Getting a Masters and PhD without a bachlor's degree ?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by nyvrem, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. nyvrem

    nyvrem Member

    More interested about the EU/UK system since you can enter a Masters program with 'life experience' via doing a Post graduate diploma followed by a dissertation to obtain a Masters. I'm wondering, if you continued and obtained a PhD, would there be issues in the future with regards to employment ?
  2. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    This was addressed in another thread, someone had a Scottish M.A. with no Bachelor's degree, and it did cause issues with a potential employer. With the many options available these days to earn a Bachelor's degree quickly and cheaply, I think it would be worth the extra time/cost to do it, even if you could theoretically skip it. It's not as dangerous as claiming a diploma mill degree, but it is sort of a time-bomb in your resume.
  3. nyvrem

    nyvrem Member

    found this ~ from Southern Cross University in Australia

    went on to explain how to go about doing it.
  4. Many years ago, I served as a preceptor for the Master of Human Services degree program at Lincoln University, which routinely admitted students without a bachelor's degree if they had five years experience in a human services field and were still actively engaged in a human services profession. Lincoln is the nation's oldest HBCU, founded in 1854, whose graduates included such luminaries as Langston Hughes and Thurgood Marshall. The MHS was a high quality program with so much theory that it would have bored the crap out of me, but I was also on staff at the local ARC at the time and, since I had a Ph.D., I was tapped to be an advisor in the program. Before I went back to school myself several years earlier, I was also on staff at a hospital in which several other staff were pursuing, or already had, an MHS from Lincoln. Those who had both undergrad and grad credentials tended to look down upon those who had a grad without an undergrad.

    The general perception I noted on the part of staff who had bachelor's degrees (some of whom had already gone onto earn master's degrees, was that those who earned Lincoln master's were not as well prepared or even well rounded as those who haad previously earned undergraduate degrees. And I found that I agree with them.

    Why? Because a bachelor's degree is a "breadth and depth" degree. Think Anatevka from Fiddler On the Roof: "A little bit of this, a little bit of that..." Graduate degrees, on the other hand, are highly focused in a particular major. People who do a master's degree without having previously earned an undergrad are missing the breadth and depth.

    Is there any empirical study that has been done in this area? Perhaps, but I'm not aware of any. But I can tell you anecdotally that there are many people who feel that a master's without a bachelor's is, for lack of a better term, not quite right. And, having been an H.R. professional in a yet another previous incarnation, if I saw a résumé with a grad degree but no undergrad, I would see a very big red flag.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
  5. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    What about having a bachelor's and two master's degrees with no high school diploma?
  6. :eek: Why, Ted, are you telling us that you have no high school diploma? Well, there goes your credibility. But seriously . . .

    Perhaps if you're 18 years old and applying to college, they will want to see that you are a high school graduate. But if you're, say, 30 years old and applying to college, it won't particularly matter.

    I dropped out of high school in 11th grade, but took the G.E.D. when I turned 18. When I applied to TESC at the age of 31, it wouldn't have mattered - they regular admitted students who had not graduated high school. The only requirement at that time (keeping in mind that I graduated from TESC 30 years ago) was that if you entered with less than 60 s.h. credit, you took a couple of exams in English and math and, if you failed either, had to take a remedial course without credit.

    I'd say that 90+ percent of people with a bachelor's degree do not list their high school graduation on their résumé. As Bill Murray repeated at the top of his lungs while pounding a log on the cabin floor in Meatballs, it just doesn't matter.

    So no, Ted, we won't hold it against you. At least, bringing the thread topic back into the picture, you received a bachelor's before your two master's.
    mintaru likes this.
  7. mintaru

    mintaru Member

    That route exists in the UK, but saying it is also part of the EU system isn't quite right. It only exists in some other European countries, and even if it does, it's often not exactly the same as in the UK. For instance, a few German schools offer that option, but you always need a qualification which is recognized by the German government as equivalent to a Bachelor's degree, and which is relevant to the major of the Master's degree. These officially recognized qualifications are even considered a type of formal education in Germany.
  8. RFValve

    RFValve Active Member

    In my more than 18 years of teaching experience, I have never been asked to provide transcripts for my BS degree. Most employers would only care about graduate transcripts. I know high school teachers need to have one but University professors normally do not need to provide proof of one. The lack of BS becomes a problem if you need to get a license to practice a profession like Accounting or Engineering as the BS is mandatory. It might also be problematic for immigration purposes as many Visa require at least certain number of years of education to apply for a certain type of Visa, professors normally need at least 17 years of education so if you lack the BS you might not be able to get the number or years required. The other problem is writing the PhD dissertation without solid background in mathematics and statistics, most MSc degrees in the UK are professional and do not cover the basics stats and mathematics needed for research so you might not be able to write your dissertation if lack the basics.
  9. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    This is a different situation, in that Scottish M.A. graduates DO have an undergrad degree - Scottish M.A. It is broadly equivalent to Bachelor's. I also disagree that attaining grad degrees without Bachelor's is a "time bomb". "Time bomb" situation is when a person hides something improper and it comes to light. MA or MBA without BA is not improper - merely unusual.
    There is a valuable lesson in Scottish MA situation - when one's credentials deviate from expected norms, there's potential for perception problems. So yeah, it'd be wise to go and get that Bachelor's before embarking on graduate study. As all advice, this applies to most but not all people - unusual circumstances happen. Wiggenstein went from a vocational teacher's diploma (with mediocre marks) directly to Cambridge PhD (by "published works", essentially). Of course, between two credentials he gained international fame as a philosopher and Cambridge basically recruited him directly into faculty; existing professors (big names themselves like Keynes and Ramsey) believed he's vastly smarter than they are. In these situations, no one cares about undergrad.
  10. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Yeah, there's some truth to that. Breadth beyond the narrow field can mean better performance even within the field.

    I noticed similar things in IT too, as a green recent grad. 99% of work is straightforward coding; people without relevant degrees (if they had aptitude) could learn a language and produce code on time. However, they also tended to make these nonstandard design choices that lead to poor performance and nightmare in support. A guy (including my boss) could know the tool on very advanced level but have a gap in something basic like designing "normalized" database tables or avoiding nonterminating loops or stack overflows in recursion, or not realising limitations of some approaches. Made for interesting team meetings.
  11. Helpful2013

    Helpful2013 Member

    In Scotland (and in the United Kingdom overall), the MA from a Scottish university is understood to be a four-year undergraduate degree, with no need for explanation. Overseas, it can cause confusion, particularly as the MSc can be a typical master's with thesis, or be a terminal MSc without a thesis. This is fairly easily clarified in a cover letter, but if one of our students was looking to move to the United States, I'd also recommend listing it something like:

    MA (undergraduate degree)
    MSc (with thesis)
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018

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