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corpguy

Concurrent PhDs in 2 countries and 2 universities

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Posted (edited)

I received a few admissions offers for PhD in management. I have rejected all but two (so I have 2 in hand offers).

It's a tough choice: one school has better location and stipend, the other has a better ranking and shorter program.

I am considering whether it might make sense to enrol in both, rather than choose. In a sense they are complementary.

In terms of coursework, there are synergies - both have similar required curriculum, so there won't be a ton of extra work that I'd need to put in.

In terms of the actual research output, based on my ongoing work, I feel confident that I should be able to produce 2 separate, different and competent pieces of PhD theses.

  1. Any thoughts/perspectives on this idea?
  2. Is this legal? Esp. in terms of immigration rules. 
  3. Any thoughts on what the universities may say about this? (I don't want to bring this up with either, if it means I would piss them off and get my offer rescinded)

Possibly relevant details:

  • Both are in Europe (one in EU), and I am a third country national.
  • The funding at both is via so-called assistantship "jobs" (which are taxed as such), not true stipends.
  • The locations of the universities/countries are such that it is practical, at least financially to attend both for the coursework...even if that means round trips every week.
Edited by corpguy

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In terms of money, I don't think you can get paid as "full time" in two places at the same time. In terms of coursework, how would that work? Would you travel back and forth? In terms of theses, do you know anyone that has written one in your field? If you do, ask them about the process. I am a little suspicious anyone could do it with so much extra time that they might suggest to you it is fine to write two at the same tie. 

I think you should choose one program. 

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Is it legal? Well that certainly depends on the specific rules of each country and how much time you expect to spend in each location. Depending on the country, you probably need to claim 'residency' in one. This could have consequences for your enrollment as well. It may also influence how much you can travel (e.g., some countries have conditions on when and how you can claim residency such having to stay x days within a certain time period to be able to be a resident. Some places also do not allow you to be a resident in more than one country - unless you cannot 'give up' your residency in your country of origin - but certainly not a third-country). If you are not a resident, there's a good chance they'll revoke your visa. Probably also has consequences for your payment. If both pay, you are probably gonna run into issues with taxation given that maybe both countries claim you as a resident (so double taxation). Also check insurance. Some places have national insurance in which you have to enroll.

You may run into issues with getting two visa's. You'd need a visa for both countries to work/study for third-country nationals. They may ask questions about why you hold two valid study visa's..

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On 7/5/2019 at 7:07 AM, corpguy said:

I received a few admissions offers for PhD in management. I have rejected all but two (so I have 2 in hand offers).

It's a tough choice: one school has better location and stipend, the other has a better ranking and shorter program.

I am considering whether it might make sense to enrol in both, rather than choose. In a sense they are complementary.

In terms of coursework, there are synergies - both have similar required curriculum, so there won't be a ton of extra work that I'd need to put in.

In terms of the actual research output, based on my ongoing work, I feel confident that I should be able to produce 2 separate, different and competent pieces of PhD theses.

  1. Any thoughts/perspectives on this idea?
  2. Is this legal? Esp. in terms of immigration rules. 
  3. Any thoughts on what the universities may say about this? (I don't want to bring this up with either, if it means I would piss them off and get my offer rescinded)

Possibly relevant details:

  • Both are in Europe (one in EU), and I am a third country national.
  • The funding at both is via so-called assistantship "jobs" (which are taxed as such), not true stipends.
  • The locations of the universities/countries are such that it is practical, at least financially to attend both for the coursework...even if that means round trips every week.

Not to be brash, but this seems absurd. What do you really get out of it? Do you want to be known as the person who got two PhDs in surprisingly similar fields, and half-assed both of them?

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7 hours ago, Bird Vision said:

What do you really get out of it? Do you want to be known as the person who got two PhDs in surprisingly similar fields, and half-assed both of them?

99% of PhD theses are half-assed anyway - in that they aren't groundbreaking.
What do I want? More money (2 sources of income help with that), large network (if not double, the network with 2 schools is definitely larger), opportunities to go to conferences (support of 2 institutions is helpful), decently ranked university (one is, the other isn't), good pleasant location (the unranked university wins this)...

