PhD, etc outside the US

Hannah Dvorak hdvorak at
Tue Feb 20 21:01:26 EST 1996

In article <4ga637$g7t at>, kcudding at (Kim Cuddington) says:
>Janet Joy (jjoy at wrote:
>:   After listening to the US-Brit-NZ comments, I thought I'd throw in the
>:   Canadian perspective.  I did my undergrad years in the U.S. at a
>:   research-intensive Big10 university, then went to Canada to do my PhD at
>:   a similar size research-intensive university.  When I got there I was
>:   astonished to find most graduate students working 9-to-6.  I then did two
>Hmmm, well, I've attended 3 Canadian universities and I've never seen 
>anything like 9-6 hours. However, I'm in ecology so maybe it varies across 
>disciplines. My last supervisor (MSc) expected at least 8-8, 6 days a week, 
>and I often worked till midnight.
>Here's another cross-cultural difference. In my discipline, the MSc is a 
>research degree. I wrote and defended a 150 page thesis while doing course 
>work. I then entered a PhD program that is entirely research oriented (no 
>course work) although I also have to assist in the teaching of classes. 
>What is the status of the MSc in the US? I'm under the impression that it 
>is a "consolation prize" for those that don't obtain their PhD. 

As a Canadian, I applied to graduate programs in both Canada and the
U.S.  At Canadian schools I applied for the MSc program, where after
a year of satisfactory progress it would have been possible to switch
into the PhD program without completing a Master's separately. Here in
the U.S., however, the programs I applied to didn't offer a terminal
Master's, and the MS is indeed the consolation prize for dropping out;
I even saw something in a student guide along the lines of "If you
have any doubt about whether you're going to stick it out for your
PhD, apply to receive your MS."

Another thing: Canadians who come down here after getting a Master's
back home seem to have at most a one-year head start on those of
us coming with just a BSc.

- Hannah
Hannah Dvorak			hdvorak at
Division of Biology 216-76
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125

More information about the Womenbio mailing list