I am a second year part-time masters degree student at NYU, with a full time job. My life is pretty simple and boring in NY. I was looking for opportunities, and yesterday it happened. I was accepted as an "intern" for one of Hillary Clinton's organizations in some other state. And there is this other organization that will be financially supporting me for 6 month. Later, I am expected to get a part/full time job there. This is life time opportunity, big adventure, lots of sacrifice and commitment..

My question is: Can I take a year off during grad school in order to be able to work full time in some other state?

  • 6
    Ask your supervisor and your department – Bill Barth Sep 21 '14 at 17:05
  • 2
    Can you? Probably, but we can't say. Should you? Perhaps the question could be re-written to address this, it's a complex issue. – Moriarty Sep 21 '14 at 21:34
  • It all depends on the educational system and the policies of the university you are studying in. – Enthusiastic Engineer Sep 21 '14 at 22:01
  • Many thanks for comments. I will speak with the department and the advisor on tuesday. Well, maybe just like Moriarty pointed out, the question is should i? Should I stop my life and comfort zone in NY for a great opportunity? Honestly, I don't know. Open to recommendations. – sofia Sep 22 '14 at 0:55
  • Should you? It depends what you want to do afterwards. If your aim is to work for an organisation like the one is hiring you, absolutely. If you want to become an astronaut, probably not. – Davidmh Sep 22 '14 at 9:14

As Bill Barth suggests, you really need to check with your department and institutional policies. Every school, and often departments in the same school, can have very different policies.

The fact that you're a master's student, and therefore presumably enrolled in classes rather than actively conducting research, probably will make things easier, as leaves of absence are less disruptive during coursework than in research (for instance, it's harder to "postpone" a grant for a project to enable a student to take a semester or year off).

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Ask, then trust but verify. There are schools, including mine, that assume you've "dropped out" if you fail to register for a relatively small number of consecutive terms.

So, there are two considerations. The program has to be willing to let you take the time off and also you have to fulfill the policies of the institution with regard to consecutive terms in residence.

Get it all in writing. (For the latter consideration, it's probably in the catalog.)

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Regarding the should you that Moriarty stated, what is the likelihood that you'll return should you take the year off? If this great opportunity that you are talking extends into the next school year, your chances of returning to school diminish greatly. It is likely that more, and perhaps better opportunities will await you once you complete your degree.

Another question to ask is does this experience with this opportunity outweigh the benefits of your master's degree?

It might seem like an inviting opportunity now, but ask yourself if it is risking your education over.

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