View Poll Results: Which option

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  • Master's first?

    14 77.78%
  • Bring on the PhD!

    4 22.22%
  • A few classes before jumping to the doctorate.

    0 0%
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Thread: PhD without a Masters

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    PhD without a Masters

    The other thread got me thinking. I know of several secular universities that do not require a Master's degree to get into their PhD program. Rice University does this for example.

    If someone was to get a B.Div degree, would you recommend getting a Master's, go straight to PhD, or only take a few courses at the Master's level to strengthen some educational deficiencies?

    The scenario does not apply to me, so no personal advice is needed. Just a curiosity question I have.

  2. #2
    I guess just get whatever you need for whatever position you need to fill. Those degrees are just the official witness of others that you have read and understood the specified material according to their best measure. From my experience in college and from what I have heard from some that have gone on to higher degrees than I have you actually learn the most from private study anyway. So no matter what degree you have you should always keep up at the library or bookstore. So, I would say get whatever paper signed you need signed to prove you studied and can be trusted to deal with the topic in an accurate manner to get the job you want because as far as learning goes that started a long time ago, never stops and is self driven anyway.

    David Doss
    First Baptist Church of Colleyville Texas (SBC)
    LBCF 1689

  3. #3
    Actually, its not that the Phd program doesn't require a master's degree, it's that the program couples the Master's degree with the Phd, so while you are working towards a Phd you obtain your Masters in passing. This is what many programs do that do not offer a terminal Master's degree. After a certain amount of credits you are awarded your Masters, but then you go on to take your comprehensive exams to move on to write your dissertation and obtain your Phd. So, you don't need a Masters to get into a Phd program since you obtain one through the Phd program.

    I think its better this way if you KNOW you want to get a Phd, since it allows you to build relationships with your professors over a 5 year time span, rather than getting a terminal Masters degree from one school after a year and a half and then transferring to another school to get a Phd.

    -----Added 12/4/2009 at 03:42:08 EST-----

    If you are not sure whether or not you want the Phd, getting a terminal Masters degree would be a good way to test the waters to see if the Phd is for you. However, even if you are in a Phd program and decide, once you've completed your credits for a Masters, to leave the program, you can do so (although people in the department may not be too thrilled of your decision).
    Last edited by Simply_Nikki; 12-04-2009 at 05:13 PM.
    Nikki Edmond
    Desert Springs Presbyterian Church (PCA)
    Tucson, AZ

    Principle and Practice Blog
    Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

  4. #4
    A lot depends upon the university. Princeton University, for example, admits people directly to their PhD program. Once all the requirements for the degree are completed except the dissertation, they grant a Masters. After an adequate defense of your dissertation, the PhD is granted.

    Other universities make a big deal of obtaining a Masterís first, and may not count an MDiv, as it is not considered a research degree. However, I was once advised by a professor, take a few graduate courses as a special student to show your ability, then petition to be admitted directly to the PhD program.

    My son in law just completed his PhD at a state university. He was first admitted to the Masterís program; but, half-way through, having demonstrated his competency, asked to go directly into the PhD program and was allowed to do so.
    Glenn Ferrell
    Member of Presbytery of the Northern California and Nevada (OPC)
    Pastor, First Orthodox Presbyterian Church of San Francisco

    Nec Tamen Consumebatur

    The duty of magistrates...extends to both tables of the law, ... those laws are absurd which disregard the rights of God, and consult only for men.
    - Calvin, Institutes, IV:20:9

  5. #5
    I've wondered about this. My current degree is a BA-TH. However, it's only that because I didn't have the prerequisite credits to "earn" a M-DIV. I took the same work load, plus about 10 hours because I wanted to, did fine on my grades, but it's still "only" a BA. I could finish my previous BA and they'd change it, but it's not important enough to me. However, what if I want to further my education now? Even though I've completed the master's level work, would I have to go back in order to go forward? Academia...
    For the Glory of our King,
    Joe Johnson
    Slave of Christ, husband, father, grandfather and TMS graduate. Personal website -
    I do not know, and I do not say, that a person cannot believe in Revelation and in evolution, too, for a man may believe that which is infinitely wise and also that which is only asinine. ~ CHS

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    "My current degree is a BA-TH." <-- Those are awesome initials!
    Reformed Baptist

    My blog: Middle of the Narrow Way

  7. #7
    As I said in the other thread, get as much education as you can. I would be wary of taking shortcuts. Yes, it's longer and more expensive, but the years spent studying are never regretted.
    Wes Bredenhof, Th.D.
    Pastor, Free Reformed Church
    Launceston, Tasmania, Australia


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