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Surprise MA acceptance, but no funding. Do they really want me?

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Hello all,

Earlier this week I was rejected by a political science PhD program, but I was offered a spot in an MA program with no funding. I did not get into the other PhD programs to which I applied, and this is a terrific school that will certainly boost my chances for a PhD admission in the next go-around, so I'm very eager to go.

I'm worried now that 1) no funding is a signal they don't care to have me in the first place and 2) negotiating from zero will be impossible. I've reached out a POI to speak about the program and plan to inquire about the funding situation.

Has anyone found themselves in the same/similar position and ended up with funding? Obviously, I cannot leverage offers from other schools, but there's a very strong chance I'll have a field-relevant job offer soon that I'm hoping to use as leverage. 

Thanks for your input, guys :)

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Typically lack of funding for an MA program isn't a sign that they don't want you. Funding for MA programs is far less common than funding for PhD program, especially in the social sciences.

Why do you think you didn't get into PhD programs? Is it a problem that attending an MA program can fix? If you do think you need an MA before advancing to a PhD program, is there a lower-cost way for you to do that - like attending an MA program at a public university in your home state? Just because this is the only MA offer you have this year doesn't mean you should take it; maybe you should apply to a mix of PhD and MA programs next year and see what happens.

That job offer you talk about - is it work in the field that you'd like?

I don't think an MA program is going to respond well to a job offer as leverage. They're not really comparable offers.

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I had a similar experience last year. Applied to PhD programs. Rejected from all but was offered acceptance into one university's MA program. I did ask about funding for MA students and was told that internal funding is typically not offered to MA students, only PhD students. I reapplied again this year.

If you think attending an MA program will help your changes getting into PhD programs, maybe you should look into MA programs that do offer funding for next application season. 

I also don't think that a job offer would work well as leverage for funding at an MA program.

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