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if a current PhD student applying to another university within the same country, is it required to expose the fact that he/she is currently enrolled in another university?
is it a right for the grad studies office to know my current status? if yes; why? what is the difference?

Specially in case if the student does not want to transfer the credits he/she has taken in the previous university.

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2 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Yes. If you are a student, you should say so in your application. Otherwise, your CV will have an unexplained gap for the time you've been at your current department. Unexplained gaps raise red flags with admissions committees.

In your statement, you also need to explain why you are applying to the new department instead of completing your PhD at your current department. Moreover, you must do so without disparaging your current department, even if you have legitimate cause to do so; nobody likes a whiner. Good reasons to move include a change in your own research interests, your advisor moving or retiring, following a spouse.

Above all, do everything above board. If possible, you should also request at a recommendation letter from your current advisor; if not your advisor, some other faculty member in your department. If you apply secretly, you risk burning all bridges with faculty in your current department.

Credit transfer is a completely orthogonal issue.

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Thanks Jeff. May I ask why If you apply secretly, you risk burning all bridges with faculty in your current department. I do not think there is a professor would accept a student telling him I want to move to another university. What about if the student rejected and somehow stayed with his current supervisor. Would you please elaborate more in your thought about this.. I agree that the student should tell his supervisor and thank him but after finding another opportunity (and officially accepted) not before. –  seteropere Dec 5 '12 at 1:59
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I do not think there is a professor would accept a student telling him I want to move to another university. — Actually, most faculty I know would be supportive if the student told them in advance. I have written recommendation letters for my own students who were unhappy in my department and wanted to move elsewhere. (Some successfully moved; some eventually stayed put.) My MS advisor wrote me a recommendation letter to move to another department for my PhD. We're all still on great terms. –  JeffE Dec 5 '12 at 4:04
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On the other hand, a sudden departure makes it difficult (or impossible) for the advisor to hire/admit a replacement if the student is needed for a particular project. In that case, you're not just leaving; you're screwing over your old advisor. –  JeffE Dec 5 '12 at 4:07
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Absolutely. A PhD is a long-term relationship, taking two people's valuable time – not only for the duration of the dissertation but forever afterwards you will be linked to each other, affecting each other's reputations with your own. It is an expensive and rare opportunity. You should be completely honest on an application, and this certainly includes explaining any previous commitments you've made. You need to explain exactly how and why you have broken them. Frankly, I took one student who had stopped a previous PhD, and he stopped mine too, so I would be very unlikely to take such a student again. Though a strong and clear letter of recommendation from the previous supervisor might convince me.

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