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I am an MSc of urban planning with more than 25 years of professional practice. Can someone please tell me if age is in any way negative for being considered by a top university in the USA or UK for a PhD, especially for international applicants?

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No, so far as I can tell, age is not a negative for application to graduate school in the US. But you will have to explain your reasons for wanting to do a PhD and provide some evidence of your interest and ability to do research and that could be harder for you. Admissions committees like to see published papers and letters of reference from academics in a position to comment on your research skills. If you've spent your career in industry, it could be difficult providing that kind of evidence.

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    +1. Just reinforcing this. You have spent your career in the practice of your profession, not, likely, its theory. The doctorate will be theory based and you will want to assure any admissions committee that you are current in the basic skills that are expected of entering students now, not as they were 25 years ago. In some, rapidly changing, fields that may take some work. In theory, theory is the same as practice. But not in practice. – Buffy Aug 3 '18 at 16:41
  • +1...just to pile on, in some STEM fields, the first 1-2 years involve problem-solving classes (incldg. homework, tests, etc.) at a very high level of difficulty. Passing these classes is often not strongly correlated with success in research; nonetheless, you'll need to convince the committee that you won't fail the classes (because failing them enough will lead to expulsion) – cag51 Aug 4 '18 at 0:26

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