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Offline Narumi

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Confused about Master's Degree
« on: January 10, 2008, 01:48:23 PM »
This was the best place I could come up with for this question, since it's not really a chemical problem. I apologize if it belongs elsewhere.

I'm a 2nd year graduate student in Inorganic Chemistry at a top ten school, and I've decided that I want to leave with a master's degree.

My only problem is that I don't know whether to go for an MA or an MS, or what it would mean for my potential career options. I've always had the impression that an MS was 'better' for getting a job in industry because it requires a research thesis, and an MA for teaching because it requires more diverse coursework.

However, at my institution (is it the same everywhere?) the MA degree requires a thesis, and the MS does not. I have no idea what to make of that- will it look better to an employer to have an MS, but no thesis, or an MA, which I always thought wasn't as good...?

I have completed all course requirements for both, and I am well on my way to completing a thesis. So really, it's just a matter of what's written on my degree when I leave- I'll have done all the same work, either way. My question is, how do I pick??? IS there a preference for one or the other among employers? Or is it just dependent on if there's a thesis completed? ANY ADVICE IS WELCOME!!!

Offline Alpha-Omega

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Re: Confused about Master's Degree
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2008, 04:16:07 PM »
If you want to be seriously considered for a job in pharm/industry go for the M.S....far stronger degree..

Trust me..my boss only hires M.S. for anyting interesting...

Offline enahs

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Re: Confused about Master's Degree
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2008, 07:45:09 PM »
You want the MS.

Did somebody tell you that? Or are you looking at a written guideline? As that could be a typo; MS without thesis and MA with thesis.

Your school is crazy. Mind if I ask what school you go to?


Offline Alpha-Omega

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Re: Confused about Master's Degree
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2008, 08:19:18 PM »
M.S. with thesis strong degree...

And I do know how degrees are looked at in industry..and I have seen frowns on faces of those who are looking at a resume containing an M.A>...all you have to  do is look at the coursework requirements for an M.A. in CHEMISTRY...and compare them to an M.S.

SURE I went to NEIU, DePaul University and TAMU..all of my degrees are ACS, AIC, and APS Certified.  OH and all the Honors Societies and Awards I have earned...want those too????

Sorry, i am not insecure....and only the most insecure people send you communications with half a page full of credntials...

Ain't Braggin if you can back it up.....and if you do well...meaning you KNOW YOUR SUBJECT(s)then..you do not have to ADVERTISE..it hines thru in your performance...your performace shows what you know...

FYI:  I never ever ever even give out my business cards...you think I am crazy...I do not want all those people calling me 24/7 asking me for *delete me*!!!!

PROBLEM??  I am not going to DANCE WITH YOU!!!!!

BACK IT UP????...SURE THING...go to the ACS website and do some searching....do some research on what degrees hold more PUNCH....go to the APS Link...do some research....

ACS Link:

http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content

APS Link:

http://www.aps.org/

PEACE OUT....

Offline Mitch

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Re: Confused about Master's Degree
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2008, 09:42:56 PM »
Alpha-Omega: Too much coffee?
« Last Edit: January 17, 2012, 10:53:20 AM by Arkcon »
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Offline Alpha-Omega

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Re: Confused about Master's Degree
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2008, 09:52:09 PM »
My school is crazy!!!!  What...are you kidding me....and MS...what...too much coffee...OH no I never touch the stuff poison....

If you want to advance in industry....if you want to advance in science...MS...I have personally heard so many people...OK my boss included...actually had me look at the last 3 resumes came across his desk...surprised me too...one guy PhD with 23 patents...I mean over qualified to the max...

Other candidate M.A....no thesis...Other Candidate M.S. Chemical Education w/thesis....so who got the 80K position...You betchya...the M.S. in Chemical Education w/thesis...and who got the 2,000.00 bonus for recommending her...you guessed right....

So ...since I know for a fact that this M.S. in Chemical Education w/thesis opted out of finishing her PhD...and I also know for a fact she is in an upwardly mobile position....I would say her degree...has pushed her right on up the ladder..

OH I know where the M.A. wound up...because I personally know the recruiter who plced him....he is answering phones and taking orders at Fisher.....so

Offline Narumi

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Re: Confused about Master's Degree
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2008, 02:42:11 PM »
Well thanks, I'm definitely getting the vibe to go for MS. But at my school the MS isn't with thesis! There's an option to submit a 'write-up in lieu of thesis' which I would of course do, but I'm still worried that I should have the official thesis degree.

I agree with yall, my school is seriously screwed up in handling the Chem Grad program. I can definitely say without a doubt we will be falling out of the top ten SOON if they don't fix these flaws. In my division, five of the six PhD students I entered with are leaving with a Master's.... (So no, I probably shouldn't say which school I'm at!) ::)

Offline SM30

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Re: Confused about Master's Degree
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2008, 03:02:13 PM »
Give us a number then! I'm applying for schools now and it doesnt sound like I want to end up where you are.

