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Who applied to phd programs with a masters?


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Hi guys,


Anyone on here who did a masters before phd to raise GPA or get more research experience care to share how phd applications went? Were you majorly questioned in interviews about poor undergrad performance? Did schools seem to look at your MS work much more heavily or everything about equal?


Do to a untreated medical issue (pretty bad ADD), my undergrad GPA is a 3.3 but MS is 4.0. All of my MS grades are like 97%+ and I have the highest grade in almost all of my classes. That uGPA isnt that bad but if you were to look at the transcripts, I basically have half As, half Bs and then one C or D every year and im sad to say that the Cs and Ds are in difficult but important classes. It looks horrible! In my SOP, I think I will mention that a resolved medical conidtion accounts for the poor grades. I think I might also ask one of my letter writers mention that I have top grades in all of my classes and that my undergrad performance is not indicative of my phd performance.


How did phd applications after masters go for you guys? Did anyone ask a letter writer to say something like that for them?


Thanks for sharing!

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I had earned a Masters before I applied to PhD programs.  My BS was in Forensic Science (basically I did everything "Pre Med" students did except physics plus I got to take really interesting bio-science based Major classes), MA in Anthropology.  My GPA in Undergrad was ok but in my MA it was much higher.  Anthro programs at the PhD level rejected me all 3 times I applied (including this one) but I tried another approrach to a non-anthropology program but that is a much better fit for my research and personal interests/goals and I just got accepted this week! 


I think the big take-away message is to find a good fit.  People told me this everytime I applied but I don't think I really understood what that meant until I actually DID find a program where I would "fit".  I have always been worried about GRE scores, not having the same research experiences as other applicants, etc but I really think that this time I was more focused on the important point: Will I be a good fit?  This program is geared toward graduating people who can teach AND be excellent researchers.  I've done research through my Masters and I've been an adjunct at the university and community college level for 4 years now.  Combined with my research goals and relationships with potential advisors that I've been building to find a good place to fit in the program, I think that helped.  In fact, they even told me that the Masters was a plus because that tells them that, at least, I know how to do research at a basic level.


  It's a rough road and once you get in it will be another set of challenges and opportunities!  I'm excited!


I wish you luck!

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Thanks for the input! I will luckily have 5.5 years of reserach experieince when I apply, including multiple presentations, a conference paper, and a peer reviewed paper. I will also have an outstanding LOR from my current PI (he already wrote an LOR for for me for something else and it basically says that I am among the top few grad students he has ever had and that I will be an excellent reseracher). From these research experiences, I know exactly what I want to study for my phd and have been working with my PI to identify perfect fit programs. I will apply to 8-10 programs that place their major focus on exactly what I want to study and there are at a minimum 3 perfect fit PIs at each program. I have also been working on reading all of the major papers in my field so I know alot about this area.


Thanks for the advice! Alot of people seem to say that the most important thing is finding programs with a great fit. If this is the case then I think that I should be in pretty good shape. Hopefully they focus on my fit for the program and not the undergrad grades!


Also, congrats on your offer!

Edited by bsharpe269
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