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PhD going to MA


raraavisrealm
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Dear All,

I joined this forum when I was first applying to my PhD in 08. And although I tried only one school then, I was accepted by it onto a PhD programme in Political Science in NY. However, 2 years down the road (I just started my 3rd year) I realized that my objectives and dreams are not met by the programme I'm in and that I need to move on. Specifically, I want to have a hands on training in public policy which master's programmes offer since doctorate classes are very theoretical and abstract. Secondly, I wanted to improve my quantitative skills, and that my current school is weak at. Lastly, I still want to move on onto a PhD programme after have my masters and would prefer to have the PhD in Political Economy (leaning towards comparative more than it is international).

Questions to you, which if answered, will certain help a boggling mind.

1- Is leaving a PhD be viewed as a negative aspect of my application (I've got the looks at the grad fair)

2- Did my above explanation make any sense to anyone. Is it understandable?

3- Which schools in New England / DC would you recommend.

Best to all.

Rara Avis

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1 - it's not going to be a positive. Schools that are considering your application will have the very serious concern that you will drop out after they have invested considerable amounts of time, money and resources in your training. It's always a worry that an applicant might not make it to the end of the program, but you will have demonstrated that at least one PhD program wasn't for you. You'll have a legitimate explanation for this, but undoubtedly there will be some concern that maybe you just can't hack it in that kind of program.

2 - I think your reasoning made perfect sense. Changing fields/interests is not uncommon and from what you write your current school can't support your new direction. You'll have to make a very convincing case in your SOP that with this new application, you're now certain that you are on the right path and you won't change your mind again. More so than usual, I think you'll need to give some very serious thought to explaining how you've come to form your new interests and how confident you are in them. That, and your fit paragraph, will be crucial to a successful application in your case.

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1 - it's not going to be a positive. Schools that are considering your application will have the very serious concern that you will drop out after they have invested considerable amounts of time, money and resources in your training. It's always a worry that an applicant might not make it to the end of the program, but you will have demonstrated that at least one PhD program wasn't for you. You'll have a legitimate explanation for this, but undoubtedly there will be some concern that maybe you just can't hack it in that kind of program.

2 - I think your reasoning made perfect sense. Changing fields/interests is not uncommon and from what you write your current school can't support your new direction. You'll have to make a very convincing case in your SOP that with this new application, you're now certain that you are on the right path and you won't change your mind again. More so than usual, I think you'll need to give some very serious thought to explaining how you've come to form your new interests and how confident you are in them. That, and your fit paragraph, will be crucial to a successful application in your case.

Appreciate it. The onus will be on me to make the scales of # 2 outweigh #1.

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Appreciate it. The onus will be on me to make the scales of # 2 outweigh #1.

Indeed. It will also greatly help your cause if you could maintain good relations with the professors at your current school. If you get positive recommendations that praise your skills as a researcher and confirm your change of interests, you'll have a much easier time.

Edited by fuzzylogician
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