Apply for PhD without Masters or MS in USA

Can you do PhD without Masters in US ? Directly PhD after B.Tech or B.S in USA ?

In Study in USA by KumarUpdated : 103 Comments

I have seen many students asking questions in forums about questions like :

  • Can I do PhD without MS in USA ?
  • Do I need to have Masters for Ph.D admission ?
  • Can we apply for PhD right after or B.S ?
  • Will I get PhD admission with full funding without MS or Masters?
  • Do I need to take GRE and GMAT to apply for PhD program ?

I will try to address few questions related to PhD admissions in this article.

Directly Apply for PhD after B.Tech ? No MS or Masters for PhD Admission ?

Apply for PhD without Masters or MS in USAShort answer, for the most part, YES you can, but there are always few exceptions! There is lot of confusing among students that you need to have Masters or have done MS for applying to PhD. But, the reality is it is in fact a good idea to apply for PhD directly after or Bachelors degree.  I will explain the advantages. For now, you may check the below links of Universities for validation that you can apply for PhD without having Masters degree.

What do Schools look for PhD Admission directly after B.Tech or B.S ?

In fact, getting into PhD can be very competitive just with Bachelors degree. Because you have not taken any advanced level classes or have not done any significant thesis or journal publications, there are few things that schools really look for. Few of these are listed below :

  • Excellent GPA
  • Good recommendation letters
  • Very good GRE score. TOEFL is also required for international students.
  • For international students, having Electives in the related research area in the final year of Bachelors or in general having advanced coursework in the research area.
  • An outstanding Statement of Purpose (SOP) describing your research interests and future plans for research and professional goals.
  • Subjective GRE Test related to your area. This is mandatory for some schools, but most schools recommend it. Having a good subjective GRE Test score proves that you are technically competent for PhD if you have no research experience.
  • Research paper publications, Conference publications or any journal publications. If you have done any Technical projects with your professor or your final year project can also help.

Major in two research areas or extra course work related to Research area Advantages for PhD:

Some of you may be thinking about like, what a Major is ?  I did not know until I got to US. Anyways, a Major is your concentration or focus of education in your Bachelors.  One can have two major and it is called double major and if you have 3 majors then triple major…. You will need to take additional classes to get double or triple major.  Now that you know what a major is, one of the additional important thing for PhD admission is, if you have technical knowledge in the form of an additional major or if you have taken extra classes that can help you with research for a particular PhD degree, you will have preference for PhD admission.  Let me explain with an example. Let’s say you are applying for PhD in Economics. If you do not know, PhD in Economics has lot of Mathematics involved and they expect you to have significant coursework or knowledge with Advanced Mathematics. Imagine you have a Bachelors degree with Mathematics and Economics Majors, then you have higher chances of admission.   Because, you have Mathematics in addition to just having Economics that is helpful for PhD admission. The committee judges you based on your Economics and Mathematical capabilities.

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Comments ( 103 )

  1. Bhawna

    Good morning sir,
    Sir actually I am pursuing right now and I am planning to go to Usa for my Phd. Since it is a 3 year course rather than a 4 year one hence some universities don’t accept it. Is it possible to get admission if I do a one year Pg diploma course in clinical research instead of a Masters degree. The diploma course in research will not only give me a in depth understanding of researches but will also save my year. I therefore request you to resolve my query. It would be very helpful. And also since I will have ample of time during my final year of graduation and I am thinking of doing the diploma course side my side will it be valid in USA.

    1. administrator

      Unfortunately, I cannot say, if it will be sufficient. You need to check with the school you plan to apply. Reach out to few of them and get suggestions before you do anything.

  2. Vivek

    I completed my BSc with Hons. In 3 years instead of 4 years now am I eligible for direct PhD in USA as well as In Europe?
    Please help…

    1. administrator

      It maybe hard in US, unless you are going to get an MBA or PhD in business area…I cannot say about europe.
      The best thing to do is to reach out to schools and get their opinion, as they can consider exceptions.

  3. Maria Ahmed

    No comment but i wanted to ask something I graduated by poltical sinces before 3 years by degree and can I do know i would like to do my PHD so with out doing my masters is it possible to do that?

