MS vs PhD

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frmerscientist440
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MS vs PhD

Postby frmerscientist440 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:53 pm

Hello everyone! New poster/frequent lurker here...

I wanted to get some opinions on my current status. I'm in my second year of a life science PhD program at an Ivy. I've found that the overall impact/mission of the research is no longer interesting to me and I'd like to leave the program with an MS and apply to law school. My adviser has been overall supportive but continues to suggest that staying the additional 3 years and getting a PhD would be highly beneficial to a career in law as it would help if I wanted to go into IP law. Though I am somewhat interested in IP law, I have deeper interests in other practice areas so I don't see a PhD being worth the additional 3 years of boredom. Is my adviser right/would law schools+employers value a PhD far above a MS?


tl;dr
life science PhD student wanting to leave with MS for law school. How does this look to law school admissions offices/future employers in the legal field?

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mudiverse
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Re: MS vs PhD

Postby mudiverse » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:05 pm

I do not have the answer to your question, but speaking from a commonsense perspective it is rarely the right choice to burn 3 years doing something if you have no interest in it. If you are certain you will not be motivated by the material, you will drive yourself nuts staying in a phd program just for the qualification. Then again, I have to ask are you just in a slump right now? What was your original reason for starting the program and do you really want to go to law school or are you a victim of degree hunting syndrome?

This is an outside consideration but 3 years phd + 3 years J.D. is a long ass time and your age might be a consideration.

uhwrestler
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Re: MS vs PhD

Postby uhwrestler » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:11 pm

frmerscientist440 wrote:Hello everyone! New poster/frequent lurker here...

I wanted to get some opinions on my current status. I'm in my second year of a life science PhD program at an Ivy. I've found that the overall impact/mission of the research is no longer interesting to me and I'd like to leave the program with an MS and apply to law school. My adviser has been overall supportive but continues to suggest that staying the additional 3 years and getting a PhD would be highly beneficial to a career in law as it would help if I wanted to go into IP law. Though I am somewhat interested in IP law, I have deeper interests in other practice areas so I don't see a PhD being worth the additional 3 years of boredom. Is my adviser right/would law schools+employers value a PhD far above a MS?


tl;dr
life science PhD student wanting to leave with MS for law school. How does this look to law school admissions offices/future employers in the legal field?


if i were i would go ahead and jump into law with your ms.....you can be making 180k after three years rather than just beginning to enroll in law school in three years.....phd or ms your still going to get the same pay in law

Npret
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Re: MS vs PhD

Postby Npret » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:25 pm

Masters in a life science won't help you if you want to get into IP law. You need a PHD in a life science. It isn't the same as types of engineering that can get IP without a higher level degree.

What type of law do you want to practice? Do you want to be a lawyer or is this just a fallback now you want to quit your research.

The degree you get will impact your practice. The starting salary in biglaw might be the same but there will be (or could be) a longer career for you if you are in IP instead of just another NYC corporate lawyer. Also, while everyone who thinks they are getting biglaw wont actually get it, the demand for IP lawyers has been high. That's why people used to joke about being "IP secure."

If you are just talking about law school admissions,then your undergrad GPA and LSAT are the key factors. Don't stay in a PhD program to improve your admission chances. It's a soft,not compelling.

Npret
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Re: MS vs PhD

Postby Npret » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:33 pm

uhwrestler wrote:
frmerscientist440 wrote:Hello everyone! New poster/frequent lurker here...

I wanted to get some opinions on my current status. I'm in my second year of a life science PhD program at an Ivy. I've found that the overall impact/mission of the research is no longer interesting to me and I'd like to leave the program with an MS and apply to law school. My adviser has been overall supportive but continues to suggest that staying the additional 3 years and getting a PhD would be highly beneficial to a career in law as it would help if I wanted to go into IP law. Though I am somewhat interested in IP law, I have deeper interests in other practice areas so I don't see a PhD being worth the additional 3 years of boredom. Is my adviser right/would law schools+employers value a PhD far above a MS?


tl;dr
life science PhD student wanting to leave with MS for law school. How does this look to law school admissions offices/future employers in the legal field?


if i were i would go ahead and jump into law with your ms.....you can be making 180k after three years rather than just beginning to enroll in law school in three years.....phd or ms your still going to get the same pay in law


Assuming a 180 salary is way too optimistic.

uhwrestler
Posts: 279
Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:44 pm

Re: MS vs PhD

Postby uhwrestler » Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:01 pm

Npret wrote:
uhwrestler wrote:
frmerscientist440 wrote:Hello everyone! New poster/frequent lurker here...

I wanted to get some opinions on my current status. I'm in my second year of a life science PhD program at an Ivy. I've found that the overall impact/mission of the research is no longer interesting to me and I'd like to leave the program with an MS and apply to law school. My adviser has been overall supportive but continues to suggest that staying the additional 3 years and getting a PhD would be highly beneficial to a career in law as it would help if I wanted to go into IP law. Though I am somewhat interested in IP law, I have deeper interests in other practice areas so I don't see a PhD being worth the additional 3 years of boredom. Is my adviser right/would law schools+employers value a PhD far above a MS?


tl;dr
life science PhD student wanting to leave with MS for law school. How does this look to law school admissions offices/future employers in the legal field?


if i were i would go ahead and jump into law with your ms.....you can be making 180k after three years rather than just beginning to enroll in law school in three years.....phd or ms your still going to get the same pay in law


Assuming a 180 salary is way too optimistic.



if he is doing a science phd at a ivy league i just assumed he is probably smart enough to get into a top law school and work in big law

frmerscientist440
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Re: MS vs PhD

Postby frmerscientist440 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:04 pm

I do want to be a lawyer. My "fun time" reading has always been in healthcare regulatory matters and legal theory behind the treatment of mentally ill. I think my interests could lead me to many different career paths in law. I'm interested in working in a biglaw healthcare group or at a small firm focusing on med malpractice. Who knows, I may even take interest in becoming a law professor as I'm really interested in the field of bioethics as it applies to the law. Ultimately I'm trying to get closer to my interests in healthcare regulation and my overall goal would be to make sure people don't get stepped on by MDs and big pharma.

