What are the differences between Masters degree and PhD?

I always thought that you must first to obtain a Bachelors degree, then a Masters and then a PhD, is this not right? Can you do your PhD degree before your Masters? What are the benefits to each academic degree, and which order should a person complete them? I’m about to graduate with my Bachelor’s in business administration and economics, and I eventualy want to be a college professor, how should I go about this?

3 Answers


  1. The basic difference between a Masters and a PhD is the amount of time it takes to complete your degree program. A Master’s degree can be completed in 2 years if you are attending school full time, while a PhD degree can last anywhere between 5 and 9 years.

    A PhD degree program is more competitive than a Masters simply because it requires a greater amount of work and time to complete.

    At the same time, doctorate degree programs are typically more expensive than a masters programs, and receive a greater amount of financial aid.

    Kamilla Kamilla
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  1. University and college professors typically earn a PhD in the subject that they teach before taking on college level courses, but there are some educational institutions which do hire professors with a master’s degree in the subject which they teach.

    Nik88 Nik88
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  1. With Master’s degree you can teach:

    • Public or private High School, full-time;
    • Community Colleges, full or part-time;
    • College or University, mostly part-time and rarely, full-time.

    Mostly teaching freshman and sophomores.

    With PhD degree you can teach:

    Full-time, Tenure-Track faculty at a College or University. Undergrad and grad courses, often in field related to specialty.

    Coursework in business administration for Master’s programs:

    • 1-2 years coursework;
    • 2 years average time to completion (Ranges 1-3 yrs).

    Coursework in business administration for PhD programs:

    • About 2 years coursework with MA;
    • About 3-4 years coursework without MA;
    • 7 years national average time to completion (Ranges 3-10+ years).

    Funding opportunities for Master’s programs:

    • MA (in depts. w/o PhD);
    • Tuition remission;
    • TA position;
    • Federal student loans (subsidized and unsubsidized).

    MA students in programs that also offer the PhD rarely get tuition or TA positions.

    Funding opportunities for PhD programs:

    • Tuition remission;
    • Stipend/Fellowship;
    • TA position;
    • Federal student loans (subsidized and unsubsidized).
    irenehoek irenehoek
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