M.S. or Ph.D?

<p>Hi,
I am an international student applying for an M.S. in civil engineering. But I am pretty confused about whether I should be going for an M.S. or a Ph.D. I will need financial aid and that tips the balance in favour of a Ph.D. On the other hand, I don't have any research publications, so i don't know if my application is going to be that strong for a Ph.D. candidate. My scores are quite high though: GRE=1600/1600; class rank=4/100.</p>

<p>Does anyone already admitted know what is the aid situation? Are there any aid packages for international students for an M.S.? I am applying to the following schools: MIT,UT-Austin,Purdue,Cornell,Tamu,Pennstate,Ohio,Florida. Could anyone tell me my chances at these schools for an M.S. with financial aid? Or should I apply for a Ph.D. even with the constraint I mentioned earlier?</p>