On 7/7/2019 at 3:49 AM, AP said:

I don't think you can get paid as "full time" in two places at the same time

I assume you have never been poor. Lots of people work 2-3 jobs to support themselves. When working 2 jobs, often both are "full time" jobs. "Full time" merely means 40 hrs a week. Many people have to regularly work 90-100 hrs a week.

On 7/7/2019 at 3:49 AM, AP said:

In terms of coursework, how would that work? Would you travel back and forth?

Coursework: PhD programs don't have a ton of that. And for the coursework that does need to be completed, there's a large overlap between the two universities...so deliverables can be resubmitted or repurposed.
Yes, the idea is to travel back and forth. That's what I meant by

On 7/5/2019 at 4:07 PM, corpguy said:
  • The locations of the universities/countries are such that it is practical ...even if that means round trips every week.

 

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1 hour ago, corpguy said:

99% of PhD theses are half-assed anyway - in that they aren't groundbreaking.
What do I want? More money (2 sources of income help with that), large network (if not double, the network with 2 schools is definitely larger), opportunities to go to conferences (support of 2 institutions is helpful), decently ranked university (one is, the other isn't), good pleasant location (the unranked university wins this)...

I assume you have never been poor. Lots of people work 2-3 jobs to support themselves. When working 2 jobs, often both are "full time" jobs. "Full time" merely means 40 hrs a week. Many people have to regularly work 90-100 hrs a week.

Coursework: PhD programs don't have a ton of that. And for the coursework that does need to be completed, there's a large overlap between the two universities...so deliverables can be resubmitted or repurposed.
Yes, the idea is to travel back and forth. That's what I meant by

 

If you have multiple sources of income, you're often ought to report them to the university (and if not, there will be consequences). They may deduct some portion given that it could be seen as external funding. Support to go to conferences will depend on your offer, however, shit may hit the fan if they find out you're getting support from two places. Or they may start pushing responsibility on the other school. So you want to look that up first (are there any rules for outside income that you have to report). In that regard, also note that you're probably gonna get in some massive conflict of interest situation with both schools (who can claim your work? which school?), given that you're obviously compromised between the two. So good luck if you have to ever get past an IRB.

If you need 'more money' - then consider your actual offers. I was able to save half my stipened over the last year, so if you feel you need to work two jobs - that says way more about your actual funding that is poor.

On a side note, in a lot of N-European countries at least people do not work 3 jobs. You realize many places have an actual workweek of like 36 - 38 hrs these days right (on paper...), decent minimum wage, allowances (for which you may qualify), subsidized housing, and so on. Regardless, I agree that it probably not possible to be 'full-time'/fully funded in both places due to residency requirements and so on (e.g., places like the Netherlands would NOT accept you spending a lot of time in a different country and working in another country would most likely violate your visa status for a lot of countries.EU nationals may be exempt, although they're also subject to residency requirements). Visa requirements often also state a max. number of hours you can work on that specific (student)-visa. So you want to look up the ins and outs of each countries visa requirements, including residency, max. work hours, etc. Also look up taxes - you maybe double taxed (or triple if you're an American). Also look up if the school has a residency requirement (i.e., you have to reside in that country to get discounts on tuition or other things, etc.)

As for large network. If both programs are in the same field, your PIs may know each other. I would not expect it to look good, given that it is probably received as a half-ass commitment to both schools. So yeah, you probably have a bigger network, but no clue if they actually will think highly of you.

Also note that outside of 'class' there are a lot of other meetings you are expected to join, and both universities would expect you to be available the whole work week and probably couldn't care less about your other school/requirements.

As for resubmitting the same or a very similar document. Good luck with that. You'll probably be extra monitored for (self-)plagiarism, given your situation. And self-plagiarism is a thing...

 

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9 hours ago, corpguy said:

99% of PhD theses are half-assed anyway - in that they aren't groundbreaking.
What do I want? More money (2 sources of income help with that), large network (if not double, the network with 2 schools is definitely larger), opportunities to go to conferences (support of 2 institutions is helpful), decently ranked university (one is, the other isn't), good pleasant location (the unranked university wins this)...

