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NYU general psychology masters vs. PhD


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So I've been accepted to three PhD programs that were not on the top of my list. I've also just been accepted to NYU's general master's program. I'm tempted to do the masters and use the experience I gain to get into a better PhD program in two years. 

 

Is this absolutely crazy? The major cons are money: I would have to take out a ton of loans to get through the masters, and would be passing up on a funded PhD opportunity. Another drawback is that I'd essentially be adding two more years to my PhD trajectory.

 

Any advice is appreciated. 

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If you want to get a PhD, do not go into a master's program.  It is much better to embark on your PhD right away instead of wasting time and money on a master's program that you don't need (you did get into PhD programs even though they are not your top picks).  Master's programs, by and large, are money-makers for the university.  You will not get the attention you want out of master's faculty and you will just be repeating some of the coursework you get in a master's program later on in a PhD program. Do not waste your time on the NYU master's program.  If NYU really wanted you, they would find a way to expand their PhD offering.  It is possible (difficult, but possible) to change the way these private schools motivate themselves.  Attending an unnecessary and expensive master's program at a name brand school is not the way to encourage new thinking in our dysfunctional academic culture.

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Guest joshw4288

I agree with the above statement. If you have a funded PhD program to attend, do not waste your time and money on an MA. On another note, if you for some reason do want to do an MA to improve your application to "higher tier" programs in the future, I recommend attending an MA program at a university that does not have a PhD program. This way you get full attention in your MA program from faculty. On a final note, if you didn't want to attend any of the PhD programs that you did get admitted to then I'm not sure why you applied to those to begin with. 

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I would avoid that program in particular too. I got accepted there (after being rejected for the PhD) and it has expensive tuition, no funding, and (almost certainly) limited opportunities to collaborate with faculty.  Take the funded PhD. 

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Just in addition, they seem to admit EVERYONE they reject into it.  I don't know how prestigious it really is based on that fact that everyone and their brother just gets offered admission to it (although I haven't heard anything about the rep so I certainly don't know, I'm just going off the amount of acceptances).  You might be better off trying to get a lab manager job at a prestigious university where you will actually get paid and the association with a good name rather than go into debt taking classes you'll have to take again.  Or really consider the other offers and what you would be able to do there and if you will get significantly more out of a "better" program.

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Panzertorte, it largely depends on what area of psychology you are looking into (social, I gather from your profile) and which schools you would be looking at for a more prestigious PhD - for instance, do these top tier schools seem to want a MA before a PhD? Would having an MA bolster your credentials, meaning might you be able to get a publication out the NYU MA program? (Talk to current students to discern this, or even a particular professor you'd be interested in working with there in the future.) 

 

Also, you have to keep in mind that if you're not fully amped on the PhD programs you've been accepted to, ask yourself if you can stay in those programs for 5 years? Would you be happy? Would you be getting the intellectual stimulation/publication experience/expertise you desire? Five years is a helluva lot longer than two.

 

Taking another two years isn't necessarily a bad idea...after all, you'll likely live well into your 80s, and I don't assume you're 78 right now. And while MA programs might seem as though they're money makers for schools, this doesn't mean you can't turn your money suck into a money-maker (or reputation maker) for yourself during your stint. And, honestly, NYU is NYU...just like Harvard is Harvard. Many people (and employers) would pay for a basket weaving degree from these institutions...

 

These are just some flip-sides to consider. 

Edited by cloudless_climes
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You might be better off trying to get a lab manager job at a prestigious university where you will actually get paid and the association with a good name rather than go into debt taking classes you'll have to take again.  

 

yes!

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I am coming from an MS into a PhD and it was the best decision I ever made. However, it was a 2-year, research-based, mentor-based master's program that gave me invaluable experience and the opportunity to do a badass thesis and really expand my CV and confirm my research interests. It sounds like the NYU master's isn't the same type of program and wouldn't give you the same opportunities.


That being said, if you're not feeling the other PhD programs for whatever reason, think of the time and life commitment of the programs- if in doubt, take a year off.

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As someone who graduated from NYU's master program. I would agree that a lab manager job will give you all the benefits without having to pay the high tuition. And I think it also depends on how much fit do you have with the programs you got into. If they are descent programs, I would say go.

 

It is difficult to start off collaborating with faculty members as a master's student. But you can definitely get into one/more labs and start as an RA. Then you would do your master's thesis in a lab to get a good RL and good research experience. Both helped me a lot this year in my application. If you already have great RLs and sufficient experience in your application this year, I think this program might be less helpful. 

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I am coming from an MS into a PhD and it was the best decision I ever made. However, it was a 2-year, research-based, mentor-based master's program that gave me invaluable experience and the opportunity to do a badass thesis and really expand my CV and confirm my research interests. It sounds like the NYU master's isn't the same type of program and wouldn't give you the same opportunities.

That being said, if you're not feeling the other PhD programs for whatever reason, think of the time and life commitment of the programs- if in doubt, take a year off.

Could you please tell me which MS you are come from? :)

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I am coming from an MS into a PhD and it was the best decision I ever made. However, it was a 2-year, research-based, mentor-based master's program that gave me invaluable experience and the opportunity to do a badass thesis and really expand my CV and confirm my research interests. It sounds like the NYU master's isn't the same type of program and wouldn't give you the same opportunities.

That being said, if you're not feeling the other PhD programs for whatever reason, think of the time and life commitment of the programs- if in doubt, take a year off.

 

Can you let me know what program this is too, please? Sounds awesome! :)

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Without trying to derail this discussion, I was wondering if anyone had any information about the Masters in applied psychology at NYU Steinhardt.  My ultimate goal is to get my PhD in political/peace psychology and I am looking to get more research experience that is directly related to this subfield before applying to programs again. In the programs I'm looking at, most of the students do have masters degrees and the faculty that I have talked to emphasized the importance of having research experience that relates more specifically to what I want to pursue at the doctoral level. (as an aside, my own research has been in consumer decision making and stereotyping/prejudice reduction)

 

And since a few people have mentioned that NYU admits just about everyone, I was wondering what the average admittance rate for a masters program in psychology was. I know that most competitive PhD programs range from 5 - 10% but I've had a harder time finding information about masters. 

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NYU Master's admits about 50% of applicants, and about 50% of those people attend. I think it might be beneficial attending if you think you can get some solid research experience from it. Of course, there's no cut and dry rule to it. If make good connections, improve your GRE scores, write a better letter as a result of experience, and in addition, get more experience (maybe a publication), then yes, by all means, it's a good idea. Especially so if the research is in line with your current interests. Email some profs and see if they'd be willing to take you on as a Master's student. It may be a money-maker - but it's what you make of it! 

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