I'm from Brazil and I really, really want to be able to pursue my Ph.D. in Immunology at Yale University.

I have a Bachelor's degree in Medicine here in Brazil, and I'm currently taking my Master's degree in the field of Mucosal Immunology.

However, whereas I do think my Curriculum is competitive, I am not sure if it would be enough to get me into Yale, to be honest. Besides, there's this Japanese Government program where Brazilian students are offered opportunities to do a Master's degree in Japan. It's a really great opportunity and I think I can easily be accepted into this program.

So, as Japan is a developed country with a lot more resources for scientific research, I was thinking that maybe taking another master's degree through this program could actually help me strengthen my curriculum to my Ph.D. application at Yale. Another Master's could help me to get more publications and learn more techniques.

However, at the same time, I'm really worried that this could be a red flag during my Ph.D. application because it's really weird to see someone with two Masters in the exact same field. So, would another master's degree in the same field in this particular case of mine be considered a red flag?

  • I suspect this will be closed as too specific to your personal situation. But why would the Japan Masters have to be in the same field? Wouldn't you do something that was useful instead to learn about something related?
    – JenB
    Jul 6, 2021 at 21:34
  • 3
    Why Yale specifically? There are hundreds of other universities out there. Anyway, a general rule of thumb is to apply anyway, even if you don't think you're a competitive applicant (you have three or four papers so personally I don't think you have anything to worry about). Jul 6, 2021 at 21:51

2 Answers 2


If you want to get a doctorate (especially in the US) then apply to doctoral programs. Apply to several, not just a few, and make sure that they aren't so similar that being rejected by one is highly correlated with being rejected by all. Cast a wide net.

If you are "well enough" prepared to enter a program then you are fine. You will have an opportunity to fill in a few things you might have missed.

But getting another non-doctoral degree is probably a waste of your time and effort.

I suspect that your chances of getting in to Yale, specifically, are near zero. Not because of you or your background, but because the competition is extreme for a relatively small number of available positions. Perhaps lightning will strike, but a wider net gives you more options. And the "name" of your university is less important to your career overall than what you do yourself. And, believe it or not, there are excellent professors at places other than Yale.


Maybe, if one is practical and the other is research-based.

So, my understanding is that in medicine and law, the postgraduate degrees that lead into the practice of the field (e.g. Medical Doctorate) are roughly equivalent to an academic Master's Degree that focuses more on research than on the practical application. As a result, getting an M.D. and a Master's Degree may not be completely redundant, and if your first degree was the M.D., then getting the more research-focused Master's Degree might make you more suitable for a PhD.

Of course, I don't work for Yale, and I don't have any insight into their admissions process in particular- if you want an answer about that, you'd need to ask them.

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