A frequent question we get here at SSBR is: “Is it possible to take a Ph.D. without having a Master’s degree”?

The fact is that, up until recently, in many countries such as the UK, US and others, there was no real need to have a master’s degree before starting a doctorate. Therefore, it is possible to do a Ph.D. without a Master’s degree.

This means that there can be a great savings in both time and money. Master’s degrees typically take between 1 and 2 years and can cost anywhere up to $100,000. An MBA programme at SSBR, while it is much more cost-effective than at other business schools, can still take between 9 to 12 months to complete and is still be a big undertaking, especially if you wish to attain a Doctorate Degree in the near future.

In most cases when applying for a position in a company, recruiters will ask what your highest degree level is. This means that once you have a bachelor’s degree, your High School diploma has very little importance – and this remains true higher up the education ladder. With a Ph.D., there will be little  interest in whether or not you have a master’s degree.

The downside of not having a master’s degree before starting a doctorate, however, is that there is a lack of necessary research experience that is usually gained by completing a master’s thesis. Given that the dissertation is a major part of most Doctorate programmes, you will have to develop those research skills very early in your doctorate studies.

Many universities do require a master’s degree before starting many of their PhD programmes. However, many also understand that mature students with years of practical experience have the knowledge and the equivalent of a master’s degree level in their chosen field. There are even specific innovative programmes, such as the PhD by Portfolio offered at SSBR, that will allow those professionals with an abundance of experience in their specific fields to obtain academic recognition for pre-existing research, comprehensive research skills and professional subject knowledge that meets a doctoral level.

At SSBR, having a master’s degree is not an absolute prerequisite for a Doctorate programme, but a candidate must provide evidence of experience to show that they can undertake the empirical research and complete the dissertation at the required level.

If you are applying for a doctorate programme without a master’s degree, make sure you provide plenty of evidence with your application to prove that you have the experience at the required level and provide the business school with documentary examples of your work and achievement to back it up.

The truth is: Consistency, hard work, dedication, discipline, determination, collaboration and a critical mindset will be a greater advantage to you as you embark on your PhD journey as opposed to having a master’s degree. Learn more about the skills that are key in attaining a PhD, as well as what you will gain from this prestigious title on our video: Learn the Value of a Doctorate Degree.

And if you have any questions about our programmes and the requisites needed to apply, our admissions team is happy to assist you. Contact our team here for detailed information.

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