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First Question about "upgrading" to PhD

Tiffany Bell

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My fiance and I both applied to the same four school semesters for our Masters. Thus far, we've both been accepted to the same two, which is great. My question is, two schools that have contacted him, have asked him to switch to a PhD program instead of a Masters in Mechanical Engineering. He has a 3.9 GPA and got a 780 Quant score. Why do they keep asking him to "upgrade" to a PhD? If he doesn't want to, what should he say? Originally, he wanted to do a PhD so it's great that he still may have the option but I also don't want him to still be stuck in school, especially as we'll both be struggling to pay as is.

Secondly, he's begun getting some financial aid offers. I haven't received any yet. My major is Accounting. We're both Honors students and I have relevant work experience and tons of leadership/community involvement. Is it me or does it seem like the science majors get a lot more funding? Can I hope to get some similar offers or no?

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Is it me or does it seem like the science majors get a lot more funding?

It's not just you. Science students routinely receive higher stipends than Social Science/Humanities students. Whether you can expect similar offers is hard to tell, but I would guess that his offers will be better than yours. (but I know nothing about Accounting programs funding, so I may be totally wrong.) Relatedly, departments often have more means to fund PhD students than Masters students, and that may be part of the reason why your boyfriend is being asked to switch to a PhD. As to what he should say to that, I'd suggest contacting current grads to try and find out if it's common practice in those departments for students to enroll in the PhD program so they can get funding, and then leave after they receive their Masters. Some schools do that, others will be very displeased if students do it.

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I say upgrade, especially if he gets funding. If he ends up not wanting to do his PhD after a few years, he can always do it until he qualifies for a masters degree and then drop out. (My program has info about when you can apply for your masters degree during your PhD track in the student handbook, so he could check that out.)

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