I have a BSc. degree in Molecular Biology which I completed in 2019. Now I am enrolled in MSc. in Molecular Biology but I fear it will not finish until October 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, I am also applying for Ph.D. in the US since a person with a Bachelor's degree can apply directly for Ph.D. there.

In the application, it is mentioned that all previously attended institutions have to be mentioned. Since, I am currently doing MSc. and do not have any transcript for it, do I have to mention my MSc. institution?

I think that since I am currently doing MSc., do not have the transcript, and this is not a "previously attended" institution, I will not mention this institution. However, I have to mention my MSc. institution in my CV as much of my research experience has come from my MSc. thesis which I conducted during this time.

So, what should I do now? I am really confused. Please provide suggestions.

  • Are you planning to drop out of the MSc if admitted to a PhD program, or do you plan to attend after graduation?
    – GoodDeeds
    Sep 16, 2021 at 13:57
  • I am going to cancel my current MSc. if I get the admission offer. SO, what should I do?
    – Donald H.
    Sep 16, 2021 at 14:00
  • 6
    Your current institution still needs to be listed - you have 'previously' attended it (yesterday, last week, last semester, last year )- all are 'previous' to now much less whenever you would start the PhD program.
    – Jon Custer
    Sep 16, 2021 at 16:15
  • 1
    I agree with @Jon Custer, and further, I would like to point out that "previously attended" is obviously more inclusive than "previously completed a degree program at" or even "previously completed an academic term at". There might be some question about this if you were admitted and attended classes a few days, then officially (i.e. filled out the correct paperwork or whatever) left the university before the end of the "drop period" (or whatever might pass for this at the university), but surely not if you attended for more than a few weeks I would think. Sep 16, 2021 at 17:36
  • 1
    @JonCuster - please don't write answers in the comments (especially ones that duplicate existing answers). If you and/or Dave want to turn your comments into proper answers, please do so.
    – cag51
    Sep 17, 2021 at 2:41

1 Answer 1


Don't try to lie or mislead based on a lawyerly definition of "previously attended" that excludes an institution you're currently attending. It would be really, really weird to not include it as an institution you've attended (coursework) while also including it as an institution you've attended (research). If I saw that on the application I'd either think there was a mistake or the student was trying to hide some hideous grades. The former might be a bit embarrassing but I'd want it to be corrected; the latter would probably be disqualifying by the dishonesty alone.

You've taken courses there, you are taking courses there. It's part of your academic record prior to the institution you're applying to. Include it in your application.

Transcripts are typically (at least in my US experience) not limited to after your degree is completed; you can obtain a transcript at any time that shows the courses you've completed, courses you are currently taking, and even courses you've enrolled for but not yet started.

  • 1
    @DonaldAlvarez If you're absolutely certain, then I would contact the university you are applying to and ask what you should do about an institution that will not release a transcript since your degree is not complete. I find it really hard to believe, and possibly they will too, though if this is a common thing with Indian institutions perhaps they have encountered it before. DanRomik gives similar advice here: academia.stackexchange.com/a/80054/63475 though I remain a bit suspicious that maybe they just call it something besides "transcript" because it doesn't make any sense to me.
    – Bryan Krause
    Sep 16, 2021 at 14:03
  • 3
    @DonaldAlvarez That seems very unlikely. What if you were one semester from graduation? The application deadlines are generally > 6 months before the start of the program, so many students apply when they are still nearing the end of their previous degree.
    – GoodDeeds
    Sep 16, 2021 at 14:04
  • 2
    @DonaldAlvarez Yes, but the transcript submitted during the application would cover courses already completed. Don't you have grades / marks for the courses you completed in the past years? Does no one in your institute ever apply for programs in the US till they complete graduation (which would imply a gap of minimum six months between the two)?
    – GoodDeeds
    Sep 16, 2021 at 14:07
  • 5
    @DonaldAlvarez It's normal in the US that people are finishing their degrees (masters or bachelors) in the spring semester before the PhD semester they apply for, yet applying the previous fall/early spring before they are finished. It's normal to not have degrees finished when applying. It's very much not normal to not have an academic record of progress up to that point that demonstrates graduation is likely imminent.
    – Bryan Krause
    Sep 16, 2021 at 14:07
  • 1
    @GoodDeeds My MSc. is one year Theory and One year thesis, neither is completed, sadly...
    – Donald H.
    Sep 16, 2021 at 14:10

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