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VirgilRVA

Professional to PhD

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Hello everyone! I have a number of questions regarding professional programs.

I have a complicated academic profile (really only suffering from a 3.0 gpa). In spite of this, I have been encouraged that many schools really do take a holistic approach to the applications process. Most of my strengths lie in my professional background and thus I have been told that I would stand a stronger chance in applying to the professional programs. My main questions are these:

I've been told that in applying to professional programs, the question tends less to be whether you can get in or rather if you can get in with funding. Due to my opportunities with the military, funding is a non-issue for me. Is this generally true? If it is circumstantial as I'm sure it is, I am curious if people could unpack that more.

The second and more important question is whether a professional-oriented masters could serve as a platform in applying to a top ranked PhD. Example: Getting a MA in SIPA and later applying to PhD programs in top 10 schools.

Any enlightenment would be particularly helpful.

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I would imagine it's more likely to move from an MA in a related field to a PhD. What would your PhD be in? I know several people with underwhelming undergraduate histories who have gone that route with mixed success.

The biggest detriment to pursuing an MA outside of a PhD is the cost. But, because it sounds like you're going to utilize military money, that shouldn't be a problem. With regard to your question about admissions, having independent funding is definitely not going to hurt you.

My focus would be to make sure that there is somewhat of a linear trajectory from MA to PhD (ie: MA in international relations to political science PhD). When I think "professional-oriented" masters in this field, I tend to think MPA/MPP, which are not necessarily a great transfer to a political science PhD.

Edited by HARBOR

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