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. Pooja

    Hello Sir,
    I did my M.Sc. in Genomics from Madurai Kamaraj University, India. I looking for PhD positions in US. Presently I’m staying in Bethesda, US as my husband is postdoctoral fellow in NIH. I wanted to know whether I can get PhD in US without GRE and toefl score. If I joined some lab for training for atleast 6 month to one year there are possibilities to get PhD without these scores or after this also I need to write GRE and toefl

    1. Ravi Kiran Lokesh

      Miss/Mr. Nonya damn buiz

      Your English is no better.!!!! (First you guys need to learn to spell. Your English us horrible and definitely not at the PhD level.)
      CORRECTED version: (First you guys need to learn to spell. Your English IS horrible and definitely not at the PhD level.)
      Stop correcting grammar and answer to the point if you ever knew.!!!


      1. Bob Dee

        You suck! How could anyone respond to a respectful question in an uncivil manner like yours? She asked a simple question, and you responded very disrespectfully. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  2. drupad

    Hello there,
    I’m in 3rd semester mechanical engineering in gtu, gujarat, india. I’m wants to go abroad for further studies. I have heard that if I go abroad on student visa then it will be much costly which I don’t prefer. So I heard a solution that go abroad on work permits and then get admission in desired college.well I don’t know that it is possible or not but I request you to let me know all the advantage and disadvantages of this.i wants to go for masters so please give me some guidelines

  3. manideep

    this is manideep, i had completed my btech with 71% and took my gre with 295 can i apply phd directly with this score r do i retake my gre? plzzz suggest i am looking for a phd seat in university of arkansas or in university of akron

  4. Sam

    I have Ph.D. in biological field. I have a few journal publications and other reports about English language teaching and some English teaching career, including university levels. Whether any possibility to get Ph.D. (English language teaching field) directly without getting a doctor course in USA? If it is, would you introduce a way how I can do it, please.

  5. sakshi

    I have completed B.tec from GBTU with an aggregate of 80.60%.
    want to pursue Phd from a foreign university on the basis of bachelor’s degree.
    guide me way i should go to in an elaborated manner.

  6. komal

    hello i am doing masters in environmental engineering fromindia can i do phd in it in germany or i hav toapply for M.S what will b the cost for doing phd or masters there in germany

  7. mrudula

    Hello sir,

    I have done my engineering from JNTU university in 2009(i.e. B.E.Computer Enginnering). Having 3.4 years of experience as a software engineer in Hyderabad. Can i apply for PhD in any of the universities in US .
    What kind of efforts i need to do? IS GRE, TOFEL are mandatory one ? please reply me

  8. Vinny

    Hello Kumar,
    Thanks for starting this thread and helping us. I am in a big dilemma, out of passion a background process always run in my head and forces me to move for Phd. Let me put some light on my career. I was always an average student, but always craved for IIT but never got it. I did Bachelors and then Masters in Computer Applications(3+3) 6 yrs. Then worked in S/W MNC as a software developer in telecom domain in C language and worked on dev/maintainenece of L3 proctocols and IPSEC, tried to learn and implement in and out of their protocols and their algo’s. I have a keen interest to work on their algorithm’s(Like bellmanford (RIP protocol) etc ) i.e to evolve better algo from them. Not only this but also algo’s of IPSEC as well. Can you please clear my doubts and pull me out of dilemma. I came to know that applications for Phd are judged on following parameteres :
    i. Transcript – Grades and classes
    ii. GRE scores
    iii. Personal Statement
    iv. Previous research experience (possibly in industry).
    v. Recommendation letters
    vi. Awards and extracurricular activities

    Now I have few questions:
    Q1) I have not worked on research paper or haven’t submit any in my life. Then too can I apply??
    Q2)Nor I have any recoomendation letter, can I still apply??
    Q3)Is GRE manadatory??
    Q4) Academically GPA of 3.5 and above is best to apply in good universities(Checked from one of the university site)??,In India we don’t have GPA (used for % to gpa conversion), mine is 3.5 in masters, so is it good to go ??

