Also is it better to go to grad school after your undergrad directly for a phd or to wait till you are done with your masters to apply?
<p>While "better" depends on goals, I think in the US, for most programs it is customary to go straight after undergrad to the PhD. In some countries, the custom is to get a master's degree, then head to a PhD program and begin research nearly immediately. </p>
<p>This basically means US schools tend to include a master's into their PhD program; the first part of the program involves passing qualifying exams and getting up to speed with some coursework. </p>
Generally, credits earned in a related-field master's program will transfer in.
<p>I think often, you will receive less benefit than might be thought in terms of transfer credits. Usually, the course requirements are quite standardized and in fields such as mathematics, geared to help students pass qualifying exams. The actual number of courses other than these fundamentals required may not even be enough that transferring credits is applicable.</p>
<p>I think one of the only good reasons to get a Master's before doing a US PhD is if one, as juillet said, wants to spend that time honing one's interests. This can be applicable to people who didn't figure out what they wanted as quickly as others in undergrad, maybe partied the whole first part of undergrad, or had a change of major in between.</p>