I am currently in my first year as a PhD student in inorganic chemistry, however I am not excited about the research in the group. After some thought I desire to get into a bio-related field (completed my B.S. in Biochemistry but did my undergrad research in Chemistry). Since I joined as direct-PhD student I can drop down to Masters route but according to others in the group the average time to complete a Masters would be around 3-3.5 years. My other option is dropping out at the end of the semester and reapplying to other programs or working as an intern to gain more experience and then apply.

I really want to get into a reputable university as there is a huge difference in the opportunities available as I have seen from doing my undergrad in a small school vs the current school which I am in.

Would finishing out a Masters in chemistry be useful in getting into a better grad school program or would it be wise of me to drop out now. My thought is that finishing a masters would show that I am competent enough to be a graduate student even though I lack the acumen that others may possess who have done research in the field.

  • Are you in the country US?
    – user111388
    Mar 3, 2020 at 19:25
  • Yes, my school is in the US.
    – Nelson
    Mar 3, 2020 at 19:30
  • I'm not in chemistry, but 3-3.5 years to master out seems long ... we get ours after 2.5 (really after two, you just have to file the paperwork later). Mar 3, 2020 at 22:59
  • Does your chemistry department or grad program include people who more or less do biochemistry? Switching advisors and fields within your current program may be much easier than all your other options, and is not particularly unusual. It won't matter a whole lot if your PhD says "Chemistry" if your research and thesis is situated in biochemistry (my own institution actually has three somewhat separate biochemistry programs situated in different departments).
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 4, 2020 at 0:18

1 Answer 1


At the very least, I would consult with other students or faculty with their opinions as to your situation. Keep in mind that even if you drop out, you will likely still have to list your time at your current institution on your CV. If you finish your masters, you will have something to show for your time here. However, you may be better off consulting with faculty/department first and see if it is possible to transfer midway to another institution to complete your PhD.

Best of luck!

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