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captleibniz

Second Masters if at Non-Prestigious MA?

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Hi all, 

My pedigree is not great. I did a BA Biblical Studies and am currently enrolled at Talbot Seminary (Biola Univ.) in Southern California for the MA Philosophy. They've managed to have really good placement over the last few years so I'm aiming for a PhD after this. 

However, in the event that my seminary background shoots me in the foot, would it be a bad idea to just do a second masters degree into a PhD somewhere more prestigious? 

Thanks!

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Many (most?) universities will not reward a degree in a field if you have already completed that same degree in the same or a closely related field at another university. So, if you wanted to get an MA is something other than philosophy, then that would be a possibility (though probably wouldn't help you much if you want to pursue a PhD in philosophy). But you're unlikely to be admitted to a philosophy MA program since you already have one. 

Pedigree isn't everything though. Focus on your writing sample and statement of purpose, and you could certainly have a shot at PhD programs.

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Posted (edited)

I think Glasperlenspieler is right. There are cases that I know where people get two MA degrees, and both in philosophy. But that's because they do their first MA in the native country (in non-English world), and do the scond one in the US.

The MA programs may not admit you. Even if they do, given that your program has a good placement record, doing a second MA might not do anything good when applying for PhD, with respect to the impressions.

Edited by PhilCoffee

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However, it is worth noting that a second MA in a related field does offer benefits. In my own cohort, 2/4 have two MAs. One is philosophy + one is political theory, for myself I have an MA in Philosophy and one from a music department. Several people in my 2nd MA (Philosophy) came into philosophy with MAs in Psychology or equivalent degrees from Divinity schools (M.Div, I think is what its called?). However, in all those cases it has been degrees that contribute to their primary interests (Psychoanalysis, Religious Phenomenology, Political Philosophy, etc.)
the returns on the same degree, however, are quite limited except, as mentioned above, if you are going to the States from not a well-known (by American faculty) program, trying to get into the US system.

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On 4/17/2020 at 11:42 AM, Glasperlenspieler said:

Pedigree isn't everything though. Focus on your writing sample and statement of purpose, and you could certainly have a shot at PhD programs.

I second that. 

I did a MA in philosophy in India before getting into in a PhD program in the US. I had similar worries about the pedigree of my MA because there's virtually no chance some one outside of India would have ever heard of the MA program, but things worked out pretty alright for me- so I can say with some confidence that you would be wise to focus on the parts of your application in your control- the ever important writing sample and your statement of purpose. 

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