You seem very self-assured, so I'm sure you're going to pursue this no matter what I say. With that in mind, this will be my last post on the matter; I don't wish to play chess with pigeons.

Why are you doing a PhD if you want money and connections? In my field (econ), people with this mindset generally end up hating grad school and lamenting the fact that they could have gotten an MBA and gone straight into finance. Especially in Europe, where salaries are low compared to the US.

I urge you to determine for yourself why you feel you have to do two PhDs to maximize the benefit, then reconcile whether these motivations will allow you to succeed in graduate school. As a final note, it seems that you believe a grad program takes 40 hours of effort a week. In many cases this can't be farther from the truth.

Whatever you decide, I wish you good luck. I would like to hear what you choose to do, and how it goes.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, corpguy said:

99% of PhD theses are half-assed anyway - in that they aren't groundbreaking.
What do I want? More money (2 sources of income help with that), large network (if not double, the network with 2 schools is definitely larger), opportunities to go to conferences (support of 2 institutions is helpful), decently ranked university (one is, the other isn't), good pleasant location (the unranked university wins this)...

I assume you have never been poor. Lots of people work 2-3 jobs to support themselves. When working 2 jobs, often both are "full time" jobs. "Full time" merely means 40 hrs a week. Many people have to regularly work 90-100 hrs a week.

Coursework: PhD programs don't have a ton of that. And for the coursework that does need to be completed, there's a large overlap between the two universities...so deliverables can be resubmitted or repurposed.
Yes, the idea is to travel back and forth. That's what I meant by

 

You've misunderstood this comment: "I don't think you can get paid as "full time" in two places at the same time ." This doesn't mean that you wont have the TIME to work/study full-time at both institutions. Rather, most (of not all) programs won't let you (a) do another program at the same time and (b) leave campus (residency) without reverting to part-time status, which would disqualify you from funding. Most programs also only allow you to leave campus for a certain amount of total time (usually one year), which wouldn't allow you to complete your coursework requirements at a second university.

This is pretty unfeasible. You should choose one program.

PS I also agree with the poster above regarding the time commitment for grad school. Completing a PhD program full-time is way more work than a full-time job. Instead of the normal 40 hour work week, it takes closer to 50-80 hours per week, depending on the person and the program. Think about that. It's not possible to balance 160 hours of work per week. Even if some of your work would be redundant, because the programs are similar, you'd still be looking at 100-120 hours per week, which is, to be honest, impossible.

Edited by bhabhafk

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On 7/10/2019 at 5:23 AM, corpguy said:

I assume you have never been poor. Lots of people work 2-3 jobs to support themselves. When working 2 jobs, often both are "full time" jobs. "Full time" merely means 40 hrs a week. Many people have to regularly work 90-100 hrs a week.

Your assumption is both incorrect and misconceived. Although my financial history or situation is none of your business, I did my share of multiple jobs and complemented my stipend with on-campus employment. Your assumption that a PhD can be done in 40hs/week is naive. My comment on full-time enrollment, as @bhabhafk explained, has to do with the legality of having too full-time stipends. It doesn't matter how many hours you put into it, which any PhD students would know. No one here is suggesting a PhD takes 40 hours a week. 

On 7/10/2019 at 4:28 PM, bhabhafk said:

You've misunderstood this comment: "I don't think you can get paid as "full time" in two places at the same time ." This doesn't mean that you wont have the TIME to work/study full-time at both institutions. Rather, most (of not all) programs won't let you (a) do another program at the same time and (b) leave campus (residency) without reverting to part-time status, which would disqualify you from funding. Most programs also only allow you to leave campus for a certain amount of total time (usually one year), which wouldn't allow you to complete your coursework requirements at a second university.

If you enroll full-time and get paid for an exclusive dedication to Program A, Program B is unlikely to allow your enrollment. It doesn't matter how many hours you put into it, it's a question of payroll. More importantly, I am pretty sure a program will not grant you a PhD in the same discipline as another program. 

On 7/10/2019 at 5:23 AM, corpguy said:

99% of PhD theses are half-assed anyway - in that they aren't groundbreaking.

What is this supposed to mean? 

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