Quarex Posted April 1, 2008 Share Posted April 1, 2008 While obviously the Ph.D. is the ultimate goal for most everyone posting here, it is certainly the case that there are two very different paths you could take to get there, at least if you are assuming no previous graduate work in the field. You can either find a school with a good terminal master's program, and then move on to a school with a doctoral program, or try to get directly into the doctorate (and likely end up getting a master's from that school anyway). My situation, one I know I share with at least a few others I have spoken with in private here and elsewhere, is thus: My application for doctoral programs was not terribly strong, though it was good enough to get into a few Ph.D. programs, including a (very) modest assistantship from one. The jury is still out on four of my applications, two of which are promising. All that said, I also sent out an application for the terminal M.A. program from the school where I received my master's in another field--and, naturally, to make my choice difficult, they accepted me with the best financial package I have yet been offered. Even though no-one in my life, professional or personal, has come out and said it yet, I cannot help but wonder if it would look suspicious as to why I just "stayed" at the same school (with a year break working across the country at least) if I was going to change fields, and why I did not just get a degree in that field in the first place. I could easily and excellently explain my field shift, but whether I would have the chance to explain is another question. Essentially, I am trying to figure out if my chances of admittances with funding, or a my general chances of admission, would increase enough the next time I applied to doctorates to justify biting the bullet and going back, or whether I should be happy that I have the chance to prove myself (and hopefully one day get funding) somewhere else, even though with that choice I could also just end up $100,000 in debt. While obviously it is hard to say if anyone here has any direct experience with taking this route, or even in engaging in the admissions process and seeing people who took this route. But maybe we can at least get some sense of how people are perceived who come into the process with terminal master's degrees versus those who apply directly to the Ph.D.; are they seen as less academic? Less serious? Just more financially sound? Neutral? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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