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How do you apply for a PhD while you are in a MA program (LORs)? 
5th-May-2013 03:12 am
I have a question about how people apply to doctoral programs while they are in a master's program without taking a year or more off.
Cause let's say you're in a 1 year master's program that begins in September. And most PhD apps are due December 1. You can't possibly ask your professors who you've barely gotten to know in a couple of months, and probably barely even submitted anything to get graded, to write you a letter of recommendation for those applications, right? And furthermore, you can't really write much about your master's degree experience or thesis in your SOP since you only just started your degree? So basically, I guess my question is, if you're doing a 1-year MA do most people apply the following year
& take a gap year (a year wasted)? Or am I missing something here. Cause the only other thing I thought about was to get undergrad profs to write the LORs, but I don't think they would like it if you're in a MA program-that would look weird, right or no?
Comments 
5th-May-2013 08:44 am (UTC)
Where are you applying? December 1 seems like a really early deadline. That said, you can ask your advisor/tutor/supervisor at least for a recommendation, and they'll probably give it based on any work you've done already.
21st-May-2013 06:13 pm (UTC)
That doesn't seem too early - my earliest PhD deadline was December 15.
5th-May-2013 01:49 pm (UTC)
You can't possibly ask your professors who you've barely gotten to know in a couple of months, and probably barely even submitted anything to get graded, to write you a letter of recommendation for those applications, right?

I know people who have done that, and got in.

Start by letting your advisors/supervisors and even course profs know that your intention is to get into a Ph.D after this master's. Talk to them about their work, and about yours. Ask if they have advice. If you are remaking something from undergrad to use as your writing sample, ask if they can advise you on how to best edit it.

"Barely gotten to know" isn't a precise phrase. I'm sure you have friends whom it took you a few days or a few hours to learn a lot about and bond with, and people whom you've been in the same classes/workplace/whatnot for years whom you don't know at all. It takes interest and effort on both sides (although when two people click, it may not seem like effort) to speed up the process, and it will be harder for those of us who aren't naturally gregarious --- but it's worth it.
5th-May-2013 06:25 pm (UTC)
My real answer is that I have no idea, and that this is one of many reasons I did a 2-year MA, heh. I do know people who've done 1 year programs and gotten into solid PhD programs; my impression is that they go out of their way very early on to establish a rapport with their professors so that the profs are able to write at least somewhat informative LORs.

Also: I imagine there ought to be a graduate advisor or some such in your MA department who would have some good advice about this; you're surely not the first person to worry about how best to line up their MA with PhD applications.
21st-May-2013 06:12 pm (UTC)
You either take a gap year, or you get your undergraduate professors to write you a recommendation. And no, that doesn't look weird; it's expected. Those are the people who know you best, and can vouch for your performance as a student. In fact, even if you do decide to take a gap year (which is not a "year wasted." Any year of your life is not a waste, it's just a year out of grad school) you should still probably have one or two LoRs from undergraduate professors.
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