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I have been recently admitted to a top 5 graduate school in the US and I am considering deferring my admission by one year.

My reason is that I am currently pursuing a master's degree and under normal circumstances, one can complete it in 3 semesters, however, I am in a position to graduate in two semesters. Still, I would like to work on a research project with my supervisor (who is very famous in his field) in the third semester starting this fall to hopefully publish something useful.

Do you think that this is a valid reason to ask for a deferral?

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    Why not start your PhD program as soon as possible and do research and publish there? No good reason to waste time. – Jon Custer Feb 12 at 14:19
  • Have you already started doing research with the famous professor? Or would you be starting from scratch during the third semester? – cag51 Feb 12 at 15:20
  • @cag51 I will start working on my master thesis in the coming spring semester, but converting it into a publication will surely take more than a semester – model_checker Feb 12 at 16:11
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    Suggestion: contact your PhD supervisor and ask them whether writing up your MSc thesis results for publication would fit into your other obligations at the start of your PhD program – Greg Martin Feb 12 at 23:28
  • In the global scheme of things, nobody really cares whether you work with Prof A at university X or with Prof B at university Y. but you can't do both at the same time. Life is about making choices, even if you would prefer not to. – alephzero Feb 13 at 2:13
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You can ask the program what their policies on deferrals are, but I wouldn't defer for this reason.

Your goal at this point is to move to the next step. You've been admitted to a PhD program, so you completed that transition, it's time to start working towards your PhD.

It's perfectly reasonable to finish up previous work as a side project (you don't want to delay progress on your PhD, but it's worth dedicating a bit of extra time to polish up a manuscript and get it through review). Assuming your start time is fall 2021, you still have several months to push the project as far as you can. I would strongly suggest that approach rather than trying to buy another year, even if it's permitted to do so (it may not be).

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