How To Get a PhD/Masters Degree and How Long Does it Take

How To Get a PhD? Are you in need of a master’s to get a Ph.D.? Most often than not, you do. It is apparent that if you want to apply for a Ph.D., especially in most European nations, you must get a Master’s degree first.

Here, a wide range of studies across the world will b discussed with the sole intention of finding out if you need a master’s to get a Ph.D.


What is a PhD?

Ph.D., or Doctor of Philosophy, is an acronym of the Latin word Philosophiae doctor.
A Ph.D. degree often requires students to perform unique and significant studies on a certain topic or subject before writing a thesis worthy of publication.

Moreover, while some Doctorates have taught components, Ph.D. candidates are virtually always evaluated on the quality and originality of the argument given in their independent research project.


Do You Need a Masters to Get a PhD?

As mentioned earlier, in most cases, you need a master’s to get a Ph.D. However, in the UK, if you hold a 2:2 aka Honors Bachelors of Science, you may be able to apply for a Ph.D.
Also, some universities, such as the University of Liverpool, even enable you to enroll in a Ph.D. program without having a Master’s degree.

Similarly, in Germany, there is also the option of a fast-track program leading to a Ph.D. This effectively implies that after completing your Bachelor’s degree, you may enroll in a one-year study program that will prepare you for your Ph.D. degree.

Furthermore, most Ph.D. programs in Canada, like those in Europe, require a Master’s degree. However, similar to Germany, they have a fast-track option that permits you to move to a Ph.D. after only one year of Master’s if your degree is of the M.Sc. kind.

Likewise, Australia is to the United Kingdom. In general, a Master of Research is required to apply to a Ph.D. program. However, if you have a Bachelor’s degree with Honors or a double degree, you may still be considered for a Ph.D.
The United States, on the other hand, is a notable exception.

It is extremely rare for students to pursue a Masters’s degree before pursuing a Ph.D. This is because this is not a rigorous requirement at American colleges.

Moreover, indeed, Ph.D. programs in the United States often endure 6 to 8 years, but those in the European Union are supposed to last 3-4 years.


Reasons You Should Have Your Masters Before Going For PhD

1. A Master’s degree allows you to determine whether you’re ready for a Ph.D.

Typically, during an undergraduate degree, you will study general areas of your chosen field and will only somewhat specialize during your final thesis or graduation project.

Even if you are drawn to a certain academic topic or job route, you won’t know whether it is truly for you until you immerse yourself in it.

Given that a Ph.D. without a Master’s degree demands around 6 years of dedication, wouldn’t it be preferable to be certain?

Also, a Master’s degree will introduce you to the graduate study process, which is more sophisticated than undergraduate degrees. Having the correct study pattern, motivation, and even time management skills during your Master’s degree will be the most important indicators that you are ready for a Ph.D.


2. A Ph.D. will earn you more job opportunities than a Master’s degree

You are just one or two years older than a BA holder if you have a Master’s degree, but you will have far more experience than you can apply in your Ph.D. dissertation. And universities are no exception.

Furthermore, it is a well-known truth that graduate schools prefer candidates with a Master’s degree, even when a Master’s degree is not required.


3. A Master’s degree is the sole method to obtain a Ph.D. in a new discipline

It makes no difference where you want to pursue a Ph.D.; if you don’t have the necessary academic experience in a related subject area, your chances of being admitted to a Ph.D. are little to none.

So, if you want to change occupations and pursue a subject at the Ph.D. level, you’ll need to enroll in a graduate school to get ready.
A Masters’s degree not only introduces you to your new topic of study, but it does it in a more specialized manner.


4. A Master’s degree can help you complete doctoral programs faster

In certain departments, graduate schools, and universities, obtaining a Master’s degree entails more than just devoting two more years to your studies.

On the contrary, it may buy you some time. You may be able to transfer some of your Master’s credits toward a Ph.D., particularly in the United States and Canada, but not always. This can result in a significant reduction in the amount of time you spend obtaining your Ph.D.


Disadvantages of Applying to a PhD without A Masters

Below are some disadvantages of applying for a Ph.D. without a master’s degree ;

Although a Master’s degree adds a year to your academic path, it may be extremely beneficial to your growth and can assist prepare you for a Ph.D. degree.

Your lack of a Master’s degree may be an impediment throughout the application process. This is because many other students will apply to the same research programs, and the majority will most likely have a Master’s degree. This will put you at a disadvantage in comparison to them.

