In practice, fulfilling the requirements for PhD usually also means fulfilling the requirements for Masters, so there is really no extra effort required [except perhaps the effort required to request the diploma itself]. My case: I didn't ask for Master diploma eventhough I qualified. Some of my classmates asked for the diploma.
Regarding earlier comment:
It is true in Indonesia people are still used about the S1+S2+S3 sequence, and the formed opinion is one has to finish one cycle before one can advance to the next cycle.
The US graduate admission system only requires a minimum of S1 degree, it does not require an S2 degree. For those who are worry about going to PhD program directly from S1: the first 1 or 2 years of PhD study will be spent to bring new students to the level required to do PhD research. There will be classes, seminars, colloquias, field trips, journal clubs, etc. It is normal for PhD students at many universities to start their research after 1 or 2 years in the PhD program. Earlier involvement in research is very welcomed and encouraged. But in almost every cases, PhD students will not be kicked out if they are not doing research in the first semester. Of course, if a PhD student is not doing research and does not have a PhD advisor after 3 or 4 years, there is something wrong about the person.
In physics, quite a few of people I know have started their PhD in US after they finish their S1 in Indonesia, and most of them have been making fine progress in their study toward PhD [only 2 or 3 out of like 20 people who decided to stop at Master]. Some even are doing PhD in completely different fields:
- two people with electrical engineering S1 degree are making fine progress toward PhD in physics.
- one person with physics S1 degree has finished PhD in mathematics.
- I myself finished a PhD in experimental particle physics despite there is no research activities about it in Indonesia [consequently: I knew nothing about it when I was in Indonesia].
I think those are real cases which show that the US system is quite flexible in catering students with diverse background, without compromising the quality of PhD education. With respect to students from Indonesia, the US system gives them opportunities to remedy this, enabling them to find and pursue their true interests which may have been suppressed while they are in Indonesia [due to lack of academic activities in fields of their interests]. For those who are thinking seriously about switching field of study, the US system probably is the most flexible with regard to that.
Of course there will always be some compromises between personal interests and the available professors/research topics. But compared to the situation elsewhere which demands strict adherence to the study subject at the S1->S2->S3 level, the US system is far more flexible.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "julius_kusuma" <julius_kusuma@...> wrote:
> In most science programs in the US, there is no need
> to do a Masters degree prior to pursuing a PhD.
> In many engineering programs in the US, this is also
> the case. I qualified as a PhD student in UC Berkeley's
> EECS Department without a Masters degree, although I
> ended up going to MIT to continue and eventually finish
> my PhD studentship.
> My wife is getting a PhD in MIT's Chemistry Department
> without a Masters. In fact, that particular department
> grants very few Masters degrees as far as I know. Like
> many science departments in top schools in the US, they
> are almost entirely geared towards PhD-level research.
> Further, a joint 5-year Bachelors/Masters degree program
> is becoming popular in the US, but mostly in engineering
> departments. I haven't seen something like this in a
> science department yet.
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