There is a big difference between a Master’s degree and a Doctorate degree. Both are terminal degrees, meaning they are the highest possible degrees you can achieve in their respective field. But what exactly is the difference between these two types of degrees?

Compared to undergraduate education, both graduate degrees offer a more focused educational experience. 

Both Master’s and Doctoral degrees are in high demand. For instance, in the US, obtaining a Master’s degree can help you qualify for promotions, certain professions, and some can help you make over 100k.

But how can you tell which educational level is best for you? 

That’s why we’re here to help!

To highlight differences and assist you in deciding which degree would be most beneficial to you, we’re comparing a Master’s Degree vs. PhD Degree in this blog so you can make an informed decision.

Compared to Doctorate degrees, Master’s degrees take less time to complete and can often help people advance in their careers or achieve a higher salary. The Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.) are the most popular Master’s degrees. There are also 2 different kinds of master’s programs. Let’s take a look at both of them to get a better understanding. 

Research Master’s Degree

Most academic and practical research fields require Master’s degrees. Earning a research Master’s degree without pursuing a Doctorate might limit your career opportunities in several professions. Speak with instructors or experts in your area to determine what is best for you and your career path.

Professional Master’s Degree

Master’s degrees introduce individuals to frameworks and practical skills to comprehend challenges in their industry, preparing them for a professional job. Some areas require people to have the appropriate master’s degree to work in the field. Master’s degrees in social work, architecture, or teaching art are a few examples. 

The highest academic degree available in certain professions is a Master’s degree. While particular Master’s degrees might be the first step toward a doctorate, others, like a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing or a Master of Library Science, are the highest levels of certification available in their respective fields of study.

Candidates should hold a Bachelor’s degree before pursuing a Master’s program but there are some programs that allow you to get both the master’s and bachelor’s.  Advanced-level courses and seminars are the main components of a Master’s degree, which can be completed in 1–3 years.

The PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, is the most popular doctoral degree. These research Doctorates give a unique chance for a person to perform an extensive and protracted study on a particular issue, which frequently results in publication. They also equip students to contribute to the body of knowledge in the field. 

Many PhD. holders go into academia and research but can also work in the public, corporate, and nonprofit sectors.

Candidates must hold a Bachelor’s degree and, in certain situations, a Master’s before pursuing a doctorate, depending on the program. PhD programs often have fewer students than Master’s programs due to the nature of the specialization.

PhD candidates first take courses, and qualifying exams are sometimes required before continuing on. dissertation. Following that, they enroll in advanced seminars and finish their requirements by doing research for, writing, and presenting a dissertation. One of the main requirements for receiving a PhD is completing a dissertation, which is a Doctoral-level thesis detailing the candidate’s original research. 

Depending on the program, whether the applicant has already earned a Master’s degree (or is coming straight from undergraduate school), and how long it takes to complete the dissertation, earning a doctorate could take 3 to 8 years.

A Master’s degree and Doctorate degree but also in price, credit, skillset, and employment possibilities. Let’s examine these variations in more depth.


A PhD typically costs more since it takes longer to finish. However, on the plus side, a PhD could result in a better-starting income after completion. Therefore, it can be worth the higher price in the long run.

Regardless of the graduate degree you choose, there will be costs involved, including tuition, fees, books, and others. Additionally, you may lose income if you cannot work in your current job or can only find low-paying assistantships or part-time jobs. 

Finally, there is always the possibility of getting student loans that have a low interest, and many doctoral programs offer assistantships or fellowships that can cover tuition plus pay a stipend.

The cost of graduate degrees varies depending on the school, which is another thing to consider. So, before choosing a school, be sure to think about how much it will cost.

Skill Set

Master’s degrees concentrate on developing critical thinking and problem-solving abilities while emphasizing expert mastery of industry-specific skills. 

On the other hand, doctorate degrees are almost the opposite; they strongly emphasize research, analysis, and writing to assist the development of transferable abilities one may utilize to address gaps in industry expertise.

Career prospects

For many who pursue master’s and doctoral degrees, career progression is a top priority. Master’s degrees are regarded as career-focused degrees that prepare you for roles in management and leadership. 

As a result, Doctorate degrees are increasingly required for top executive positions and prospects to move into academia.


Earning a Master’s or a Doctorate degree significantly raises your lifetime earning potential and income expectations.

But which is more valuable?

According to the US Census Bureau, a Master’s degree may increase your income by 17% compared to a Bachelor’s degree, and a doctorate can increase your revenue by 30% compared to a Bachelor’s degree. 

A Master’s degree holder may expect to make over $2.8 million in their lifetime, while a Doctorate holder can expect to make over $3.5 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Which Option Is the Best for You?

Considering your professional field and educational objectives will help you decide whether to pursue a Master’s or a Ph.D. You may learn more about your profession’s needs by conducting your study, talking to colleagues, and networking. 

In addition, you can explore graduate school choices by getting in touch with a mentor in the area or alums from your selected program. 

Speaking with graduate school admissions representatives can also provide more information about the many graduate programs offered.

A Master’s degree and a Doctorate are significant turning points in one’s career. The difference is between your current situation and your chosen path. If you want to plan your career ahead of time, compare a Master’s degree vs. PhD degree and decide which one is best for you. 

For instance, if you are interested in professional education, a Master’s degree is likely your best bet. But, if you are inclined towards academia, a PhD will serve you better. So think about it and select the degree best suited to your career!