Applying for PhD even though you only want MS

<p>I've noticed that most schools give financial aid to Phd students, but not Masters students. They also typically award Master's degrees to Phd students as they progress. </p>

<p>Do a number of students enroll in Phd programs soley for the financial aid, even though they only intend to go until they get the Masters? It seems this would be a fiscally intelligent plan as you would still attain an advanced degree at limited cost and you would get to start earning money sooner than you would if you continued on towards the Phd. However, I assume this sort of underhanded action may viewed negatively by Universities. Is this true? </p>

<p>Also, would you ever take advantage of this sort of opportunity, even if it is a bit dishonest? I think I would. Masters programs are expensive and I think I would take a bit of a Machiavellian approach to this situation.</p>

<p>a lot of schools have started to require you to pay back any stipends or funding they give you if you drop out of the PhD program before they will give you a masters degree...</p>

<p>^It's also far harder to get into a PHD program than a masters.</p>

<p>Yes, a large number of people do it and yes it's despised by universities. But it's still a free degree. The biggest issues are (1) it's significantly harder to get into PhD-track programs and (2) you may lose your advisor as a future work reference.</p>

<p>You can do what I did. I applied for the masters program, realized that I actually wanted to get my PhD, followed up with the academic programs I applied to in order to tell them that I really wanted to continue with my doctorate, had one of them give me money. Then I had such a horrible experience (office flooded and molded and they put my computer and desk in the basement hallway and forgot about me, paycheck snafus for months at a time, pneumonia, advisor bailed on me to be a Dean of Engineering elsewhere... not just maligned grad student things!) that everyone felt justified in allowing me to leave with just my masters. And part of my dignity.</p>

<p>But then you'd have to go through all that other crud, too. Probably not too fun.</p>

<p>Still want to get my PhD... Maybe I will eventually... Salaries are nice, though.</p>

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The biggest issues are (1) it's significantly harder to get into PhD-track programs

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<p>My question obviously assumes the applicant is capable of getting accepted into the PhD program.</p>

<p>I figured I'd state the obvious since this thread has no real questions to answer or any direction. It's clear you just wanted some comforting.</p>

<p>^^That's why I just stuck with the "tangential anecdote" approach.</p>

<p>I'm a couple years away from even having to make that decision. I just wanted to hear the opinions of people on this board towards this situation. Sorry for asking about a hypothetical situation and then proceeding to hurt your feelings by pointing out one of the assumed conditions of the situation.</p>

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It's clear you just wanted some comforting.

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<p>This is a pretty funny comment. Do people actually come on an anonymous internet forum to be comforted by people they don't know? Although I value all your opinions and insight, nothing said on this forum would ever have any sort of emotional impact on me.</p>

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Do people actually come on an anonymous internet forum to be comforted by people they don't know?

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<p>Very yes...</p>

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<p>I wasn't even aware that it was possible to flood in a city where there is nothing but corn and only one creek that never gets much higher than a trickle. Who knew?</p>

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<p>Welcome to teh interwebz.</p>

<p>Would've been funnier if you said interdweebz, but I guess that would be rude.</p>

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Do people actually come on an anonymous internet forum to be comforted by people they don't know?

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You're an obvious example. I mean, really, what were you looking for or expecting? As I said, there is no point or direction to this thread. Your two "questions": (1) Do people do it? It's a free degree. What do you think? (2) Do universities view it negatively? Uh, they funded someone expecting them to output research for the university for years and instead got a terminal MS student. Again, what do you think? Contrary to popular sayings, there are such things as stupid questions. And thus, the only meaningful part of the original post: Would you do it? You came here for nothing more than comfort. Shall we bake you some cookies?</p>

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I wasn't even aware that it was possible to flood in a city where there is nothing but corn and only one creek that never gets much higher than a trickle. Who knew?

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Chambana had what almost seemed like flooding last year. That creek in the engineering quad filled up all the way and spilled out.</p>

<p>If there is anyway you could whip me up a batch of internet peanut butter cookies I would be truly comforted. Thank You G-Shine. You are truly a great internet comforter.</p>

<p>this is the way to go for sure. but they will be looking out for it, so make sure you convey a passion for research and academia in your essays or you might be filtered out in the admissions process.</p>

<p>Just to be clear--I'm only a rising sophomore and don't even know if I want to go to graduate school at all. I only created this thread to get a gauge of what everyone's opinion was on this situation. I'm sure some of the more advanced engineering students on this board have witnessed similar situations with their classmates and I am curious of what they have seen take place.</p>

<p>@TheFlash Thank you. That is useful information to know.</p>

<p>My office was in the basement, and there was a foot of melting snow outside. Sooo... my office was flooded, but there wasn't actual flooding outside.</p>

<p>It would be very unethical. If you are only interested in a master's, you may save the capital or you may convince an employer to fund a master's program for you.</p>

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<p>One of the reasons I moved to Texas for grad school. After the 13 inches of snow overnight my sophomore year, I needed a breath of fresh air for a couple years.</p>

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<p>Generally speaking, just about everyone looks down on this practice unless they are one of the people that has done it or plans to do it. It isn't ethical and you basically won't be able to use any of your graduate professors as references that know that you did it, and believe me, all the professors that know you well enough to write a really good recommendation will know that you did it.</p>

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It would be very unethical. If you are only interested in a master's, you may save the capital or you may convince an employer to fund a master's program for you.

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<p>let me guess..you pay sticker price for cars as well :P</p>