MS vs PhD

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MS vs PhD

Postby Murari » Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:49 am

I am a graduate student doing my Masters in Bioinformatics currently. I am interested in working in the industry preferably in a research position. Is is better to search for jobs after my Masters or should I pursue a PhD degree?

MS vs PhD

Postby Dave Jensen » Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:22 pm

Hi Muran,

The decision to do a PhD should be made only after a very thorough evaluation process. It will be one of the single-most important questions of your career to date, because the decision impacts so much of your future career options.

Many people go on for the PhD because they realize that they love bench science, and that to do this in either an academic or industry career track means you need that degree level. Yes, you can still do science with the MS, and you may be very happy with those kinds of jobs. But, independent research work generally requires the PhD.

Its a big decision because it takes many years of your life and you are not guaranteed anything at the end. You'll have to work just as hard or harder on your job search at the end of the line, even after what might be another 4-5 years of work. Those are years of lost income, so you need to make sure that you can make this up later in your life.

I'd say that the decision is generally made more on personal issues than on advice that someone can give you in a forum. The field of bioinformatics is crowded. Have you spoken to hiring managers about where they place MS degree staff vs. PhD degree staff?

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MS vs PhD

Postby Murari » Fri Nov 05, 2004 3:02 am

Thanks for the reply Dave.

I guess you are right about the fact that it is one of the most important career decisions that I will be making. But what I require is information to make that kind of decision.

Could you point me to some information sources which can help me decide. Independent research is not a key issue for me but research interests me and I wouldn't minding being a part of a team. I have no clue about the money issues of MS vs PhD but money is certainly an issue in the decision. Some people tell me there is a ceiling for MS people in that there is only so high that an MS can go, while with PhD there is no such ceiling. Some people tell me that there are not many jobs for MS grads in Bioinformatics while others say that with PhD your choice gets limited. Different people give different kinds of advice and that confuses me further more.

If you guys can help me with some advice and some sources of information, that would be great.

Thanks in advance,

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