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Has anyone ever heard of someone in two programs at the same time? I'm applying to Phd programs in the Fall for Rhet/Comp, but I also want to get my Master's in Library Science. One of my top schools has good programs in both fields. What's to stop me from getting my MLIS and Phd at the same time? Sort of like a double major program, I guess?

I'm already becoming accustomed to working on my thesis during classwork. Since I want to graduate by summer, I'll have to do the bulk of my thesis while taking full time classes. So I could theoretically do the Phd program, and start the MLIS coursework once I get to dissertation hours. The MLIS program doesn't require a thesis, so it's just all coursework.

Is this possible? Or am I crazy?

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I have heard of people doing part time double masters programs in different schools and two degree programs in the same school that are packaged together, for example, JD/MBA. I have never heard of separate enrollment in a PhD program plus something else. PhD programs are full time. I doubt this will work, but ask your school to see if you can create a program that will work for you.

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I have a professor who did a double PhD in English and Writing, so it isn't entirely unheard of - although it is a LOT of work. I would check with the departments you are applying to to see what their particular regulations are.

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Check with your program. They will probably tell you no, but it's worth asking, if it's something you really want to pursue. They will probably tell you that you should complete one first and then begin on the other.

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Yeah, most schools have rules that you can be enrolled in only one program at a time, unless the two programs are "joint" or concurrent (like a master's that is accompanied by certificates in various subfields, etc.). But it would depend on the school--you can probably check their graduate catalog for those kinds of regulations.

As far as whether or not it's crazy... yeah. It's crazy. :P If you could do half-time in each and still be funded, that might work, but trying to do a full-time program and a part-time, or worse, two full time programs, seems like a recipe for burnout. Makes my brain hurt just thinking about it.

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Given how long the average US English PhD takes to complete even with only two years of coursework, I'm not sure "no courses" means "time for an MLIS on the side." In fact, it could just add the equivalent of an MLIS length to your overall PhD time -- in which case, you might as well get them consecutively rather than concurrently.

Have you heard of "alt-acs"? They're PhDs who go into/pursue careers other than the tenure-track. Often, they end up working in libraries and special collections. You may not actually need an MLIS, in that case, to work in a library/archival/information context. Check out this informal census: http://altacademy.wu...rts/who-we-are/

Edit: I realize the scare-quotes and they-ing of alt-acs might imply a sort of us/them divide which I didn't intend, particularly as I find that career path rather appealing. So I'm making an awkward comment about it! Resolved.

Edited by A Proper Pun

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Our school would allow you (potentially) to do an interdisciplinary degree- but you'd just get one diploma, not two.

You would, for instance, be accepted into the PhD English program, and then find an advisor in Library Sciences who wanted to work with you, and do work that straddled the two fields.

Not quite the same as doing two degrees at once, though, which I think most schools might have a problem with.

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A few schools, such as San Jose State University, have online Masters in Library Science programs; it could be something you pursue during the summer or very very part-time. Of course, you'd want to check to make sure that you aren't violating any policies with your PhD program. It wouldn't be worth risking your funding!

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Greg Mankiw did a PhD in Economics and a JD at Harvard back in the stone ages..

But he essentially completed a year of grad classes whilst in undergrad, and, what's more distressing, he applied to both programs separately and got in separately. And then quit the JD because Econ was more interesting.

Though anyone with a 4.0 and a 170+ can get into law school

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Joint JD PhD programs aren't at all uncommon, in fact I can't think of many law schools that don't have such an option.

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I know someone who did a PhD and MLS concurrently. The PhD program knew about the MLS degree, but he did it at a different school. Considering the state of the job market right now, it's really not a terrible idea. My program actually had an info session for PhD students on earning an MLS, because it might be helpful in the job search.

I definitely would give yourself the first year or two to just focus on your PhD program, to get a sense of the expectations and work load. I would also suggest you look for an inexpensive option, because Library degrees really are not as name-conscious as PhD programs. My friend who did both really regretted the $$ he invested to go to a top program, because he realized he could have gone to a lower ranked program for less $$ and the same benefits. Also, here are a number of reputable online programs (which are based in a brick-and-mortar school, so we're not talking UPheonix here) that could really help you with the time-management side of things.

On one level, it's a crazy things to do, but then isn't he PhD program in and of itself a little nutty? Be careful that you don't bight off more than you can chew with coursework or finances.

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I would be wary about stating this on a PhD application. While it may seem like a good combination to you, most PhD admissions committees will likely see it as a potential distraction from your dissertation/academic research. Furthermore PhD programs, above all, are looking to place graduates in tenure-track academic positions. Although some PhDs do go on to work in prestigious academic libraries, it is by no means a common or easy path, and I would be worried that admissions committees might see your wish to pursue an MLIS as indicative of a lack of dedication to/interest in academia.

Unless you feel that you can really strongly sell the MLIS as being necessary to your academic work (interest in archival systems, book history, paperwork, cataloguing, etc) I would step back and think carefully. While it might seem like a pragmatic decision, it could potentially do more harm than good.

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Apply to the Ph.D. first and then after/during your first year start talking to people about the MLIS. I investigated doing another MA while doing my Ph.D. and was given the option. My school has graduate minors, so I just did that instead, but it is definitely do-able. Good luck!

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