If you are pursuing a research master’s degree (or thinking about it), you need a career plan that goes beyond applying to a Ph.D. program. Graduate study is very different from undergraduate work, and you may discover during your master’s program that you do not want to pursue a doctorate at all. You may find that an academic career is not the best fit for you. And even if you do seek a Ph.D., you aren’t guaranteed to get a tenure-track job—quite the contrary.
Too many graduate students assume that success in an M.A. program means the same for a Ph.D.; too often students underestimate what they can accomplish with the M.A. It’s important to be realistic about your abilities, your job prospects, and what the years of pursuing a Ph.D. will do for you.