Aside from that, the dissertation project you’ll be expected to complete as part of a Master’s program will give you a flavor of what it’s like to work on a research-based project.

Furthermore, you will most likely be allowed to choose your own dissertation topic.

As a result, you may go further into a particular topic of interest. This is an excellent method to ensure that both research-based work and the specific topic you’re interested in are a good fit for you before devoting the next several years to it through a Ph.D.

Another benefit of the dissertation project connected with a Master’s degree is the ability to collaborate closely with a project supervisor. This will help you understand the Ph.D. student-supervisor relationship and the appropriate communication frequency for you. When it comes time to locate a Ph.D. project to apply to, you may utilize this expertise to find supervisors that will complement you.


Universities Offering PhD Without a Masters

Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive list of universities that provide PhDs without a Master’s degree. This is due to the fact that edibility criteria range from Ph.D. to Ph.D. and department to department.

As a result, you must verify the criteria for each particular university as well as the prerequisites for each specific Ph.D. program in which you are interested.

If you locate a Ph.D. school that accepts applicants with a Bachelor’s degree, make every effort to make your application as excellent as possible. This is due to the fact that you will be competing against other candidates, the majority of whom will have a Master’s degree.

Also, you can boost your application not only by holding a Bachelor with First-Class Honors (1st) but by demonstrating the characteristics of a successful researcher. This involves demonstrating real enthusiasm for the project, a strong work ethic, and great communication skills.

A solid letter of recommendation from a recognized university instructor would also be extremely helpful. This is especially true if the instructor is also supervising his or her own Ph.D. students. This is due to the lecturer’s understanding of the abilities necessary for a competent research student.


How Long Is a Master’s Degree?

A master’s degree typically takes 1.5 to 2 years to complete for full-time students. However, there are other factors that might increase or decrease the time it takes from enrollment to graduation.

Students who take on a high course load, for example, may complete some master’s degree programs in as little as seven months, but part-time students in programs with numerous credit hours may take up to seven years to get their master’s degrees.


How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD?

A Ph.D. might take up to eight years to finish on average. A doctoral degree normally takes four to six years to finish, depending on the program design, the academic area you’re studying, and the school offering the program.

Furthermore, some forward-thinking universities, such as Franklin University, have shortened their Ph.D. degree programs and provided inventive transfer possibilities.

Students may receive their Ph.D. in as little as three years, thanks to the program’s design, which includes an integrated dissertation and a community of support.


The Difference Between A PhD And A Doctorate

The Ph.D., commonly known as the Doctor of Philosophy, is a research degree that is one of the most frequent forms of doctorate degrees and is granted to graduates from a wide range of disciplines.

The Ph.D. is “designed for individuals interested in developing new information through scientific research (i.e., putting up experiments, collecting data, applying statistical and analytical procedures) and obtaining teaching experience,” according to the American Psychological Association.

A doctorate is an umbrella word encompassing a variety of high-level academic degrees, including the Ph.D. When defining the distinctions between a Ph.D. and a doctorate, the true question should be, “What is the difference between a Ph.D. and an applied doctorate?”.

Again, the solution may be found in the program outcomes. The online Doctor of the Psychology program at UAGC includes objectives that place a strong emphasis on your ability to apply theory in a professional environment.

A doctoral degree is the most advanced degree you may obtain, indicating that you have mastered a particular field of study or career.

The degree necessitates a substantial amount of study and articulation. Those who receive the degree must have carefully examined a subject or issue, undertaken fresh research and analysis, and offered a novel interpretation or solution to the area.


How Many Years is a Doctorate Degree?

The answer depends on the path you choose. The degree takes between 60 and 120 semester credit hours (or, approximately 20-40 college classes). The majority of PhDs take the full 120 hours, although most applied doctorates are closer to the lower end of the spectrum. The DBA and DHA at Franklin, for example, both need only 58 hours.

A Ph.D. might take up to eight years to finish on average. A doctoral degree normally takes four to six years to finish, depending on the program design, the academic area you’re studying, and the school offering the program.


How To Get a PhD?

The order in which you complete your Ph.D. studies may differ depending on the university you choose. Below is an example of what a North-central University Ph.D. student will go through.


1. Earn an Undergraduate Degree

Obtaining an undergraduate degree is the first step toward obtaining a Ph.D. degree. Choose a bachelor’s degree program from a regionally approved university for the best start.

Undergraduate degrees normally take four years to complete; however, the time might vary based on the number of credits taken each semester.

