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1 year vs 2 year MA?


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I'm looking at MA as well as PhD programs: what do you think of 1 year MA programs? I would only do an MA if I struck out on PhDs- I want a PhD eventually. So, I would be using the MA to improve my application.

But with a 1 year MA, it would seem like applying next fall would be crazy- none of the profs would know me, and I would have no MA grades yet. Thus I would do the 1 year MA, apply the next fall after completing it, leaving a gap of a year where I would need to... get a job, or something, so as not to starve.

Of course, the 2 year MAs avoid this problem. Get to know people in year 1, apply for the PhDs in year 2, transition smoothly to a PhD after year 2.

The one exception to this problem would be that 1 year MAs seem to frequently accept their graduates as PhD students, but then you're stuck at that institution.

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If you're in a 1-year program, and would definitely be wanting to start a PhD the year after, then yes, you would have a problem.

You'd either have to (1) try to build relations very quickly at your MA school, (2) still mostly rely on undergrad profs, (3) some combination of the two, or (4) take a year off in between. If I were you, I'd list out the pros and cons of each.

I have a couple peers in the one-year program; they're already pulling their hair out over the timetable looming in front of them. Unless your MA program is going to be a cake-walk, seriously consider how jam-packed a year it will be - and that you have to fit PhD apps in there somewhere, too.

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I have a friend in that situation, and what she did is move to the city where she's doing her one-year MA at the beginning of the summer, before her September start date. She started meeting up with her advisor once a week about her MA thesis research, so by the time the fall rolled around and her programme officially began, she already knew her advisor and a few of the other professors very well, and they were more than happy to write LOR's to support her PhD application.

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