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Applying to 2 programs within the same department


homelessscholar

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I'm hoping to gain some clarity on an issue I have been struggling with. So I am currently in a PHD program but have been without an advisor since the summer. Unfortunately my advisor left to a new program and I was unable to go with him. He is in a city I will not be able to move to and the funding is crappy. So unfortunately I have to transfer to a new program. I have already completed 2 applications to programs in the exact same field of study. However I stumbled upon a newer program that isn't exactly the same but the research fit is perfect and the ideology might actually be a better fit than the program I am currently in. Unfortunately (or not) it is housed in the same department as one of the 2 programs I already applied to. My question is would it be a good idea to apply anyway or would applying to 2 programs within the same department make me look confused?

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I think if your research interests are quite different from one another in your applications then you will definitely look unfocused and confused. But if you are essentially expressing the same interests and putting a slightly different spin on your applications based on the uniqueness, strengths and resources of each of these programs, then I think you should be fine.

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You should inquire as to whether there is an agreement between departments where if one feels that you're not the right fit for them, they can pass it on to the other department. Cuts down on apps for you and would avoid any confusion. I know Stanford and Columbia do this (but for literature).

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