I am a student in a top 10 engineering Ph.D program. After arriving at my current program a month ago, All of my professors of interest were not willing to take me in and I was given the option to work with someone else whose research area does not interest me. Right now I am the only PhD student in the program without an advisor and feeling left-out which is really depressing and demotivating. Given the bad introductory and the self-dought I had before starting the program, I am thinking about switching to a thesis-based masters program and see if Ph.D is really for me. I have talked to the department chair about my situation and he offered me to switch to the non-thesis master's program. However I feel this could be detrimental for me if I decided to apply for PhD programs in the future. Therefore, I was wondering if I quit right now and apply to a thesis masters program somewhere else will having quitted a PhD program hurt my chances into getting in a Masters program? My undergrad GPA is solid (>3.8 )and I have done undergraduate research (though a second recommendation from UG research advisor is not likely). My transcript in the current program will indicate that I have withdrawn from the program but will only show 0 credits.

  • 2
    Why not a PhD at a different university? Seems like a better path.
    – Buffy
    Oct 5, 2019 at 22:32
  • I feel it is better for me to switch to a masters to have a better grasp on the research area since the field is different from my undergraduate degree. Plus, I don't think the fact that I quit my Ph.D will help in a PhD application anyway.
    – Gaham Del
    Oct 5, 2019 at 22:34
  • 2
    OTOH, I think your reasons for leaving are sound. If you are in the US, a period of adaptation is normal for a new PhD student. There is time to move to the new field. Less possible other places, of course, where the undergrad degree is more specialized.
    – Buffy
    Oct 5, 2019 at 22:40
  • I am honestly still debating leaving the program since I feel this will reflect badly when applying to other schools.But staying seems to be a bad idea too since I think I already burned bridges with the people in the department when I told them about my intentions and LOR will not be likely. So being honest or not will still ruin you in Academia I guess.
    – Gaham Del
    Oct 8, 2019 at 15:50
  • Since the identical question was closed for "depending on individual factors," I will close this one for the same reason. Still, I am sorry this didn't get any answers. For my part, I don't understand why you would consider doing a master's somewhere else when you already have a path to do a master's at a top-10 program. There are other factors like funding that a good answer would have to consider too.
    – cag51
    Sep 11, 2020 at 21:27


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