    Thanks in advance,

  9. Anil

    Hi ,

    I have done BE Electronics (60.1%) 2007. I have been working with a reputed MNC for 6 Years and want to do a PhD in IT from any USA University.
    I have implemented very complex projects, what are my chances of getting a phd with scholarship.

    10th 82.8%, 12th 87.6%.

  10. Vivek

    Sir, I had completed my B.Tech in 2010 in Electronics and Communication Engineering from reputed National University with a CGPA of 7.90. Since then I had been working in a reputed Private University as a teaching faculty. I had been focusing in the area of embedded systems and VLSI . Hope to get a couple of conference papers before my admissions. I want to develop a research career in VLSI design. Should I go for a direct Ph.D or do MS and then go for Ph.D . What are my chances for a direct Ph.D admit ? I am planning to give GRE and TOEFL in the coming July.

  11. Rina

    Are research publications considered ? I have tried to complete 5 publications 3 of them being in International Journals . I am currently in my 2nd semester of MMS Mumbai university . What are my chances to get in , in top 20 schools ? Planning to do 5 more publications in the last year of my MMS …

  12. sonia

    i had done my maters in BIOMEDICAL TECHNOLOGY. working in a research institute on post of research assistant. i want to do PHD from US. i have some query..
    1. I need to do again masters from US or i can directly apply for PHD?
    2. After getting good GRE score they will provide fellowship or whats the criteria for fellowship.
    can u please send me all details from applying to GRE to getting admission in a good university. it would be great help for me…thanks u very much.


  13. samiran baroi

    I have complete my graduation in physics from Dhaka University. but my results is not good(50%)
    .now i want to change my subject. if i want to complete my postgraduate degree then what can i do.I need also information about funding. plz I need information

  14. jyo

    hi all,

    I did my M.Tech ( Software Engineering ) from a reputed college i scored 82% , i have 76% in my B.Tech (information technology) , i have 5 years teaching experience also now i wanted to do PhD in US. How should i proceed . please let me know the procedure .

  15. aarzoo

    Hi sir,
    I did MBA(Private) and BA(Private) and Diploma in IT from india.
    I wanted to know that am i eligible for PhD or MS in USA and which course is beneficial for me.
    and please suggest me GRE min score eligibility to get addmission.

  16. susheel

    hi sir this is susheel i hav an aggregrate of 83 percentage in btech mechanical engg i m gng to write gre in nxt week i m hoping to pursue phd directly after btech sir could u tell me wat r the requirements to get that phd wat must be the gre score for that

  17. Khaki Masudur Rahman

    I am Khaki Masud ,I completed my M.Phil. in Mathematics, in Khulna University of Engineering and Technology,Bangladesh 3 years ago. Later I worked in a college Mathematics lecturer 9 years ago band Computer skills MS Word,excel,Access, Power Point,FORTRAN programming and Programming in c. I now wish pursue studies from USA .could you tell me if I have chances of getting admission in PhD (Mathematics)programming in USA.If not advice me. Please help me sir.

  18. samala venkatesh

    I am pursuing MSc Electrical Engineering from staffordshire university,UK.Will this MSc accepted by US universities for ph.d programs in electrical engineering.I have seen US universities offering departments Electrical and Computer Engineering.when I apply to them will it be accepted because I haven’t made computer subjects as option in MSc.What are my chances of acceptance.

    1. administrator

      As long as the degree is from a recognized university, you should be fine, they will accept. You can talk to your current school and share them your thoughts, they will clarify. Also, you can talk to US schools on the same, they will help you…

  19. Pushpak Pati

    I am Pushpak, I am in B.Tech 3rd now in Electronics branch at National Institute of Technology, Rourkela. I have a CGPA of 9.54 till now and I am the topper of my batch. I also have a good carrier(above 90%). I want to to do PhD directly after my B.Tech. Is there any way such that I can directly go for this with out giving GRE?? If yes then please help me. I am working on a good project now and I am sure that by the end of my final year I will be having a good publication. So please help me Sir.

    1. administrator

      Well, most of the schools require GRE…in fact, some even mandate subject GRE for PhD admission. Even if you have a great project, Good US universities mandate GRE for admission….So, it is a good idea to start preparing for GRE.

