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PhD got delayed cause I was late with apps, should I do thesis research for the next year?


drpepper711

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After much considerationI have decided to do a PHD in Economics and International Development, but now my application is too late for September admission. This means I have until Sept 2014 til I start. Would it be wise to start my thesis research right now? Do a literature review and do some field work? I already have a Masters in a related field.

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Sorry I may have been unclear. I meant if it looks like i will only get accepted into Sept 2014 program, should I start my thesis research now while I have a year to kill?

Edited by drpepper711
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Of course, as with anything, it depends, but I'd actually say no, at least not heavily. You're going to have plenty of time to work on your thesis during the time you're actually IN a program, you're going to be doing coursework for at least the first year, and exams after that (others may disagree, but I didn't do any meaningful thesis work during either of these phases), and I can almost guarantee that your project is going to change.

 

It also depends on how you feel about your application profile right now. But if your application profile is solid, I'd say find related work, do some travelling, just relax a bit. Once you start your program, you're going to treasure the year you actually had free time.

 

EDIT: Case in point... this is my first post here in probably 2 years! I recently remembered how helpful this forum was to me when I was applying... hope to post more from now on!

Edited by wtncffts
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Thanks for your response Wtncffts. One other thought I had was if I do pick a topic, start a lit review, I can also focus all my coursework on a specific topic so it can contribute to my thesis. 

Edited by drpepper711
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Thanks for your response Wtncffts. One other thought I had was if I do pick a topic, start a lit review, I can also focus all my coursework on a specific topic so it can contribute to my thesis. 

 

Well, you should have some idea of your project now, so there's no harm in reading and studying up on areas you think useful - but as I said earlier, I wouldn't treat it as anything like a full-time job. As for coursework, I guess that really depends on the particular structure of the program you end up in. In our program, you have to take two core courses in two subfields and a methods course, so much of what I read was not especially directly useful for my thesis, though mostly very interesting. 

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Considering you haven't gotten in anywhere yet, you're much better off doing something to strengthen your application for next season (e.g. interning, lab work, publishing papers with professors etc) than spending time on what you think your thesis will be on. Chances are it'll change and you'll be wasting your time, and it could actually decrease your chances of getting in anywhere when you consider the opportunity cost.

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