beyond money and time saved and understand the benefits this road may actually offer.

Why to do a master’s degree before a PhD

The usual academic cycle from time past observed in higher institutions follows thus; bachelor’s degree to master’s degree then to PhD. There is an underlying reason or intentions those who framed that had, which mustn’t be overlooked. The benefits of bypassing looks really juicy but let’s juxtapose it together with reasons you should.


The need for experience cannot be overemphasized before applying for a PhD program. Launching straight from a bachelor’s degree voids you of that experience.

Despite your high academic background, it cannot supersede the need for an experience. It can really be hectic, adapting to this advanced level of education is really something you should consider.

Also, the experience aids in better decision making of furthering to a PhD. Masters is where you dip your toe before deciding on what you want. Are you career oriented or research oriented?

Most persons aren’t really research oriented and may not do well in PhD. It may seem as a burden but you can determine your passion and strength if you follow the normal route of a master s first. It helps you see clearly, if you are ready to commit to a PhD. Due to PhD’s nature of study, master’s degree probes your preparedness for it.


Clarity is another core reason. The time utilized in acquiring a master’s offer great clarity on what specialty to venture in for PhD. It gives you a clue on what to study and possible research topics that might interest you when furthering. You can always prepare ahead during your masters.

Yes! Most schools appreciate intending PhD applicant to possess a master’s degree. Also, you can secure connections for supervisors while on your masters. It places you on a good note and a better position to be enrolled easily.

Aids being enrolled for a PhD.

Masters boost academic background towards getting enrolled. If your bachelor’s degree grade is quite low, your grade in masters that help if you are really interested in furthering. But, applying with the undergraduate grade would risk your application being declined.

Additionally, master’s degree is the only route for a PhD in a new field.


These are some obvious reasons you mustn’t overlook when deciding if to bypass a master’s degree for Ph.D. It’s for your best and it will inevitably help in the long run. You can further meet an academic adviser for more advice on this. All the best in your decision. Read more here

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