I applied to PhD programs on my supposedly last semester of my MA. I'm doing thesis, and I am worried I won't finish in time. I have been accepted to the PhD program I wanted, and it is in a different field than my MA, though it is still somehow related. I did say in my personal statement that I'm completing my MA.

The PhD acceptance letter didn't say anything about conditional acceptance, so I guess it's just acceptance? Does that mean even if I did not complete my MA, my PhD acceptance would still stand?


We can't know for sure, though if the letter of acceptance did not state anything to this effect, then you're probably good. Generally, acceptance is predicated on having completed a bachelor's degree, which I take you already have. Having finished a MA is generally considered a plus, but mainly because it allows the selection committee to see your grades at the grad school level -- whether or not you actually complete the degree may in fact be secondary.

The only way you can find out for sure is to write to the graduate director of the school you got accepted at. If they do care, they'll check on your degree completion when you get there and will find out -- so knowing earlier is better for you. If they don't care, then it doesn't matter one way or the other. So I don't see a downside to just asking.

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    "Generally, acceptance is predicated on having completed a bachelor's degree..." not always true. In many places, a Master's degree is a prerequisite. – astronat Mar 19 '18 at 8:05
  • @astronat -- this may be discipline and country specific. – Wolfgang Bangerth Mar 19 '18 at 12:39
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    @WolfgangBangerth Are you an American? Much of Europe and Canada follows a very different model where a PhD is 3-4 years and almost entirely or entirely research. Incoming students are generally expected to have a masters degree already, or an exceptional undergraduate (such as a first in the UK). – Stella Biderman Mar 19 '18 at 13:38
  • Yes, I am in the US. The PhD program is at Boston University. – honnnoh Mar 19 '18 at 23:58
  • @astronat -- I got my PhD in Germany, but now live and work in the US. So I know both systems. I had somehow inferred that the application was in the US -- which may have been incorrect, but turned out to be true :-) – Wolfgang Bangerth Mar 20 '18 at 1:17

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