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Transferring to a different PhD program/University. Please help!


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I am in my first year of a PhD program in Business Management. At first, I liked my program but I am getting more and more dissatisfied with it. I do not think I am getting a solid training when it comes to coursework. I believe my current research interests are no longer a good fit with that of the faculty. I do not feel motivated and challenged. In addition, there is a substantial TAing requirement which places extra constraint on the time I could spend on developing my research skills and my own research projects. That being said, I am grateful to my department for the opportunity to work and study here; I just believe my career goals would be better served somewhere else. My advisor is also a very nice person and I have tons of respect for him but I do not feel like staying here only because of this. I have decided to apply to other PhD programs in fall, and would very much appreciate advice on how to go about this. How and when should I tell my advisor? Will he be offended? :( Will he still write me a strong letter of recommendation? How will other programs look at it? Has anyone successfully done it? 

I have a 4.0 GPA in my current program, good grades from undergrad, strong rec. letters from undergrad professors, solid research experience.  

I'd greatly appreciate any help! 

Edited by Greece
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A multitude of things.

1) Graduate school isn't really about coursework. You're supposed to get what you need out of it and then move on.

2) Why did you come to this program in the first place? What attracted you to it? I ask because it seems like there's nothing you like about it now but, surely there were at least a few things you liked when you decided where to go.

3) How substantial is the TA requirement? Why do you think this is distracting you from your research projects and skill development? I ask because, depending on your career goals, being a graduate student may be the easiest part of your life. That is, as a faculty member, I teach more than I did in grad school, have service work (articles to review, committees to serve on, student theses to supervise), and am still expected to produce research of my own. So, if you're aiming to be a faculty member, you're going to need to learn how to better handle all of these competing time commitments.

4) Your advisor is most likely going to be offended. They will have invested two years in you and your professional development, after all. You should tell them as soon as you can, imo. Actually, if I were you, I wouldn't go back in the fall at all since you've already decided to finish your PhD elsewhere. No one here on an anonymous internet forum can tell you how your advisor will react or whether he'll still write you a strong rec letter. That said, programs will be looking for a letter from your advisor as part of your application.

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