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I posted this in the general section as well... But I think that this is better placed here:

So... my situation is a little weird.

I am currently in a phd program in economics at a third tier college. I have a BS in Physics from Imperial College London, which is a top 10 school in Physics internationally. I guess I severely underrated myself when I applied for some colleges in the US. BUT.. i was out of academia for 2 years and became really rusty. I had a terrible first semester and got a 2.25. My second semester went well, and I got a 3.0, which was well above the average. The program I am in is at UCF. And I am telling you... this program is effing mental! One professor who taught for both semesters takes pride in marking incredibly harshly. I could go on and on about the nightmares... But, this is me just trying to explain my terrible grades. Anyway, my GPA is too low for me to take the qualifying exams and I am being shafted down to the Masters program.

BUT... after a year of experience in the US education system, I think I have a decent chance at getting into a good Masters program (unfunded) and positioning myself to enter a funded PhD program in the same institution after a year. I am thinking along the lines of Texas A&M or maybe some of the UT's (not necessarily Austin). This all assumes that I do really well and get A's in the Masters program I apply for. I think that is entirely doable! It is really hard to explain why I am so confident after such a terrible start at UCF. But I am. I am completely acclimated and now have some background in Economics, which I didn't have when I began.

Deadlines have pretty much gone for the PhD programs, which is why I am inclined towards the masters. But, I really don't want to declare my UCF background. It ruins my shining background and is completely unnecessary to get me into a program. I really do not think I need to show any economics background to get into some programs if I enroll myself in some local intermediate micro and macro courses and get A's in those again, which is what I did to get into UCF.

Does anyone know whether the places I am applying will somehow know that I have attended another college? I plan on leaving before being dismissed. Also, does anyone have any suggestions as to where I should/could apply given my background. I'm all ears!!

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