    1. administrator

      Yes, you maybe able to do that. You need to find schools that offer such program. You can reach out to the schools and clarify.

  4. Shobha Deepak

    Hi Kumar,

    I have done BE in Computer Science Engineering. Currently living in California, working as IT Consultant in US based company. I have 10+ years of experience building software applications.

    Can I do PhD without doing master. If yes, would you please share more details about it.

    1. administrator

      You can go for it. But, it is always up to the school, they may ask you to do some prerequisite courses and Masters level courses to be eligible. Sometimes, they will ask you to take a comprehensive exam as well after you complete such courses to qualify for PhD. So, it all depends on the school. I suggest you check with the schools you plan to apply on the options you have in that school.

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  6. sarbesh chaudhary

    myself sarbesh chaudhary , i have secured just Second division marks in my B.E in E&C from VTU, bangalore, +2 as well as in SLC…i have few questions
    1. will i be eligible for PHd course?.
    2.Does Good GRE & TOEFL scores can be helpful for me to get admission for PHd program or not?.
    3.Is there any age limits?
    Plz help me out. Thanks in advance.

  7. Mathew

    May I request you to kindly share some advice about getting into Overseas study with full scholarship for women graduate in Electronics and Telecommunication engineering . Please share some websites or universities where we can apply / write directly…. pls

    1. administrator

      We do not really assist with list of Universities, etc. You will need to do your own research and find scholarships.

  8. Anurag Pawar

    Please guide us about MS plus Phd program (in Information technology/Comp Sci.). Is it really helpful ? What are the advantages and disadvantages of it ? what are the requirements ?

    1. administrator

      It maybe helpful, especially in situations, where you realize after 2 years that you do not want to do PhD. The requirements are normal like any other PhD admission…not all schools offer this program, you will need to do your research and figure out.

  9. Prisha

    Hi Kumar,

    I recently completed my MMath (3 yrs of bachelors + 1 yr of masters) degree in the UK. My overall result is 73% but I got lower than average mark on my master’s project. I really want to apply for a PhD specially in the US because I prefer the PhD course structure there. I have booked for my GRE and I am currently working on my personal statement. What are my chances of being accepted in a PhD programme in the US? And do they give more priority to home students? I am a UK citizen.

    1. administrator

      PhD admission depends on many factors and the school you plan to apply to. It is hard to answer such questions. All I can suggest is to have good scores and have a compelling SOP for getting admission. The admission team has to believe that you are passionate about PhD and you can continue with your capability, so your application has to reflect that. No, there is no priority as such…it goes by merit.

        1. administrator

          Yes, it is possible…they may be few, but definitely possible. You need to work with the schools that offer such programs

      1. Aastha Awasthi

        I have completed my graduation in forensic science ( B.Sc in forensic sci, chemistry and bio technology) and pursuing bachelor in law … Can i get admission for phd in forensic science or criminology without giving Gre or TOEFL

        1. administrator

          Yes, you can. No, you need GRE and TOEFL, most of the good schools need that…Also, they are important for visa interview too.

  10. Razia


    after doing my MS..i would like take up my how much GPA i need to maintain in my MS??and how much time it takes to complete PHD after doing MS???

  11. Manjuprasad

    Sir,I am 2011 passed out B.E graduate, i have registered to Ph.D. in VTU in 2012, ie. based on the Research Experience of 1 year(2011-2012). So i just wanted to know that whether I am eligible for Teaching for B.E/MCA.

  12. Bharat Ketkar

    1) in your opinion 2000 usd is sufficient for living there,if I’ll go along with my wife. – YES
    2) what is the average duration for phd completion in usa for indian student. – 5 to 7 YRS
    3) is part time job is permissible for spouse? – YES
    please reply as soon as possible.thank you

  13. arun pratap singh

    Arun,sir i have completed in digital communication with 85%.and have 7 research papers,with 3 year teaching experience as a assistant professor .currently preparing for gre.i have few queries:
    1) in your opinion 2000 usd is sufficient for living there,if I’ll go along with my wife.
    2) what is the average duration for phd completion in usa for indian student.
    3) is part time job is permissible for spouse?
    4) what is role of guide during phd course,are they helpful or sadistic ?
    please reply as soon as possible.thank you

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