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Leaving after one semester. Suggestions?


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Hi all,

This is my first time posting to this forum and it seems really useful! Any suggestions would be much appreciated as I am quite lost right now.

I am currently in conservation biology graduate program (MS program). My research is unfunded and I am paying my own tuition. Essentially I came here unfunded without any idea of what that meant. I'm now working a very underpaid and temporary TA position (ends this semester) and have no clear idea what my project is as there is no money available. It puts me in the place of applying for fellowships/grants and hoping things work out at some unknown point, hopefully next semester. The program is also considerably less challenging than my undergraduate work. I'm doing great in school but am not challenged and not funded.

Additionally, my advisor is near retirement and seems uninterested in having a student. I have turned in various research proposals and can't seem to get any feedback. He only is interested in me when I am doing something for him, I can't get in a word edgewise about my own research. To me it feels like I'm wasting my time and money for this MS. Also, the program takes most students 3 years.

My question is have I committed myself here? Is leaving a masters program and reapplying a bad idea? Basically am I harming future chances in graduate school by potentially leaving this program?

I feel that if I had more patience I could attend a program with funding where my advisor would have at least some interest in me.

I now understand why people told me to accept programs with funding. Hopefully I have not dug myself into a hole here, but the prospect of leaving now and avoiding more debt seems like the right idea.

Thank you

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Go with your gut and leave. No money will get you nowhere, especially in biology. I'm positive there are a lot of labs doing work in conservation and they can get you funded.

During reapplication, just be sure to clearly state why you left. I don't think any adcoms would hold it against you.

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Thanks for the reply,

I'm leaning towards leaving at this point. There is some chance I could receive one year of funding, but this would still not cover tuition expenses or the full duration of the research. The grant itself is also unlikely to receive total funding. In any case, I feel like I am missing an important experience of grant funded research. I've already completed an undergraduate thesis in which I wrote my own grants and put something together for roughly 5 grand and it seems silly to repeat this. Anyways thanks alot for the input!

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