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Dropping Out of a Phd

WhoAmI9WhoAmI9 2 replies2 threads New Member
edited May 2012 in International Students
What happens to international graduate students who drop out of a PhD program (in the US) with a masters? Can I apply for a job? take up an OPT? etc. What are my chances in landing with a job.

I have accepted admission to a PhD program from a relatively top school but I am having second thoughts about my ability to finish a PhD. It's weird; My decision seemed so obvious when I was applying.

If anyone has done it before please discuss how things are with you right now.
edited May 2012
6 replies
Post edited by WhoAmI9 on
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Replies to: Dropping Out of a Phd

  • b@r!um[email protected]!um 10241 replies175 threads Senior Member
    Hmm... That's an interesting question! I would recommend you seek the advice of an international student counselor at your university.

    Meanwhile, here are my thoughts. I'll assume that you are an F-1 student. (There are a few extra complications for J-1 students.)

    You can always drop out of your PhD program and apply for an H-1B work visa. USCIS doesn't care whether or not you finish your degree as long as you don't overstay your student visa.

    However, if you want to use post-graduation OPT instead of applying for a work visa, you'd need to finish the degree stated on your I-20. So at some point, you'd officially have to change your degree program and ask your International Student Office for a new I-20. What I am not sure about is how this would affect your OPT. There's a rule along the lines of, "Student need to be enrolled for at least one full academic year before qualifying for OPT." I am not sure if changing your degree program would "reset" the OPT clock or not.

    Two important differences for J-1 student: J-1 students cannot change their degree backward, e.g. from PhD to Masters (though of course you could still drop out of the PhD) and a 2-year home-stay rule might prevent a J-1 student from applying for a work visa in the US directly after grad school.
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  • WhoAmI9WhoAmI9 2 replies2 threads New Member
    Thanks [email protected]!um. That makes a lot of sense. I will check on how the OPT status works. Also, would you be able to answer how often international students drop out of Phds for a job and if they have trouble finding a job when compared to a regular BS/MS international student? (I did my bachelor's in the U.S).
    Thanks a lot for your help.
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  • b@r!um[email protected]!um 10241 replies175 threads Senior Member
    Also, would you be able to answer how often international students drop out of Phds for a job and if they have trouble finding a job when compared to a regular BS/MS international student?
    I can't give you a general answer. Drop-out rates vary dramatically even within a single discipline. My own PhD program has a completion rate of 90%; I also know of PhD programs in my field with 30% completion rates.

    If you are wondering how many students drop out of your own PhD program and what sort of job prospects they have, older students in your program can probably tell you. (I wouldn't necessarily ask professors at this point. Not the best way to make a good first impression.)
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  • sefagosefago 1713 replies18 threads Senior Member
    It is quite rare for international students to drop out relative to Americans. Infact they are less likely to drop out than American students because American students can drop out anytime and then find a job. International students on the other hand have no such luxury. You will have to transfer to another school (which might be difficult since schools might not want to accept someone undergoing a PhD) to have access to OPT. Then searching for an employer who would give you an H1B + Interviews at the same time While trying to complete a PhD.
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  • b@r!um[email protected]!um 10241 replies175 threads Senior Member
    Foreign students at Stanford certainly have no trouble getting sponsored for an H-1B, but I don't know how typical that is. That's why I didn't want to make a general statement.

    Would you mind sharing which experience your statement is based on?
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  • vienneselightsvienneselights 395 replies16 threads Member
    @barium

    What are you studying?

    /hazards chem engineering
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