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?

  • 8
    Why not start your PhD program as soon as possible and do research and publish there? No good reason to waste time.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 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
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 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
    – Student
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 16:11
  • 2
    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 Commented Feb 12, 2021 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
    Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 2:13

1 Answer 1


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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