Offline Narumi

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Re: Confused about Master's Degree
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2008, 03:43:22 PM »
Let's just leave it as a southern school... PM if you're worried about it being one on your list.

Offline Alpha-Omega

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Re: Confused about Master's Degree
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2008, 06:49:33 PM »
My cousin did in liu of writing thesis...has good job at Pfizer....her other company paid for her MS...so she worked there got paid...they paid her tuition and now she has MS...with presentation...not like a thesis..mine is a thesis..

And now she makes 70K at Pfizer...she is doing OK

Offline macman104

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Re: Confused about Master's Degree
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2008, 06:05:24 PM »
What made the M.S candidate with the thesis more favorable than the Ph.D candidate?  Doesn't a Ph.D also entail a thesis/dissertation?

Offline Alpha-Omega

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Re: Confused about Master's Degree
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2008, 06:26:34 PM »
What do you mean by more favorable?  They are just different...

M.S Thesis is DIRECTED Research PhD thesis is INDEPENDENT Research...both degrees require the same coursework..Ordinarily, if one has an M.S. one can test out of almost all the PhD coursework..and go dirctly to the research.

If you do an M.S. w/thesis and a PhD you will do 2 theses.  Some people look at M.S. w/thesis as a good safety net.  If you do not finish a PhD...same salary rate...NO LOSS.  You can always finish the PhD later if for some reasonit must be put off.

These days most people interested in puruing a PhD will bypass the M.S..  If one is in a PhD program and does not complete it...there are options to finish with an M.S.

There are 3 M.S. programs I am aware of:  Coursework, Thesis, and Project without thesis.  I have 2 friends who did Project without thesis...but identical work to producing a thesis.  Both make same salaries as PhDs in the companies they work for.

Additionally, most compaanies offer educational incentives for their employees to complete M.S> and PhD within the company framework.  My cousin did her M.S. that way 100% paid for by her company.

I am sure there are many differnt points of view....no right or wrong...all depends on the individual situation.

Offline macman104

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Re: Confused about Master's Degree
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2008, 07:19:27 PM »
What do you mean by more favorable?  They are just different...
Oh, sorry, you made it seem like for some reason the Ph.D candidate having a Ph.D was less favorable for the position than the M.S. candidate.  I read your "story" as saying that an M.S was better, which is where my confusion came from.
Quote
M.S Thesis is DIRECTED Research PhD thesis is INDEPENDENT Research...both degrees require the same coursework..Ordinarily, if one has an M.S. one can test out of almost all the PhD coursework..and go dirctly to the research.
Ah ok, I wasn't aware of that distinction.
Quote
If you do an M.S. w/thesis and a PhD you will do 2 theses.  Some people look at M.S. w/thesis as a good safety net.  If you do not finish a PhD...same salary rate...NO LOSS.  You can always finish the PhD later if for some reasonit must be put off.
So some people enter grad school declared as a M.S and then after that get a Ph.D?
Quote
These days most people interested in puruing a PhD will bypass the M.S..  If one is in a PhD program and does not complete it...there are options to finish with an M.S.
Yea, that's what my understanding of how things were usually done was (this is what I'm planning on doing for grad school).
Quote
There are 3 M.S. programs I am aware of:  Coursework, Thesis, and Project without thesis.  I have 2 friends who did Project without thesis...but identical work to producing a thesis.  Both make same salaries as PhDs in the companies they work for.
Fair enough.  That's sort of what a Professor of a grad school told me.  If I was getting a PhD because I wanted a bigger salary, that I probably was getting it for the wrong reasons.
Quote
Additionally, most compaanies offer educational incentives for their employees to complete M.S> and PhD within the company framework.  My cousin did her M.S. that way 100% paid for by her company.
Interesting.  Is this common?  So, when she was working for them, how did she balance her time for the degree and her job?  That seems like it would be difficult...  'preciate the info, I'll be graduating next year, so I'm starting to look into the whole grad school process/deal.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2012, 10:53:43 AM by Arkcon »

Offline Alpha-Omega

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Re: Confused about Master's Degree
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2008, 04:43:32 AM »
Oh, sorry, you made it seem like for some reason the Ph.D candidate having a Ph.D was less favorable for the position than the M.S. candidate.  I read your "story" as saying that an M.S was better, which is where my confusion came from.

NO...neither  is better or worse...it depends on what you want to do.  The M.S.w/Thesis is a stronger degerr than a coursework M.S. Because it involves a research you must defend in front of a committee. Maybe they pass you maybe they don't...it is a defense.

Ah ok, I wasn't aware of that distinction.

