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One Year Masters Query.


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Helloooo. As this incredibly stressful application season comes to an end I find myself choosing between a few partially funded masters programs. One program is only one year, which seems far to brief to make proper relationships with professors, cultivate a strong PhD application and what not. I'm wondering if it is possible to ask about extending the masters for at least another semester, while maintaining full-time status (which the scholarship is contingent upon). Is this an outlandish request? 

 

Blarg.

Edited by MariElizabeth
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I believe that this is possible depending on the department. While attending an open house on Monday I was told that although the program can be completed in a year, most students take 3 or 4 semesters. The department apparently ensures that those students retain full-time status (for scholarship purposes) during the semesters when they're technically part-time. I'm not sure if this is true of all departments though. If I chose this program, I'll definitely extend it to 3 or 4 semesters to give myself enough time to form relationships with profs and produce a decent writing sample for PhD apps. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I believe that this is possible depending on the department. While attending an open house on Monday I was told that although the program can be completed in a year, most students take 3 or 4 semesters. The department apparently ensures that those students retain full-time status (for scholarship purposes) during the semesters when they're technically part-time. I'm not sure if this is true of all departments though. If I chose this program, I'll definitely extend it to 3 or 4 semesters to give myself enough time to form relationships with profs and produce a decent writing sample for PhD apps.

May I ask which school? I notice we have been accepted to a few of the same ones. Also, congrats!

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A one year masters can allow you to make those kinds of professional relationships, but you have to approach them in a different way from a traditional two year MA.  Rochester has a one year MA, and year after year, I think the biggest mistake people make is trying to apply for PhD programs in that first semester.  When that happens, not only are people overly stressed during a semester that, in the best of situations, will be stressful (the first year of grad study is, in my opinion, the hardest as far as overcoming imposter syndrome), but they are also missing all of the things that the MA is supposed to teach. 

 

If you want to do a one year MA, my advice is to go into it with the understanding that you will be applying for PhD programs during the fall AFTER you finish the MA.  Use the MA itself to make your contacts and develop as a writer and a scholar.  Use the "gap year" to stay involved--stay in the area of your MA.  Sit in on a class with a prof who you connected with (lots of times, those profs will let you sit in unofficially--ie--for free).  Go to a couple of conferences.  Get feedback on application materials.  Get a job and put together a savings bundle as an emergency fund for those lean years as a PhD student.

 

Doing that will make you a stronger candidate on the application market, and you will surely enjoy the program more without the added stress.

 

As a side note, I've been at this school for three years.  I only know of one person who was accepted to PhD programs after applying during their first semester.  I know of at least five who got into excellent programs (CUNY, Rochester, Indiana) after taking a gap year (and doing intelligent things with that time).

 

Take it with a grain of salt (I did a 2 year MA myself), but from what I've seen, a one year MA has its benefits, and it can be just as effective (and somewhat less expensive) when approached the right way.

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