Furthermore, you should strive for a high grade point average (GPA) and seek a degree that will prepare you for further courses and research in your subject of interest.


2. Earn a Master’s Degree

Your next step should be to enroll in a master’s degree program. A master’s degree focuses on a particular field of study or professional practice of practical and theoretical themes.

A master’s degree may take two years to finish, depending on your field of study and whether you pick an expedited program designed for working professionals.

Also, while your admittance into a master’s degree program will be based on your past academic performance, some schools and institutions may need you to take a graduate entrance test, such as:

  • Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)
  • Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

As a result, you should perform an extensive study to select the best institution or university for your educational ambitions. This includes understanding the admissions standards as well as the program and specialty options.

However, keep in mind that not all colleges demand graduate examinations as a prerequisite for admission. You should inquire about entrance criteria at the school of your choice and plan appropriately.


3. Complete a Doctorate Degree

After earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree, you are eligible to pursue a doctorate degree to further your understanding of research and theory in a certain subject or field of study.

First, conduct research to identify the Ph.D. degree program that best fits your interests in theory or practical research.

Then, begin your search for the ideal institution or university that suits your personal and professional interests.

As with your master’s degree, you’ll want to make sure you understand the admissions standards, as well as the programs and specialty options, before proceeding.

Once you’ve decided on the correct institution, work with admissions to begin the application process and get started on your degree!


Typical materials necessary for admission to a Ph.D. program may include, but are not limited to:

  • Transcripts (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • GRE or GMAT scores from the last several years
  • Letters of reference
  • Purpose statement
  • Bachelors Vs Masters
  • The number of credit hours required and the amount of topic concentration change between Bachelor’s degree and master’s degree programs.
  • You must first complete your Bachelor’s degree before you may pursue a master’s degree.
  • During your Bachelor’s degree program, which normally lasts four years, you study general education courses as well as a number of courses that are expressly related to your major.
  • Your master’s degree program focuses only on one field of study.


What Master’s Degree Should I Get?

Industries and enterprises are developing at an increasing rate. As a result, businesses are expecting more from their employees, including highly technical skills, critical thinking, and leadership ability.

Master’s degrees are becoming increasingly popular as company complexity grows.


Use this guide to help you choose the best master’s degree for you:

Step 1: Determine What You Want to Get from a Master’s Degree

Identifying your goals is the first step in locating the ideal master’s degree.

The first question you must answer is, “Why do I want to acquire a master’s degree in the first place?”.

Setting defined goals can assist you in narrowing down master’s degrees that fit your requirements.


Step 2: Decide What Kind of Master’s Degree You Want

When it comes to master’s degrees, there are two options. The first is the generalist path, which will help you develop your abilities and knowledge across several functions.

The second option is the specialized path, which will allow you to hone your technical abilities and knowledge in a certain functional area.

When deciding between these two types of master’s degrees, keep your long-term ambitions in mind.


Step 3: Investigate Possible Master’s Degree Programs

Now that you’ve decided on a master’s degree, you should consider your master’s program alternatives at several colleges. The majority of working professionals will pursue their master’s degrees online.

However, in order to select a high-quality online master’s program, you must first understand what to look for.

Here’s what you should know when you look at different online master’s degree programs:

Is the university up to the greatest level of academic excellence? Look for a university that is regionally approved and has a high graduation rate.

Is the master’s program’s curriculum in sync with industry best practices and developing trends? Look for master’s programs that analyze and improve their curriculum on a regular basis with input from industry experts and employers.

Will I have access to high-quality online learning? Look for colleges with a strong history of providing online education as well as a rigorous strategy for designing online courses.

Who will be instructing my master’s degree courses? Look for a master’s program with lecturers that have substantial practical experience applying principles to real-world settings.


Step 4: Selecting a Master’s Degree Program

Not all master’s degree programs are the same.

The university and program you select will have a significant influence on the skills, knowledge, and network you develop. It will also have an influence on your capacity to properly balance your educational, professional, and personal responsibilities.



Back to the question, do you need a master’s to get a Ph.D.? As mentioned above, it majorly depends on the institution in question. However, for the reasons highlighted above, it’s recommended that you get a master’s degree first before pursuing a Ph.D.

Olusanya Agbesanya

Sanya has been featured by more than 100 media outlets including The New York Times, The Economist, TIME, Forbes, Fortune, Outside, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and CNN. He has guest lectured in entrepreneurship at Princeton University since 2003.

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