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Grad School Guide

Master’s vs. PhD

There are a two types of Master’s degree programs:

  1. Coursework Master’s degree
    1. Degree requirements: 9-12 courses, typically with certain distribution of requirements (e.g., math courses, depth courses in your specialized area, etc.)
    2. It typically takes 1.5 years
    3. Can sometimes be done part-time through online programs
  2. Research Master’s degree
    1. Requirements: 6-8 courses plus multi-semester research project
    2. Typically takes 1.5-2 years

If you want to spend more time doing research (e.g., to train to become a research scientist or professor), you can complete a doctoral degree:

  1. PhD (doctoral) degree
    1. Typical requirements: equivalent of coursework master’s, plus additional courses, qualifying exam, long research dissertation (100-250 pages), thesis defense
    2. Typically takes 4-6 years