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Nomination for GA Funding v. Better Prestige?

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A greeting to all; my user name says it all at this point as I am climbing this academic latter, working a job I hate, and attempting to raise a young family. By the way, please forgive my writing as I am exhausted and will continue to be for the next three days.


I have in front of me an offer of admission with a nomination for GA funding (never heard of that) for a Master's program in Sociology. I have until 19-April (not 15-April) to accept the offer, but funding decisions will not be known for a "few weeks". This is a two year/36 unit program


A couple days ago I received an offer from a UK university to accept a spot in their Philosophy program. Since the course of study will be online with an option to attend one or more seminars, there will be no funding and the M.A. will be considered a taught degree which may signal me as no less/more than a TA prospect for any future PhD programs; I am good with that, I think. I have until 5-June to accept this offer. This is a one year/36 unit program.


Prestige is definitely on the side of the latter rather than the former, and while an Assistanship would be nice I am apprehensive about committing to the former only to find out that I will neither be able to make rent nor fall back to any of my other options until next application season.


In an attempt to insert some logic into this decision, I have opted to use the PhD as the backdrop to measure against; that to say, I am basing my prospects in terms of my own talents, apptitude, and each potential academic environment (where do I fit in most) in assessing which discipline I am more likely to survive. Consequently, I know which I am better suited for, but my family comes first and I need to be sure that I am making the right choice risk! As of now, we are in a meager though not dire econmic situation and I am cynical that my B.A. is going to change this any time soon (FYI, I am taking the CBEST in July). However, we are not at all materialistic and my spouse almost demands that I go all the way to PhD, i.e. on-campus housing will be fine even if for a few years.


Sorry so long, but I really do need some advice that is external to our little circle. Which direction- if any- should I lean toward?


Many thanks, and best regards

Caffeine Junkie

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I think you really need to decide which field you would like to pursue before you can make a choice.  It's pretty much impossible to compare the 2 degrees.  I would be wary of doing a MA in either of these fields without funding though. 

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Thank you so much for takng the time to answer my post. If it is not any trouble, may I ask if pressed into doing one of these unfunded, assuming my GPA and dissertation are very good, can serve as a means to an end, an funded end at the PhD level?


Is there anything other than debt and risk (e.g. stigma) that render an unfunded M.A. in these fields a bad idea; if so can it be reversed?


Once again, many thanks for the first reply!

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It could be a stepping stone to a funded PhD, but there are lots of other stepping stones that won't require going into as much, if any, debt. For example, getting more research experience, improving your GRE, taking a graduate course in your area of interest and doing well in it, improving your writing sample, etc.

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