I finished my coursework and am about to become a candidate in a university in the USA, but due to his reasons, my advisor is leaving academia to work in the industry.

I already have multiple posters, and a journal publication, and some competitions.

Now, he was kind enough to tell me a couple of months before he leaves and I am looking for options on what to do next. My advisor suggested moving to another university where I can continue the same research and he will give his recommendation letter.

And while looking for future advisors, I need your help:

  1. How should I start conversations with advisors (should I email them with the recommendation letter attached? should I already mention in my email that my advisor is leaving, that is why I am looking for a new place? or is it a taboo topic and I should leave this discussion for a zoom call?)
  2. Will universities transfer my credits even though it is not mentioned on their website? (since I studied in the US, is it easier to transfer credits?)
  3. or generally, how should I email and find a new advisor in my situation?


  1. Should I get my terminal master's and apply for a future university? Will universities consider this kind of application?

Thank your help and your time.

  • 1
    Does your advisor have recommendations of specific people (perhaps his current or former collaborators) whom you could work with? Will he introduce them to you? Sep 7 '21 at 3:53
  • @AlexanderWoo he recommended specific universities that I might have a chance to get accepted. he gave me suggestions on 1 other researcher that might be of use, but introducing me to them didn't come up. Maybe I can push on this issue again, thank you for the suggestion.
    – Michael
    Sep 7 '21 at 3:57

Disclaimer: I do not know about US-specific things like how student loans are handled upon transferring. Also afaik "terminal master's" usually means that there's no relevant PhD program at all (correct me if I'm wrong!).

What seems the most reasonable course of action to me is:

  1. If you are on the last year of master's, finish it where you are.
  2. Importantly, in the process of doing so - not August next year! - make arrangements for PhD (see below).
  3. Transfer for PhD.

So the thing to do ASAP is to get in touch with people your current advisor has proposed. Applying to all of them at once isn't great - it takes more of their time/resources than a typical job application takes for a big company, so you don't have that much time, all things considered. Try to email them first, they will likely appoint a Zoom call or reject outright: this is the time to ask questions about formalities and whether they could point you to the right direction. Ask your current advisor whether they have more specifics about them, get their contacts if possible - alternatively, look them up on the website if your advisor can't introduce you directly or lacks capacity to get involved more than they are.

A rough outline of such letter would be:

Dear Prof. X!

My name is Michael Doe, I am a masters student at UC Sunnydale (Advanced Photoionic Research department). My advisor, prof. Claus, is leaving UC Sunnydale. He has suggested that I ask you to consider a possibility to take me under your supervision to complete a PhD program on turboencabulators I am interested in. My master's program is ending this year.

Attached, you will find my recommendation letter.

Looking forward to hear from you,


  • thanks, i also concluded that transferring is the best option.
    – Michael
    Sep 19 '21 at 5:13

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