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The Whos, Whats, Hows, and Whys of Pursuing a Master's or Ph.D. navigate graduate study—not just how to get in but how to succeed once you are there and.
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Programming Languages Electrical Engineering Software Engineering Machine Learning Molecular Biology Electronics Mechanical Engineering Artificial Intelligence Computational Sciences Cell Biology Materials Engineering Computational Mathematics Algorithms Informatics Applied Mathematics Materials Chemistry Materials Physics Biochemistry Optics Find jobs by popular countries.

Germany Belgium France Netherlands Finland Switzerland United Kingdom Luxembourg Sweden Saudi Arabia Other Austria China Norway Italy Qatar United States Spain Oman Canada Find jobs by popular employers. CEA Tech University of Luxembourg ETH Zurich Ghent University University of Leeds Aalto University University of Strathclyde Graduate schools can be very expensive.

If you are not going to work during your studies or will not receive an assistant job and waived tuition fees, the cost of your education is going to mount. Graduating with a large debt.

This state of financial affairs might push you into accepting any job after graduation out of necessity. No guarantee of higher salary.

Return on investment might be slow. Limited job opportunities. If the degree you get is in an academic field, finding work outside of teaching or research may be difficult, and thus, not necessarily worth it to you. Undesirable job locales.

4 Good Reasons to Do a Master's before Your Ph.D.

Too qualified. During an economic downturn, should you find yourself looking for employment, having an advanced degree can be a liability. If you are determined to go to grad school, consider spending a few years getting relevant work experience first. You could take the time to save the money for tuition and expenses, which would allow you to devote dedicated time to a degree. All this allows you some peace of mind, which might be what you need to succeed in grad school. Are you aware of the options you have in terms of graduate programs? Grad programs that are designed to put you into the workforce tend to lean toward options 1 or 2.

Doctoral programs nearly always come under option 3. Graduate programs can be incredibly demanding, but if you find the right one and attend for the right reasons, as described above, they will be rewarding. Here are some tips for balancing your grad life. Hoard your contacts. Ask your favorites for recommendations. Such contacts might later provide some moral support during difficult academic times. Determine your workload. Can you handle this along with all the other demands on your life? Have reliable transportation. Alternately, is city transit reliable enough and are monthly passes affordable?

Live on or near campus.

Master’s First or Straight to PhD? - Academic Positions

If you cannot or do not want a vehicle, consider living as close to campus as possible. Apartments for married students might also be available for rent.


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Determine a long term budget. Will you have enough for the entire run? Will a source of funds be available later once your current savings run out? Work first, play later. Grad students do not necessarily have to give up all forms of entertainment. However, only you know what your priorities really are and what they mean to you. Garner emotional support. If you have a family and do not have their emotional support, it will be very difficult getting through a grad program. This includes, but is not limited to, them respecting your study time.

Define time boundaries. Ask family and friends to respect a schedule that you post — say on the kitchen fridge. Make sure to define, especially to children, what an emergency entails. If you have a significant other, they must help enforce these time boundaries. Regular physical activity not only keeps you in shape and gives you the stamina you will need, but adrenaline pumping through your body perks you up.

Meditate or pray. Both calm you down and relieve stress. Scholarships and grants. Look into scholarships and grants that the government, corporations, or private organizations set aside for various types of qualifications war vet, single parent, cultural member, etc. Grad assistant positions. Many universities receive a certain amount from the government for each grad student they accept, and as such, they will often waive the tuition fee and sometimes offer living expenses via a part-time grad assistant position. In a similar vein, your thesis adviser might have research grant funds coming and might offer that to you in return for your participation as a research assistant.

Note that this might force you into research work that does not interest you, but when you choose a thesis adviser, you often do so because of their previous research topics or academic interests. Employer education programs.

Some large corporations set aside funds to pay partial or full tuitions in the pursuit of advanced education by qualified employees. Employer salary advance. Companies that cannot afford to foot the bill might offer an interest-free advance on salary with certain conditions in place. Family loans. Have wealthy parents or other family members?

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Maybe they can lend you tuition and expenses in return for completing certain milestones in your grad endeavors. Insurance scholarships. Unfortunately, you or your parents need to have the foresight to sign up years before you need it. Credit cards. However, this is a dangerous and potentially stressful approach. Credit card debt is already fairly high on average.

Personal line of credit. Savings from work. Considering all the reasons not to go to grad school, you might think about spending a few years working after getting an undergraduate degree and entering a grad program. You can put the savings into safer investments, such as a CD Certificate of Deposit or an online savings account.

Online grad programs, where most of your coursework can be done remotely via the Internet, do exist. Make sure that you choose an accredited program.

Master’s First or Straight to PhD?

Some of these require a short-term residency on campus or nearby , during which time you either write exams in person or present your thesis Masters or Doctoral. Naturally, online grad programs cannot be offered for all disciplines, but if you are an adult student with many demands on your time, an online degree might be worth considering. Many of these offer more time leeway for completing the program. This is best explained with an example. Note that the following are not necessarily real numbers. Cost of living: For the sake of argument, say that rent, food, gas, car payment, insurance, etc.

So what has this cost you? Is it worth it to you? Ultimately, you have to decide on the reasons why you want to pursue a graduate degree and whether it will be worthwhile financially.