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S/O to the applying to grad school thread - how does this work?

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#1 Hoggirl


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Posted 09 January 2018 - 01:09 PM

I didn't want to rabbit trail the original thread asking whose children were applying to grad school, but I really have no sense of how that process works within different paths. When I applied to law school there were no interviews - admission was pretty much based off grades and LSAT scores. However, I did not go to a top school. Maybe top law schools did interviews then. Maybe they do them now. I really have no idea!

My understanding is that med schools do interviews now. Is this true for all med schools or just top ones? What about MBA programs? Is it on a school-by-school basis if interviews are done? Are they more likely with higher-ranked programs? Or is that not a factor in whether interviews are conducted?

And, then, how do admissions to PhD programs work? Do people only do these if they are funded? Is that the ONLY way to get into a PhD program? Or do some people just pay full-freight to get a PhD? Are there varying degrees of funding? Do most people go straight into PhD programs? Or do most get a master's first?

Perhaps there are just too many variables for easy, straight-forward answers, but I'd really like to know about the processes within various professional and academic fields.

#2 Roadrunner


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Posted 09 January 2018 - 01:24 PM

Top MBA programs conduct interviews. If you are called for one, you know you made through initial cuts.
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#3 Dotwithaperiod


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Posted 09 January 2018 - 03:01 PM

My son applied to a few schools last year, all for PhD in either math, CS, or Data Science; his interest is data science but schools sometimes put it in other departments. He was accepted to all, but only had to interview with CUNY and WPI. Upon acceptance they would say whether funding was offered. I think all but one would grant the Masters in the path to PhD.
I’m not sure of varying degrees of funding, it’s usually fully funded by being a TA the first year and then being part of a research team the other years. There are no funded Masters students in his dept. He just started his second semester and has applied for a 4 year research project; keeping all of our fingers crossed for that.
Personally, I would not pay an additional five years for a PhD myself unless I had extra wealthy+helpful parents or I was confident my future salary could handle it, but I suppose it would be “easier” if it was a public university vs private? He said that there are 2 PhD candidates in his dept that began there without any funding, not sure that’s common.

Edited by Dotwithaperiod, 09 January 2018 - 03:10 PM.

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#4 elegantlion


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Posted 09 January 2018 - 03:54 PM

The process I'm familiar with is for history graduate studies. I'm not sure how top tier does their selection, although some do interviews. You can either apply as an MA student, PhD student or MA/PhD student, depends upon which programs a school offers. Most MAs are not funded, although there are some - the ones I'm applying to are funded. If you get into the MA/PhD or PhD tracks they are generally funded. With the job prospects in our field, it is not recommended to attend without funding, although you can. The thinking is that if a department wants you as a student, they will bring you funding. It's generally enough to live on with no frills and requires TA or RA responsibilities. Summer funding, I think, is dependent upon school. 


For the MA programs you can do a terminal MA or a thesis MA. If you plan on continuing to the PhD, you need to do the thesis plan, even if you plan on taking a break between the two. Students usually apply to work with a specific professor and what is considered a top school can vary by historical field. 

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#5 Gwen in VA

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 06:16 PM

It not only depends on the TYPE of program but also on the individual program.


My dd1 applied to PhD programs in engineering. There were no interviews. The schools invited accepted students for a fully-funded (including travel costs) accepted students weekend. Mostly PhD's in engineering are fully funded, with both tuition costs covered and a stipend. Her stipend was generous enough that she actually saved money while in grad school


My ds1 applied to a master's program in computational something-or-other. He applied and he was accepted. Period. There were no interviews, but he did visit after he was accepted. The tuition was fully funded and he had a reasonable stipend, but if he had not been living at home he might have had to dip into his savings to completely cover living expenses. (I would guess the shortfall would have been on the order of a thousand or two.)


My dd2 is applying to grad school for a master's in music. Some programs are fully funded while others are not. She is only applying to fully funded ones for obvious reasons! Music students usually visit schools and have "sample lessons" with their desired teachers about a half a year before applying.

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#6 Ravin


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Posted 10 January 2018 - 08:40 AM

My husband is limiting himself to fully funded PhD programs because we simply can't afford for him to pursue the PhD otherwise. It's possible he will go out of state--in which case he will have to rely on his stipend to live while in school, and I'll have to manage as a de facto single parent for a while. 

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#7 JennW in SoCal

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 10:33 PM

My ds is looking towards a science program, at least MA if not PhD. He is looking not at schools but at current research, looking for professors who are doing and publishing research in his area of interest. He is looking for programs where tuition is covered and he can earn a stipend whether in research or being a TA or both. That seems to be standard in the sciences.


I think -- I'm much less involved in this -- once he finds and contacts some professors, hopefully with some introductions by his undergrad profs, he will do the GRE and submit applications. 


My job is to bite my tongue, wait patiently to find out what he decides, or offer advice when asked. But I can't help myself and often browse graduate department websites, lol! 



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