How important is research experience?

PhD programs are looking for applicants with strong research potential. For top research departments, a successful research experience is very important. If you come from an undergraduate school that offers little opportunity for research, some departments may make adjustments in their expectations.

Prior research experience is typically not that important for admission to MS programs. For those who lack undergraduate or industry research experience, pursuing research as a master’s student can be a valuable stepping stone for applying to PhD programs.