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originally posted in another forum but def. belongs in freak-out


mallow

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Hello everyone,

I've received some really helpful responses to my previous postings and would so appreciate some feedback on the following situation:

I was admitted to a top university for a PhD in Communications (the university is top; the program is not one of the highest ranked nationally). They offer three years of funding. They won't allow me to defer the admission; I would need to re-apply.

I've been taking some courses in International Affairs at a school that I like where I have an 80% scholarship to do an Master of Science (it would take me another year to finish this degree). I also applied to some other PhD programs that I have yet to hear from (two abroad and one in the US). The first school I was accepted to has the usual April 15th deadline.

I'm trying to figure out a couple of things to start with:

- Whether to ask the place I was admitted for an extension on the decision so I can find out from the others I applied to

- Whether it makes sense to leave the MS program to do the PhD. I already have two Master's degrees, and the MS would be a career-changing degree.

Some basic info: the two schools (MS and PhD) are in a consortium, so theoretically I could take classes at the school I'm at now if in the PhD program. I'm 40 years old, with extensive professional experience in college-level teaching and journalism.

Thanks!

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What are the requirements that you have to fulfill in the last year of you MS? Have you finished all your coursework? If you do not have a lot to do maybe you could do both. Perhaps you could finish your MS as a part time student, which would not be as big of a time commitment. If you choose to do this it may be pretty stressful having to juggle both, but it sounds like you really want to finish your MS and I think it would be possible to do both. It sounds like it would be better to stay with the first PHD program because it is in the same consortium as your MS and it would be easier to pursue both degrees with this option.

I would also talk to your supervisor as she/he may have some sage advice.

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Thanks so much for your thoughtful response. I have only taken 2 courses in the MS program so far. They accepted some of my previous credits from other degrees, so I have 8 classes left. There is no thesis required.

The PhD program requires 4 classes per semester each semester during the first year. If I went part-time to do the MS as well, it would be too much at 6 classes per semester. I could do independent study as a class, which might make it doable for 1 semester at least.

Talking to my supervisor is a good idea but I don't really have one at the MS program. I talked to one professor at the MS program who told me to postpone the PhD until fall 2013. He advised me to do a PhD in the UK instead b/c it is shorter. I did apply to programs in the UK (these are the places I'm still waiting on answers from). I didn't say anything to the PhD program where I've been accepted about the MS program.

Thanks again for your advice!

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Yes, I totally understand where you're coming from and have asked myself the same question. The MS is in International Affairs and the PhD in Communications. When I originally applied to the MS program, I was really feeling as though I wanted to have a specialization to add to my work as a journalist (i.e. have a specialization in International Affairs).

Now that I weigh 1 year to finish the MS vs. 5-6 years to finish the PhD at the program I was accepted to (which provides 2 years of funding only), I am beginning to question the PhD offer. The MS would take a year and cost $7,000 total b/c I have a scholarship. Unless I found outside funding, I would be taking two years of coursework with funding/stipend for the PhD and then would not have funding going forward to complete the dissertation.

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