Terminal masters on the way to PhD?

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

Post Reply
Posts: 134
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:21 am

Terminal masters on the way to PhD?

Post by marten » Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:00 pm

Hello everyone, I was thinking about this over the weekend and wondered what you guys thought.

I'm applying to PhD programs, because that is what I want to end up with. But I'm wondering how easy it is to take a few years break in the process, or gracefully exit with a terminal masters to go elsewhere later. I've been looking at the profiles of the schools that I'm applying to, it and is seems that some offer a terminal masters but others only offer a masters on the way to a PhD, if at all. But I've noticed that at the schools that don't offer a terminal masters degree, occasionally there are a few awarded anyway, always in a "non-specialized" field. To me this looks like a PhD student that didn't quite work out. Is that how it is viewed by employers and other schools?

It looks like most PhD programs don't like to award Masters, based on the last five years of data from the AIP.

Is this done? Can it be done without penalty?

Thanks guys and gals,


Post Reply