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Advice on switching programs...please help!


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Hi all,


I am in a bit of a predicament and looking for some guidance. In brief, and without giving away too much identifying information, I am a second semester PhD student in a new and underfunded program and I am unhappy with it. For this reason, I applied to new programs in a different field.


Fortunately, I was accepted into my first choice with a fellowship. I am very grateful, but I am unsure of how to confront the faculty of my current program with this news. 


Owing to the fact that we are half way through the spring semester, they would not be able to replace me until the fall, regardless of when I tell them. They are aware that I am unhappy in my current situation, but I have been chastised a bit for it. There is occasionally departmental drama and it makes me uncomfortable.


I feel like the right thing to do would be to sit down with one of the professors that I'm closer to (and that I spoke with last semester about being unsure of the program fit) and explain to him that I have been accepted to another program and I am considering accepting their offer. My fear is that once they find out that I may be leaving, they will oust me from the program. In addition to worrying about the reaction of my new school, I quite frankly do not want the blemish on my academic record.


I think that if I wait to tell them it would be dishonest and they will be upset. It feels like I might burn bridges either way.


Does anyone have any advice of how I can go about this to stay on good terms with all parties?


Thanks in advance!


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To some extent you have already been dishonest in that you applied to different schools despite giving the implication you were comitted to the current one.



The best advise however, is to be tactifully honest.  Sit down with the relevant professors, tell them the situation, praise what you can and ensure them that you valued their time and respect them.


Be clear on what you want, whether it is complete severance or remaining to work with them on certain projects.


Professors are generally understanding people, of course, no one likes putting effort into something only to have it leave.  I doubt this will hurt your academic career, but it may well leave a sour taste on the relevant professors and department if you do not handle this with care.

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