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Hi all! Apologies if this has already been asked and answered, but I am wondering if anybody knows how common it is for departments to automatically consider rejected PhD applicants for their masters programs.

I came across this while perusing Boston College's English PhD program, but I can't find other institutions that share this practice (or at least publicize it). Is this often done at other universities? If so, where would one look to find out this information? Short of directly emailing program directors, I can't think of a quick way to know whether or not an institution does this. Is there a list out there of programs that automatically consider 'promising' PhD rejects for an MA in the same department? 

Thanks in advance for reading :)

Edited by swarthmawr
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I'd like to add a small note here that a lot of programs that consider you for their master's program are unfunded ones or ones where funding is very competitive at the MA level. Several programs that come to mind are Colorado, Chicago, Carnegie Mellon, Rochester and SUNY Buffalo.

 

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1 hour ago, Warelin said:

I'd like to add a small note here that a lot of programs that consider you for their master's program are unfunded ones or ones where funding is very competitive at the MA level. Several programs that come to mind are Colorado, Chicago, Carnegie Mellon, Rochester and SUNY Buffalo.

 

Yep. +1 to this. Many universities use their MA programs as cash-cows to fund their departments/Ph.D. programs. I know (from experience) that Carnegie Mellon's Rhetoric program takes the top few percent of applicants that didn't get into their Ph.D. program and offers them unfunded or half-funded 1-year M.A. spots, but that they don't have fully funded M.A. spots. I've been offered one of their 50-60% tuition waivers twice, but with that insane private tuition it's still prohibitively expensive. I've made a few friends within their department over the last few years and they've told me that they almost never bring people into their Ph.D. program who don't already have an M.A., and that they prefer to field their Ph.D. cohorts internally, out of their own crop of M.A. students.

I know of a few other schools, notably the ones that Warelin mentioned, who do much the same.

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NYU does this and offers 50-60% tuition to those passed on to the MA. Chicago also does this but overall I would caution against undertaking an unfunded MA, though this has been discussed at length on these boards.

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The good news is that there are several schools that do offer funded MAs and that may offer you the opportunity to continue on to their PhD. Schools that come to mind are the University of Nebraska, University of Illinois, Pennsylvania State University, and Indiana University. The advantage of a program such as these are that some offer automatic acceptance into their PhD program upon successful completion of coursework while also allowing you the flexibility of either applying to other schools if you find your interests have changed or allowing you to leave with a Master's degree if you find that you no longer wish to pursue a PhD.

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If the school does offer to consider your application as an MA after you've been rejected from the PhD, there will probably be a box that you can check on their application page. I had two schools do this. One contacted me to let me know that I had been rejected for the PhD and my application was being sent on (I think this was NYU). Another one contacted me and told me that I was rejected and my application would be sent for MA consideration; they asked me to submit a new Statement of Purpose for the new program (I think this was Columbia). Still another program did not have the box on their application, but they contacted me to tell me that I had been accepted into their MA even though I had only applied for the PhD. So, if the school does not specifically state it, I would contact them. And, as other posters are saying, examine the MA funding before making that decision. It was such a tease to have an NYU acceptance but only 50% tuition remission. 

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