  20. naini jindal

    hello sir
    i hav completed my MCA in 2009 with an aggregate marks of 68% from UPTU
    (INDIA) after dat i hav started preparation for Civil Services in India but i didnt make out yet… now ,I am planning to move on for d same IT field so how cud I apply for MS…..

  21. Khaki Masudur Rahman

    I am college lecturer in mathematics and awarded M.Phil KUET,Bangladesh in a Lattice theory in English and have thesis paper.

  22. pinky


    I did my M.Tech ( Software Engineering ) from a reputed college i scored 82% , i have 76% in my B.Tech (information technology) , i have 5 years teaching experience also now i wanted to do PhD in US. How should i proceed . please let me know the procedure .

    thank you

  23. abhinay prakash

    hai…….rit knw am doing my m.b.a from marketing and human resource…….i wan to my p.h.d from u.s or canada…………wat are the requirements i need to have…………….and gre.toffel and ilets are mandatory or based on masters percentage it depends ………………plse kindly help me out …………..thank u so much

  24. shahzeb khan

    i am student of final year in mechanical engineering, now what be my majors, nd i have side by side experince in mathematical modeling and designing.

  25. syed

    hi i have done b.pharm & planning to do m.pharm in india & phD from U.S.A what is the procedure to apply for phD in U.S please help me how shall l prepare during these two years of m.pharm for elgible to do phD from top university in U.S..please help’ me mail me [email suppressed]

  26. Sam

    Hello Kumar,

    I have my MBA from an American university, I was also working for a year on H1b. I came to India few months ago for visa stamping but it was rejected. I plan to do my Phd in USA. Could you please help me with some questions I have:
    1. Will it be hard for me to get a student’s visa now?
    2. I have my masters from USA, do I still need to take GRE?
    3. Could you suggest some universities with a nominal tuition fee?
    4. If I get into a PhD program after how long can I start working full time off campus?
    5. I have heard that PhD students are eligible for stipends from the university. What is the criteria for this?

    I would really appreciate you input on the above. Thank you so much!

    1. administrator

      1. A lot of people move to F-1 after being on H-1. So it should be ok. If your visa was denied because of something related to you, then it could be a problem.
      2. Depends upon your school and their requirements for the course.
      4. Check w/ the school when they can issue the CPT.

  27. santosh

    I want to know the name of top universities for civil engg for doing PhD, and for doing MS…or guide me which will good…i have passed in civil engg.

  28. sathi

    hi i hav master degree from an un accrediated university can i get an admission for Ph.d in an accrediated university………….

    wt are the requirements we need ti apply fr Ph.d

  29. sathish

    hi sir currently i am doing masters in UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA it is un accrediated school ,the schoool was recently raided by USCIS , DHS. i m in final saemister , wat are the chances of getting OPT, H1 . thanks in advance sir

    1. administrator

      It’s best to talk to a lawyer because USCIS is tackling each case uniquely. My understanding is as the school has been determined as unaccredited, you cannot apply for OPT or for H-1 under Masters quota.

  30. parissa

    hi, I’m a BS in civil engineering/surveying (geomatics) , I’ve heard abt this M.S+Ph.D program and I really liked it, but I don’t know is this program available for all the majors? how can I know if it is available for my major,

  31. kritika

    I completed my engineering in Electronics Instrumentation & Control, 3 years ago, later I worked in an IT company for 2 yrs. But due to some reasons it took me 5 yrs to complete my engineering. I now wish to pursue further studies from USA. Could you tell me if I have fair chances of getting admission in MS+PhD programmes?

  32. Srividya

    I recently got GC. I have my Msc. Environmental science from University of Madras. Am i eligible for taking up MS here? Is the GRE and TOEFL a must?

  33. Faheem

    I have got with 3.6 it possible that i can apply for MS Electrical?Is it possible that universities can give me any scholarship for further education in USA.please tell me


  34. mahathi

    I am on L2 visa holder and my husband is on L1 visa currently and i am going to stay for 3 more years in US. I have finished my B.Tech in India and also worked for Wipro for 2.5 years before coming to us. I want to pursue my Masters in US, but i dont have either GRE or TOEFL. Is that by any chance possible. please some one suggest me.

