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One thesis chapter or several papers brought together?


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This year I am applying to phd programmes to continue my studies in political economy, but I could not decide which of my papers I should submit as my writing sample.

The problem is that due to the page limit I can either submit part of my MA thesis, or combine my three 6-page position papers that have been written for my labor politics course. I am not sure about submitting a chapter of my thesis, because a seperate chapter might not represent my research very well and its subject is welfare state regimes, although my primary interest area for my PhD applications is political economy of labor.

Do you have any recommendation about the two options mentioned above?

Thanks in advance!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Combining three papers sounds like a lot of work. It also sounds like the content will be less interesting and original than your thesis. Can you add a summary of the other chapters before/after then one you submit? You might also inquire about submitting the entire thesis even though it exceeds the limit - many times you'll find out that that's acceptable. Otherwise maybe put the full version online somewhere and provide a link for your readers, or submit the whole thing with an explanation of which part to read? There are more (better) options when you submit the thesis.

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I don't think it matters that you worked on something for your MA thesis and want to change focus for your PhD. I don't think the adcoms are looking at your writing sample to figure out whether you are already good at what you plan to do while there. They want to see that you can conduct research and put together a coherent argument. If you can show that with an excerpt of your thesis, I vote for that, but definitely say it's an excerpt. (But first and foremost, I like fuzzylogician's suggestion to ask if you can submit the whole thing.)

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