Also, time is one of my main concerns. For some reason being a student after the age of 30 (I'm 25 now) just doesn't sound appealing to me so that is why I'm leaning towards leaving with a master's.

Npret
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Re: MS vs PhD

Postby Npret » Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:21 pm

frmerscientist440 wrote:I do want to be a lawyer. My "fun time" reading has always been in healthcare regulatory matters and legal theory behind the treatment of mentally ill. I think my interests could lead me to many different career paths in law. I'm interested in working in a biglaw healthcare group or at a small firm focusing on med malpractice. Who knows, I may even take interest in becoming a law professor as I'm really interested in the field of bioethics as it applies to the law. Ultimately I'm trying to get closer to my interests in healthcare regulation and my overall goal would be to make sure people don't get stepped on by MDs and big pharma.

Also, time is one of my main concerns. For some reason being a student after the age of 30 (I'm 25 now) just doesn't sound appealing to me so that is why I'm leaning towards leaving with a master's.


You have a huge range of goals with vastly different types of jobs. I'm not sure how to advise you.

I can say that a biglaw healthcare group is not likely to be protecting people against big pharma. You shouldresearch some biglaw healthcare groups and see what they look for. Note these aren't huge practice groups so it's likely competitive.

Medical malpractice is a completely different thing that I know nothing about. It's small law firms competing against each other as far as I can tell.

If you are just worried about admissions,a PhD isn't going to make a huge difference. Your undergrad GPA will be all that matters (graduate school grades aren't averaged into your GPA) and you need an LSAT score.

goldenbear2020
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Re: MS vs PhD

Postby goldenbear2020 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:18 pm

frmerscientist440 wrote:I do want to be a lawyer. My "fun time" reading has always been in healthcare regulatory matters and legal theory behind the treatment of mentally ill. I think my interests could lead me to many different career paths in law. I'm interested in working in a biglaw healthcare group or at a small firm focusing on med malpractice. Who knows, I may even take interest in becoming a law professor as I'm really interested in the field of bioethics as it applies to the law. Ultimately I'm trying to get closer to my interests in healthcare regulation and my overall goal would be to make sure people don't get stepped on by MDs and big pharma.

Also, time is one of my main concerns. For some reason being a student after the age of 30 (I'm 25 now) just doesn't sound appealing to me so that is why I'm leaning towards leaving with a master's.

Unless you want to do patent prosecution, leave with the MS and go for the JD now.

frmerscientist440
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Re: MS vs PhD

Postby frmerscientist440 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:49 pm

What I'm gathering is that I should take the MS and run :) This is what I want to do anyway, just wanted to make sure that my adviser didn't know something I didn't

emmbeegee
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Re: MS vs PhD

Postby emmbeegee » Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:35 am

Five years ago, I was in your shoes -- done with the MA and reluctantly staying on for a PhD. I stayed in the program at the advice of my husband, parents, and committee. I've spent the last few years miserable, taking as many teaching posts as I could to get away from my research. I'm finishing this semester (7 years is normal for my program, I've taken 8 years). Yes, it helped with my apps. I don't think it helped significantly more than my MA would have.

If you're not in love with your research, walk away now. A dissertation is a terrible thing to FORCE yourself through.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: MS vs PhD

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:41 am

I agree with walking away. I did want to add that the age thing wouldn't be an issue at all if you did take 3 more years for the PhD - like, NOT AT ALL - but it sounds like you don't want it or need it for your goals so it doesn't make sense to me either.

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androstan
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Re: MS vs PhD

Postby androstan » Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:23 pm

Do not do the PhD. Life sciences patent litigation barely cares about it. Life sciences prosecution is a dead end legal career for anyone entering today.

goldenbear2020
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Re: MS vs PhD

Postby goldenbear2020 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:47 pm

androstan wrote:Life sciences prosecution is a dead end legal career for anyone entering today.

please elaborate?

IPmaybe
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Re: MS vs PhD

Postby IPmaybe » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:58 pm

[edit]
Last edited by IPmaybe on Wed May 10, 2017 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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androstan
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Re: MS vs PhD

Postby androstan » Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:24 pm

goldenbear2020 wrote:
androstan wrote:Life sciences prosecution is a dead end legal career for anyone entering today.

please elaborate?


It's just not an expanding area. Associates making partner/counsel right now, coming up in this practice area, are relatively young and are not acquiring large books of business. They're basically barely edging into some kind of job security in this area. I'm sure they'll be happy to have an associate to foist their extra work onto for a while, but there isn't really a growing pie for that associate to take a piece of. The equity partner will likely hang on for another ten years or so while the junior partner/counsel does most of the real legwork.




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