Jump to content

Applying to PhD with MS but no research experience?


Guest criminologist

Recommended Posts

Guest criminologist

I am in a professional MS program right now. I have decided I want to apply to PhD programs in the fall in case I cannot get a job in my field after graduation, due to lack of work experience. However the problem is my program is not exactly meant to prepare students for PHD and is designed more as terminal degree. E.g. There is no thesis required to graduate but instead it is a policy paper. Also when I was in college a few years ago I had not been considering grad school so I did not do any research (did not do a honors senior thesis), etc. The only thing I did research related was a research-based internship in my senior semester.

 

Can I still be competitive for PhD programs? Assuming all my other qualifications are excellent such as relevant background and courses taken, very high GPA in grad and undergrad, and GRE scores, statement of purpose, etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course its possible to be accepted without research experience

 

However it really is a critical piece of information, you might be better off volunteering in a lab or taking a course that involves a research thesis before applying

Link to post
Share on other sites

Why would you apply to PhD programs "in case you cannot get a job in your field"?  If lack of work experience is your problem in getting employed, getting a PhD is not going to solve that problem; getting work experience will.  There are some entry-level positions out there; your goal is to find them, not to apply to PhD programs.

 

And no, you will not be competitive for PhD programs if you don't have any research experience.  Can you get accepted?  Perhaps, but it would be a long shot, and most likely to less competitive programs.  The reason for this is because PhD programs are ABOUT doing research.  Knowing that you did well in undergrad classes is great, because it means you know the material well, but the goal of PhD programs is to produce researchers and to that end classes aren't nearly as important as starting a program of research.

 

If you don't want to be a researcher and you really want to go to work, I strongly encourage you not to apply to PhD programs.  Focus your energy on doing things to prepare yourself for the job market.  If you want to work after your MS/MA, it makes more sense to even do unpaid internships in the field or volunteer than it does to go to a PhD program.

 

ETA: If you don't have any research experience, how can you know that you want to do a PhD anyway?  You don't have experience doing the thing that most PhD students spend the majority of their time doing.

Edited by juilletmercredi
Link to post
Share on other sites
Why would you apply to PhD programs "in case you cannot get a job in your field"?  If lack of work experience is your problem in getting employed, getting a PhD is not going to solve that problem; getting work experience will.  There are some entry-level positions out there; your goal is to find them, not to apply to PhD programs.   And no, you will not be competitive for PhD programs if you don't have any research experience.  Can you get accepted?  Perhaps, but it would be a long shot, and most likely to less competitive programs.  The reason for this is because PhD programs are ABOUT doing research.  Knowing that you did well in undergrad classes is great, because it means you know the material well, but the goal of PhD programs is to produce researchers and to that end classes aren't nearly as important as starting a program of research.   If you don't want to be a researcher and you really want to go to work, I strongly encourage you not to apply to PhD programs.  Focus your energy on doing things to prepare yourself for the job market.  If you want to work after your MS/MA, it makes more sense to even do unpaid internships in the field or volunteer than it does to go to a PhD program.   ETA: If you don't have any research experience, how can you know that you want to do a PhD anyway?  You don't have experience doing the thing that most PhD students spend the majority of their time doing.
I have to respectfully disagree with this response, based upon some unusual history specific to Criminal Justice and Criminology as a field. There are only around 37 doctoral level programs in CJ/Crim but there are hundreds of CJ Masters programs out there due to LLEA (1968-1982) funding, and many of them are practice-oriented and have little to no capabillity to train in research based on primary sources. I am finishing my master's degree in Criminal Justice this semester. Every one of my CJUS professors was a JD, not a PhD, and while their advice was excellent, and the courses outstanding, the closest we got to research was lengthy papers based solely on secondary sources. The resources are simply not there in most of these programs, including mine, through no fault of the administration or faculty of such programs. The faculty at the 37 or so doctoral level programs understand this, since many of them, or at least some of their colleagues, came through LLEA supported CJ programs on their way to their PhDs. Further reading: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/164509.pdf http://www.adpccj.com/documents/2012survey.pdf
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.