I'm a fresh master degree graduate from central Europe. I would like to apply to selected top graduate schools in US and Europe, and hopefully pursue a PhD degree (in applied math field). I searched though PhD programs in selected universities in US and Europe and I have a clear understanding what the program looks like.
However I'm not still sure about the topic, and if my experience is competitive enough to get accepted. I think that I would like to spend another year expanding my knowledge and have that effort recorded.
I wonder if there's a notion of "one-year-placements"/assistantships for people with Masters diploma but who aren't enrolled in PhD program yet. How I imagine such "placement":
- I would like to be able to complete selected courses,
- I would like to cover all expenses (!) by e.g. being a teaching assistant,
- I would like to be part of a research group/doing research so to gain additional research experience and publications contributions.
So I guess it's exactly an initial stage of a grad school PhD program but without starting actual PhD (I see that in US, grad schools often have this first year filled with courses and after that a selection of PhD topic is made, rather than finding topic on entry).
After such year, if successful, I would like to actually apply for grad school PhD program, with completed "placement" year that would make me more competitive, i.e. I could complete such placement in middle-tier university and after that try to get to top-tier one for PhD.
(Would applying for another Master and asking for getting hired as TA fulfill this scenario?)
Please share your thoughts if my considerations make sense, and if such academic engagements are actually formalized.
Thanks for any guidance!