    1. administrator

      Yes, you can study while being on L-2 visa. There are colleges that do not mandate GRE/TOEFL based on your past experience and recommendation letters. You can search for such colleges in your city/state, and then go through their admission requirements to see if you are eligible.

  35. mahima

    i have completed my btech this year and have an aggregate of 77%..i got 1180 in gre..i am planning to do phd from USA in computers…can u please suugest me few colleges in TEXAS and can i get admission with these scores or should i give gre again..plzz help !!!!!

  36. Candice

    I have a Bahelor’s in Biotechnology (GPA 3.37 – 84.32%). In addition to this, I have completed a Masters in Clinical Research from Cranfield Univ (UK). I have a certification in Medical Laboratory Technology (First Class) from Bharathiar University. During my UG i worked in a lab as part of the curriculum encompassing Microbiology, Biochemistry, rDNA technology, Animal and Plant Biotechnology.
    During my MSc as part of my dissertation i did an observational study on Lumbago in a hospital set up (for easy access to patients).
    But my query now is: all Univ websites state the requirement of Lab Research experience and publications, which i dont have. Will this become a problem for admission? I now work for a Clinical Research Organization (1.5 yrs).

  37. swati

    I did my masters in biochemistry with CGPA of 6.3/10 in 2010 and i also have research experience.I m going to take my GRE on 27th september .I want to know that Is it too late for me to apply for 2012 PHD in USA.How i can get into johns hopkins uni ?
    plzz help me i m confused

  38. Praveen Gupta

    sir,m doing ma Btech from a private engineering college..n wish to pursue MS or Phd from U…can i directly go for smthng MS-Phd dual program or Phd directly or have to go for MS first.. please help m very mch GRE is scheduled after 2 mnths this year..plzz help…

    and with best GRE score will i b able to get fundings from US as m not fron a very rich family….plzzzz help

    1. administrator

      Yes, you can go for dual program. If you would like to get PhD, then you apply for PhD, check with school and see if they offer MS as well….the good thing with applying to PhD is that, if you get admission, they tend to give you funding from first semester.

  39. Mandeep Singh Panwar

    I have been working in private firm as a R&D Engineer for 2.25 years. I have completed my Engineering in Electronics and Instrumentation in 2008 with 69.09% aggregate. I want to do PhD from US in the field of Electronics.
    I don’t have any research publications. So I just want to know would I be able to get top 100 ranked university? About how much funding can i get? Will my experience in R&D be beneficial to get me in and having good funding?
    Please also suggest me some universities which provide PhD in Electronics.

    1. administrator

      Mandeep, Yes you can, provided you get good scores in GRE and explain your passion for research in SOP. Typically, PhD admissions come with full funding….we do not recommend on Schools.

  40. Shuchi

    I have done Masters in Mathematics from Delhi university ,India. Will i be eligible for doing PhD in Mathematics in USA . If so how can I apply and do i need to give GRE also? Please help

    1. administrator

      Yes, you will be. You need to give GRE as well. Check any US school website, you will see all the detailed requirements.

  41. BadriNarayan

    Hello Kumar,
    I am doing my MS(Software Engg.) an integrated course of Btech and MS in Vellore,India. Will it be considered as a Master degree program. I am having a CGPA of 9.03. Can i do my PhD in US directly. If so can i get the Top ranking universities in US. how long it will take for completing a PhD in Software Engineering.

    1. administrator

      I believe it should be because you will get an MS degree along with Yes, you can do PhD directly. Typically PhD in US can take anywhere from 4 to 7 years depending on your school, professor and your performance.

