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Double Master’s or Ph.D.? 3 Questions to Help you Choose Your Career Path

Posted on Sep 07, 2019
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Master’s number two, or a Ph.D.? – the question looms over you and you cannot come to a solid decision. This postgraduate choice might just be the most important you have made in your life, and you just do not know. Truth be told, a lot of it comes down to two things – your career goals and your vantage point, each determining the other. Allow us to help you out by tackling this with a series of questions.

Question to Ask Before Making the Choice Between a Second Master’s and Ph.D.:

1. What Do You Seek: Breadth or Depth of Knowledge?

The most common answer to this question would be “a good balance of both” – however, in this situation, this golden mean is not exactly the correct notion to tackle your dilemma with. A breadth of knowledge means that you know a little from everything but are not specialized in one. A depth of knowledge, on the other hand, would mean that you are fantastically capable at one field, but not so much or at all at others.
However, while tackling this question from the point of view of getting a second Master’s or Ph.D. program, one must understand that having a Master’s degree already means that you have a deep understanding of the subject. A Ph.D. would mean that you are adding to the existing body of knowledge of that particular field. As constructed as this depth of knowledge might be in attaining that Doctorate, it is still upheld as the highest form of expertise achievable in a given subject.
Thus, from a personal viewpoint, a Master’s degree would be apt for those looking to broaden their scope of knowledge to two different areas, but a Ph.D. would be apt for those looking to specialize and gain expertise in one particular field.

2. What Are Your Career Goals?
This is arguably the most important question you need to answer while looking to arrive at a resolution for this particular dilemma. Are you looking to work on the field, in an organization? Or are you looking to pursue research and a career as an academic?
A PhD degree would typically allow you to pursue a line of work in the education and research sectors, whilst teaching any level of classes. On the other hand, double masters would mean that you are more suited for teaching classes lower than the postgraduate level and also fit for organizational roles. Do not get us wrong – a Ph.D. would still make you eligible for such roles, but the more readily available roles will require skills rungs lower than yours.
Thus, at the end of the day, each option is prominently different only if you’re looking to enter academics or research.

3. What Are Your Motivations Behind Getting Another Degree?

Are you getting a second masters to boost your employability or out of interest in a different field? As striking as it may seem, the latter might just be the more valid of the two motivations. Your employability, at the end of the day, boils down to your work experience and proven on-field expertise in a given area.

Having highlighted these, the best we leave you with is what you deem suitable for your life, career and other long-term goals and sensibilities. If a second Master’s takes you where you wish to be, so be it. If it is the Ph.D. does it instead, go for that.