This year I was accepted into two PhD programs (USC and WashU). I had a very specific research interest, and the USC program used to be my first choice, because there were so many professors in the program who worked on this topic. But later I found that the PhD training in WashU was slightly better. So I ended up to WashU.

Now my question is, if the program at WashU is not as good as I expected, is it possible for me to transfer to USC after/during my first year of rotation?

(At the time of my decision, I had conversations with the deputy director of both programs, and they knew I had a tough choice between the two)

  • Can you search prior Q&A here and see if any of those already answer your question? For example: academia.stackexchange.com/search?q=PhD+transfer
    – Bryan Krause
    May 4, 2021 at 17:55
  • Perhaps academia.stackexchange.com/questions/2498/… is a good place to start
    – Bryan Krause
    May 4, 2021 at 17:56
  • 4
    That is entirely up to USC. No opinion here will be useful. Ask USC.
    – Buffy
    May 4, 2021 at 17:59
  • 4
    Here on Academia, as well as over on Workplace, get many similar questions. 'Choosers remorse' is always a fear, but at some point you have to make your choice. If you turn down my job offer and come back 6 months later wondering if it still holds, the answer is no. Perhaps I will interview you on another opening, perhaps not. Perhaps USC would admit you again for next year, perhaps not.
    – Jon Custer
    May 4, 2021 at 21:07

1 Answer 1


You can take the best of the two worlds. Get all your PhD training (by the way, what does it mean?) at WashU and then start a clean research cooperation with the relevant people at USC, while being at WashU.

You can do that by applying for exchange funds, by "stalking" people from USC at conferences ... there are many different ways, but for sure you want to keep bureaucracy and practical hurdles at a minimum, so stick with your PhD program at WashU.

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