Going From a Bachelor's to a Ph.D. Program

by Maria OCadiz

The financial meltdown of the 2000s and the resulting recession caused an increase in the number of graduate school applications, according to Eden Stiffman in The Hill. Advanced degrees, such as master’s and doctoral degrees, have displaced bachelor’s degrees as the entry-level requirement for many professional positions. Many institutions allow students to apply for a Ph.D. program after completing an undergraduate program.

Conditions for Admission

Schools that admit bachelor's degree graduates directly into Ph.D. programs advise students to not undertake full-time master’s courses. You should prove that you are keen and enthusiastic for a Ph.D. program to convince your desired college to accept your application. You also need good GPA and GRE scores of 3.5 and 90th percentile, respectively, which are the common benchmarks for admission into many Ph.D. programs. Show the admission committee that you have the talent and enthusiasm to conduct research by producing admissions essays that efficiently address certain research topics.


A Ph.D. program increases your chances of getting more funding, such as scholarships, grants or fellowships, than a master’s program. Most schools recognize the longevity of Ph.D. programs, which require huge amounts of funds. Some schools may also award you a master’s degree upon your candidacy in a Ph.D. program or require you to take few additional credits of coursework, which is often less than the course content you would tackle when seeking a master’s degree only. Such awards builds a strong academic foundation for your Ph.D., such as enlightening you in conducting research.


Going straight to a Ph.D. program after completing your undergraduate degree is best if you wish to go into a highly competitive career, which requires you to possess top qualifications. It also helps further your ambitions of teaching in a university as a professor or working in a research-intensive career. Getting a Ph.D. brings you closer to realizing such a dream, as opposed to a master’s degree course.


Job seekers who hold a Ph.D. and no master’s degree are at a disadvantage when seeking highly competitive jobs alongside Ph.D. holders who have a master’s degree, according to Professor Peter Frederick, a research professor at the University of Florida. Ph.D. and master's degree holders often have a more decorated CV and experience, giving them an edge in a competitive job market. Skipping a master’s degree course will also cost you time in selecting an appropriate research topic, which could take one or two years.

Photo Credits

  • Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images