That is how they are defined....I do not really see the difference...but that all depends on how independent you are...It has been my experience and for most I know...that there is NOT as much interaction with you research advisor in the PhD program....You pick your project and you do it...basically you are on your own...

I chose the school wher I did my M.S. BECAUSE of its phiosophy regarding the M.S....that school does not have a PhD program and they do NOT intend to implement one (let me be very specific you can get a PhD there if it is in THEOLOGY and you intend to eneter the priesthood)...it is known to specialize in the M.S. and its program is geared to assisting the working student with their puruit of an M.S..  Meaning, they will do everything in their power to assist you in finishing/completing if you work.  That means the classes are offered with great frequency-QUARTERLY....(and I love the Quarter System) and there are many sections at various times of day/evening.

So some people enter grad school declared as a M.S and then after that get a Ph.D?

Sure all the time.  I did.  With an M.S. you are considered to be a strong candidate.  In fact, you have already completed the same coursework that is core to the PhD.  Most professors look at you as a good investment-they feel you can accelerate quickly...can begin your reasearch quickly...do not have to spend time taking coursework; since, you have completed it.

Yea, that's what my understanding of how things were usually done was (this is what I'm planning on doing for grad school).

Most people do that.  Afterall, if you do not get the PhD they will give you the M.S. assuming you did the coursework and went the distance.  Distance...meaning all the way to the defense...there are many horror stories I could tell you about grad school and the PhD program...like one woman I know whose advisor never reviewed her work...just let her go right into that defense with no support...she was not passed left with an M.S.....Another student I know had to have emerrgency surgery to remove a polynoidal cyst from the base of her spine...when he was out recovering for more than 1 week his advisor filled his file with negatives...he wound up switching advisors....NOT A GOOD IDEA TO DO THAT OFTEN (makes you look like you are flailing-cannot stick with a project)....That was not the case here he did graduate with the M.S....but things happen you cannot predict...there are alot of games played in academia....some are very political...On the other hand, pursuing the PhD can be very rewarding and a good experience-Be very careful when picking an advisor...make sure he/she will support you.

Fair enough.  That's sort of what a Professor of a grad school told me.  If I was getting a PhD because I wanted a bigger salary, that I probably was getting it for the wrong reasons.

HA HA ....Smart professor there...listen to him/her....do not get a PhD thinking you will be a millionaire...now you sound like my cousin...she is all about the money...she has an M.S. and makes the same as the PhDs in her company...no salary differenece there....You will make the money from your company based on what you do for them....But, ther are cases wher ther are salary differences...depends on what you are doing and the structure of the campany...

Right now I have a friend with an M.S. at my company...her base is 80K and she gets 15% profit sharing twice a year- and employee stock purchasing-(discount on stock) + incentives...incentives are big... makes more than some PhDs...and look at the company profiles...you can clearly see that some VPs...are makeing 250K base and I am teling you they do NOT even have an M.S..  My direct supervisor makes 185K + a year has a B.S.....So you go figure...

Interesting.  Is this common?  So, when she was working for them, how did she balance her time for the degree and her job?  That seems like it would be difficult...  'preciate the info, I'll be graduating next year, so I'm starting to look into the whole grad school process/deal.

YES...it is very common...and if you want the degeree you make the time.  You know the M.S. coursework is not really that difficult-assuming you did well undergrad.  It is a reitteration of everything you learned in your B.S.plus more.  There are many people who finish therir PhDs within the framework of their company...esp in pharma....you do your research while working...the company OWNS that work...I know some people who have done this in food science as well.  Check what the campanies offer.  Why not you are solving a problem for thwm and you get you PhD...works out for both of you...You get your PhD and they get one too...or M.S. same thing..

One of the companies I just interviewed with really pushed that as a proactive benefit....and they gave 100% tuition reimbursement...where I am now it is 95%....so ddepends..Oh tuition reimbursement is usually grade dependent....if you get an A get between 90-100%, etc....some companies have riders wher they expect you to stay with them...

There are even companies that currently offer educational assistance to undergrads to get them into their conpanies.  Eli-Lilly just opened such a program in PR.


I can tell you one thing...I love X-ray analysis.  that is my favorite area of analysis.  I know tah most companies that do X-ray are going to pursue a PhD to do their XRD 9X-ray diffraction).  I have heard them STATE-they do this because they "want that linear thinking."  They want someone who has done that and just that-dedicated years to XRD...Now, most people running XRD are doing method development...so that is one perspective.

There are many different points of view and perspectives...you have to find your comfort zone...and your own perspective....
« Last Edit: January 29, 2008, 11:35:08 PM by mebecker1 »

Offline macman104

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Re: Confused about Master's Degree
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2008, 03:57:43 PM »
Thanks so much for the info, helped alot!

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