An international student has got a conditional admission offer to a PhD program in the US that s/he has to complete his/her on going masters program first. Suppose, he/she were to start their PhD program in fall semester but their final exams of the masters program is yet to be held. In such situations, how do the universities usually respond to admission deferment requests?

It's understandable that this is something that could vary from institute to institute but does making such requests make a bad impression about the student.

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    This might be field dependent. Some fields need to fill a lab. It might also depend on funding.
    – Buffy
    Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 20:54
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    Universities I have been at usually admit students to start any time within 12 months of the first date. This has been a matter of policy. Just ask what their policy is. Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 0:39

1 Answer 1


If you don't have any choice, then you don't have any choice.

Ask. It is unlikely to reflect badly on you whether it is possible or not. People have lives. Not all things are predictable.

But you can also ask, first, whether there are any possible consequences of a deferment. Before you act you want as much information as possible.

I think that the (pandemic) times work in your favor in this and people may be willing to be more flexible in some things at the moment.

But I can't predict "usually" and the only ones that matter anyway are the ones you might have to ask.

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