Major Career Decision! What would you do?

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What would you do?

  1. Masters Program

  2. PhD Program

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. I'm currently faced with a bit of a dilemma. I'm trying to decide between getting my masters and my PhD. They are both in the same field (I would rather not say which one).

    Pros of the MA: Only takes two years, will not require relocation, I can eventually do similar work to people with PhD's, decent salary, the demand for people with MA's will continue to go up
    Cons of the MA: Expensive (anywhere between 20-50k depending on the school), I would have to take out loans

    Pros of the PhD: Full paid tuition plus stipend, Easier to find a job anywhere, Higher salary than if I had my masters alone, a whole lot more respected in the field than a MA
    Cons of the PhD: Will take 6 years, I would finish school at 30, requires relocation to another state, my SO would also have to relocate and take a pay cut (he is more than willing to though)

    Salary doesn't really play a role in my decision so that's why I posted it here instead of the money forum. What would you do if you were in my position? TIA!
  2. PhD program is my vote. It's fully paid for tuition and will benefit you more in the long run. The '6-years' and finishing school when you're 30 thing, I completely understand. I recently went back to uni to get a Masters and to try and get into Medicine. One of my biggest stumbling blocks was that after all that study, I'd be in my early thirties!! My mother said to me "Babe, young people worry about that stuff but it's actually not a bad thing. You might not get it yet, but the fact is, if all goes according to plan, you're going to turn 30 someday. Then 35. Then 40. You'll have been doing something all of that time - might as well be studying and pursuing your goals."

    It really helped to give me some perspective. When you're 23/24, you can't imagine being 30 and it sounds like SUCH a long time to study. But really, you have to do something and you're going to get to thirty eventually. So the length of time to study isn't really a 'con'. The move interstate is definitely a challenge, as is the transition for your SO, but I think if he is more than willing to do so, you should definitely embrace the opportunity.

    It's not an easy decision to make, took me about 4 months to get up the guts to completely change careers, enrol in a Masters program etc. But I can say 1.5 years later, I am just so happy I took the plunge when I did! Good luck!!!
  3. I voted Masters.. With the relocation and the pay cut in hubby's salary, it might end up costing the same as paying for the Masters degree. If the demand for ppl with a masters will be similar as that with the PhD degree, I think it might be better to get out of school earlier.

    I would only vote PhD if you don't mind being a student for 6 more years. Being in the workforce is tough, much tougher than being a PhD student(from my own experience). I often wish I could spend more time in my college days!
  4. I vote masters... Six more years is a long time (but then again, I'm coming from the perspective of someone who is 23, and can't imagine being in school another six years). Even in college I was tired of being a student... finished early and got a "real" job and I have never been happier.

    I think what it comes down to is how mentally prepared you are to commit to school for another six years. Personally I'd feel trapped, but I do have a lot of respect for people who know exactly what they want to do and are completely dedicated to their line of study.

    Once you get your MA, is it too late to decide to complete your PhD? If that's still an option in two years (and you can finish in another four), I'd definitely go with the Masters program.
  5. Thanks for the responses everyone! The 6 years is probably what it really comes down to. I always envisioned myself doing something fun in my 20's like joining the Peace Corps or living in another country for a while. My SO also wants to do the same thing and I feel that it's selfish for me to say "sorry, I'm planning to be in school until I'm 30". I also don't want to be an older mom, plus my SO is 4 years older than me. I had a job interview today for a position that would help me get into a PhD program but they want a two year commitment. So that's two years of low paying work then 6 years of school after that. With the MA it would only be one year of low paying work, then 2 years of school.

    The idea of being old and regretting wasting my prime years scares me. I never got the chance to study abroad in college due to my program requirements and it's been one of my major regrets since. I know the 30's are still "young" but once I have kids the chances of leaving the country for a couple of years shoots down to zero. But at the same time part of me wants the PhD for the reasons I listed in my OP. This is not an easy decision.
  6. I'd go for the PhD. Finishing at age 30 is young - I finished all my studies at 40 and even though I've never used my degrees for a job, I have never regretted it. Time spent learning is never wasted. :smile:
  7. Is there a way you can do the PhD part time and still work or do an accelerated PhD? If so I would do it but if not then the masters. Another 6 years is a veryy long time to be in school although it will be great once you have it.
  8. I think it completely depends on your attitude and perspective about scholarly life and academia. Some people are truly passionate about the process of learning and making new discoveries...they thrive in an academic environment and, for them, a PhD program would best meet their needs. If you do not have that special scholarly drive and passion, then you will probably not thrive in a PhD program. Just my 2 cents!
  9. Go for the PhD - it's either now or never imo based on what you've said.
  10. You mention a pay cut for your Husband, have you factored in cost of living? What is his stance on the situation? Also, have you applied to any programs yet?

    By the way, I totally understand your regret of not studying abroad. My major did not allow me to travel for a semester nor does my grad school major!

    Some schools allow you to apply your MA credits to the Phd and you are awarded both degrees.

    I would go for the PhD! Good Luck
  11. I vote PhD! You can survive with the pay cut anywhere outside of NYC. The prime now a days is 30's-40's. 20's is when your educating yourself and working towards your career & future. Cant you do PeaceCorps during the summer or winter sessions? Good Luck!
  12. I vote PhD.
  13. Go for the PhD. Without a doubt. It will take longer, but you will have no school loans. If you're done at 30 you'll be a lot further ahead than many people at that age.

    Plus, being a mom at over 30 is the norm these days, I wouldn't worry about that.
  14. #14 Feb 12, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2010
    For all those reasons I would chose getting the MA. I never really got to enjoy my 20s, because alot of the time I was struggling and stressed out with exams, papers, lab reports etc. I find working to be less stressful than school.