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Astro2020 APC White Paper: Enabling Terminal Master's Degrees as a Step Towards a Ph.D

Lund, Michael B. and Jacklin, Savannah R. and Ciardi, David (2019) Astro2020 APC White Paper: Enabling Terminal Master's Degrees as a Step Towards a Ph.D. Astro2020 APC White Paper, . (Unpublished)

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Earning any advanced degree in physics or astronomy is an arduous process and major accomplishment. However, not every journey to the Ph.D. is paved equally. Every year, there are hundreds of students who earn terminal master's degrees in physics and astronomy in the United States. A master's degree on its own is sufficient qualification for many good careers, but for a portion of these students, the master's degree is not the final step in graduate education. When students with master's degrees decide to continue their education and are accepted to Ph.D. programs, they often find that their credits do not transfer and that they will be required to re-do large portions of their master's degree at their new Ph.D.-granting institution. Here we discuss the need for gathering more data to understand both the different pathways to a Ph.D. and the students that choose each route. We also discuss some of the challenges faced by students that earn a master's degree before beginning a Ph.D. program. As students in the physical sciences that complete a master's and a Ph.D. at different schools take over 2 years longer to reach a Ph.D. than students that get both degrees from the same school, we suggest steps that can be taken to help these students succeed in a timely manner.

Item Type:Report or Paper (White Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Lund, Michael B.0000-0003-2527-1598
Ciardi, David0000-0002-5741-3047
Additional Information:Endorsers: Joseph A. Barranco, Andreas Bill, Damian J. Christian, Robert Fisher, David Garrison, Donald J. Jacobs, Gaurav Khanna, Eric C. Landahl, Andrew Layden, Joshua Pepper, Seth Redfield, Joseph E. Rodriguez, Eric L. Sandquist, Marc S. Seigar. We would like to thank Patrick Mulvey of the AIP Statistical Research Center for providing significant help in understanding the data currently collected on physics and astronomy students and departments. Any unpublished data attributed to the AIP Statistical Research Center in this paper was provided via personal communication. Software: matplotlib (Hunter, 2007), numpy (Oliphant, 2006), pandas (Mckinney, 2011).
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Series Name:Astro2020 APC White Paper
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200611-113719501
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:103850
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:11 Jun 2020 20:58
Last Modified:11 Jun 2020 21:14

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