Suppose, a research school in the USA offers a Joint/Dual (Education + English) PhD program. That university has an acceptance rate of 27%.

Understandably, someone with either an MA in Education or MA in English can apply for that program.

Do having 2 masters (MA in Ed + MA in English) increase the chance of getting acceptance in that joint PhD program for the student?


One of the answers here emphasizes that all else equal, the extra prep is better. I understand this rationale but think you may actually getting the wrong idea from it.

Of course all else is not equal. And at the end of the day Ph.D. programs are WAY more interested in talent than experience. So emphasizing doing extra time in the salt mines to make up for past issues (and we get MANY questions down that line of thinking) is probably not an optimal strategy.

This is a key insight you need to consider. Given the massive overproduction of advanced degrees (and the miserable job possibilities because of supply and demand), you really should not enter this "tournament" unless you have confidence that you are well above average. If you need to be doing extra degrees to even get into the tournament? Bad sign.

I realize this answer is both contrary and discouraging. But I would at least consider the alternate insight.

  • This isn't terrible advice, though I'd say, instead of emphasizing how far above average you might be, that you, instead, emphasize how driven you are to doing deep research in a field. I got my doctorate simply because nothing else would do. That drive will get you over the hump and through the hard bits. But, yes, there is a lot of competition for jobs just now.
    – Buffy
    Oct 25 '19 at 20:38
  • I feel like someone doing a series of degrees in education and English isn't particularly focused on job prospects. Oct 26 '19 at 0:12

It will of course depend on the specific school.

However, let us think logically: People are not admitted randomly. Most likely, somebody estimates who has the best chances to succeed in the program. So, all other thongs (recomendation letters, grades, motivation etc.) being equal, it is likely that those people have an advantage in getting admitted.

  • But of course, those things aren't equal. It is the individual record that counts above all.
    – Buffy
    Oct 25 '19 at 19:27
  • 1
    Yes, sure. So one can not really answer the question.
    – Thomas
    Oct 25 '19 at 19:29
  • 1
    Actually, no. I agree with you. Preparation is one of those things that help, but no single thing is definitive. And spending time on A (another masters) when you want to really do B (a doctorate) is maybe not the best path.
    – Buffy
    Oct 25 '19 at 19:32

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