  42. Sushant

    Hi My Name is Nick. I did my Bachelors of Commerce and then did my MBA in HR. I am 25yrs Old. I wish to divert my career in Psychology and think of doing a PHD in Psychology and open a new avenue in life as clinical psychologist or somethin like that in the USA (After Migrating). Firstly,

    1) Since I already have a MBA in HR, Can I Do a PHD in Psychology directly ?
    2) After that Can I (after doing my specialization or majors) start practise if I met the desired Standard.
    3) Do I have to do a TOEFL or somethin of that sort if I migrate to USA to a college
    4) If I can do the PHD in Pychology what is the span of the PHD ?

    Would really appreciate your response

    1. administrator


      1. Yes, you can. The only condition would be, they will ask you to do all the foundations or pre-requisites in psychology.
      2. Yes, to practice in US, I think you might need certain certifications or license. Do some research on this.
      3. Yes, if this is your first degree in US…
      4. PhD in US ranges from 4 to 7 years depending on the pace of your research…ideally students take 5 years.

  43. Soumya

    I’m in my final year of B.Tech, electronics and instrumentation from Maharshi Dayanand University with a 61% till now and a reappear in 6th sem.
    I want to apply for Industrial Engg in the USA.
    I cant decide whether to take up MS and then Ph.d or a Ph.d straightaway.
    my Gre is scheduled for later this month.
    Please Help.

    1. administrator

      Soumya, if you are in doubt, apply for MS. Alternatively, you can apply for integrated MS-PhD program where you do MS first and then it continues to PhD…Just do some research online about PhD programs, you will find more info.

  44. bipin


    I have done my engineering from pune university in 2005(i.e. B.E.Computer Enginnering). Having 4.8 years of experience as a software engineer in PUNE and mumbai. Can i apply for PhD in any of the university in india or somewhere else ?
    what kind of efforts i need to do for the same like GRE, TOFEL r mandetory one ?

    1. administrator

      Yes, you can apply for PhD. You need good score in GRE and TOEFL…They are mandatory… and ideally, they look for publications…

  45. Lalit

    Hi Kumar,

    You seem to be doing quite a good job in maintaining and running the form. I have few queries on Phd, request you to have a look at them. I am currently working in a good software company in Delhi and have around 12 years of experience in Software Industry and I have done B.E (Electronics) with 58% aggregate. I heard from a Associate professor teaching in one of the reputed U.S universities that a GPA of 3.0 is must to get into a Phd. Can you please confirm from your past experience, if that’s the case.

    Thanks in Advance,


    1. administrator

      Lalit, Honestly, it depends. Your friend might be true because some schools might have minimum requirements set. Your best chance is your experience, any research publications and getting a High GRE score to prove that you can complete PhD. Universities spend a lot of money on PhD students, they want to make sure you have the capacity to complete research. So, your options are to prove yourself in GRE and TOEFL and also see if you can do some research publications.

      1. Lalit

        Thanks for your response. Any wild guesses, with the aggregate I have i.e. 58% in all, is going to make it to 3.0 !!! One more thing I wanted to understand is that the reason I am planning to take up Phd is for specialization in a particular area of my interest. Let’s say, if am not able to get an admit in Phd in one of the top 20 schools of the states, then is it worthwhile to spend time and money in doing an MS, considering now I have more than 12 years of experience.

        Thanks in Advance,


        1. administrator

          It is hard to say if it is 3.0 or not…. Because sometimes, the University top score will be like 70%. Doing PhD should be based on your passion to do research or any technical ideas that you have to expand on. Honestly, if you do not have any particular goal, just doing MS instead of PhD will be just waste of your valuable time. Read the articles in section Decide MS or MBA under categories on Left. You will get an idea !

          1. Lalit

            Again many thanks buddy for your quick responses. Can you please provide me some good pointers for GRE preparation. It could be a set of books, reading material, online tutorial or even some good coaching classes.

  46. srinivas

    Im doing M.Tech in computer science and engineering final year, im planing to do Ph.D in u.s.a .
    could you tell me how to proceed, i took my gre test, my score is 940, i want to knw which universities offering phd addmitions with funding according to my gre score.
    my agg% is 71%, B.Tech 68%, i dont have any research papers,
    please send me the details to my email id [email protected]

    1. administrator

      Srinivas, just to be honest, I think 940 is less score for PhD you may need to have a better score, unless you have a lot of research publications.

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