M.S. (Master of Science)
- 1-2 years
- Coursework in field of interest
- Requires thesis and thesis defense (or preliminary exam, if continuing on toward Ph.D.)
- Selection and performance of original research
- Timely progress and completion reports on their research findings as required by the major professor or funding agency.
- One or more manuscripts suitable for submission to a refereed scientific journal.
- May be terminal (i.e., can’t continue same studies toward a Ph.D.), or may be awarded immediately prior to starting a relevant Ph.D. program.
Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
- Highest earned academic degree
- 5 years, on average (if includes M.S. or equivalent experience)
- May or may not be combined with an M.S. degree
- Requires conducting original research, some of which will be published in a scientific journal.
- Trains you to be a scholar and researcher.
- Requires a written dissertation and an oral defense of the dissertation.
- Required for a career as a university professor, high-level researcher, etc.
- Teaching experience may be required by serving as a graduate teaching assistant for undergraduate courses in the same department or school.