Applying for PHD vs MS

<p>I'm planning to apply for graduate school in Statistics. I'm not positive I want to go for a PHD, but I know I at least want to get my MS. Because PHD students get first "dibs" on financial assistance I would like to be admitted into the PHD program wherever I attend even if I choose to leave after getting my MS. </p>

<p>My question is, if you apply to a PHD program and they do not admit you, do you still get considered for acceptance into the Master's program? I can't find any information about this on the schools websites.</p>

<p>Some schools I'm looking at are:
Colorado School of Mines
CSU - Fort Collins
UC - Boulder and Denver(Biostatistics)</p>

<p>If you don't want the PhD, don't waste everyone's time and effort applying for it knowing you'll drop out after the MS is awarded. They are investing in you to contribute to your field and go the whole way. That is why they get better funding. Do more research on the PhD option before making any decisions.</p>

<p>Also, search a variety of MS stat programs - it looks like you're limiting yourself to one area. I'm not sure how it works in your field, but in my field the funding can vary greatly at the MA/MS level and not all programs are ones you pay full-penny for. Some offer at least partial funding, scholarships, etc. So look around and make sure you've exhausted those options, if there are any.</p>

<p>Some schools have an option on the application where you can ask to be considered for a masters if you do not get accepted into the doctorate program. But some make you reapply for the masters. If you're unsure, contact the schools you're looking at and ask how that process is handled.</p>

<p>
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If you don't want the PhD, don't waste everyone's time and effort applying for it knowing you'll drop out after the MS is awarded.

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<p>You're putting some words in my mouth. I said I wasn't sure about going for a PHD but I AT LEAST wanted my Master's. If I can find funding while I'm getting my Master's that will carry on to my PHD then I will most likely continue.</p>

<p>
[QUOTE]
Also, search a variety of MS stat programs - it looks like you're limiting yourself to one area. I'm not sure how it works in your field, but in my field the funding can vary greatly at the MA/MS level and not all programs are ones you pay full-penny for.

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</p>

<p>I agree with you. I would consider, and most likely go to, a top 10 school if I was accepted and received a lot of scholarships/funding but that is unlikely I think. I have a good GPA but I'm going to University of Colorado-Colorado Springs for my undergrad and I don't have any research or anything exceptional in my background.</p>

<p>I also really want to stay in Colorado for the rest of my life. I love it and all my family is here.</p>

<p>
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Because PHD students get first "dibs" on financial assistance I would like to be admitted into the PHD program wherever I attend even if I choose to leave after getting my MS.

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<p>It's not "first dibs." They are two completely different programs that may have two completely different end results. MA/MS programs are usually applied and lead to industry. PhD programs are research-based and typically lead to academia. PhD students get good funding because the school is investing in them to make contributions to their field while they are there, beyond the first 2 years of courses by doing a dissertation and continuing research. In masters programs, the students will be gone in 1-2 years after courses are complete (if full-time), so there are fewer contributions made and therefore more of a short-term commitment with fewer perks.</p>

<p>Unless you are sure that a PhD is what you want to do, don't apply to those programs. If you're 50/50, applying to a PhD program and then dropping out after the masters thesis is complete doesn't look good, and you may sever your ties with those advisors and peers depending on the situation and why you quit. If you "at least" want your masters, then go for a masters.</p>

<p>Maybe it depends on the field, but I think NovaLynnx is exaggerating how bad it is to drop after getting your Master's. I'm pretty sure I've seen websites say that people unsure of Masters or PhD should apply for the PhD, and I've definitely heard a Professor (of Statistics) <em>suggest</em> applying to PhD programs, even for people that are leaning toward a Masters.</p>

<p>It may depend on the field. I've looked into a few different programs, and the feedback I've gotten from those students was that it was frowned upon, and that it is even worse to try to transfer (which isn't good anyway, since you may have to start over at the new institution if everything doesn't transfer nicely). </p>

<p>Now, it is an entirely different situation if you think you really do want that PhD, start the program, and realize after 2 years that it was a mistake and want to leave. But I think attending a PhD program if you don't want to go the full ride isn't the best option. Perhaps professors suggest it anyway because of the funding? I don't know. Or maybe programs encourage application to the PhD program because they think they can change your mind if you're really good. Personally, I would never apply to a PhD program just for the funding and then drop out after earning the masters. Not unless my entire personality/interests/career goals changed that dramatically. A PhD is something you really have to want in order to work through all of that, it shouldn't just be a whim.</p>

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NovaLynnx:
It's not "first dibs." They are two completely different programs that may have two completely different end results.

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<p>I should take the time to find my sources for this to be more credible, but I have read on many different school's websites that PHD students get priority funding when it comes to TA and RA positions. And for most of programs (the ones I'm looking at) PHD and MS programs are nearly identical for the first 2 years.</p>

<p>For TA and RA positions perhaps, yes. But full tuition remission is typically automatic for PhD students, whereas it is much harder to come by in masters programs, and that is more of what I was referring to. RA and TA positions are being paid for work, whereas tuition remission is the investment the college chooses to make. Sorry I wasn't more specific before. Masters degrees heavy in research may also have partial or full tuition remission, but isn't necessarily guaranteed to all admits the way PhDs are guaranteed.</p>