I have a question for a situation, but I'll try to keep it brief. Couldn't find any similar questions, but I'm not sure how to phrase the search either.

I graduated with my MS in Jan. 2014, just around a year ago. At the time, I was trying to relocate to a different city for personal reasons. One of the places I applied for a job was a University in the city I wanted to live in, call it 'City X'. I did NOT get that job, but it came down to me and another candidate so I was close. I ended up taking a position in the same place as the MS program, thinking I would work for a year (or so) and then try to relocate after finding another opportunity in city X.

Now, I have been thinking of obtaining my PhD and the same University in City X above offers it, so I applied about two months ago. I would LOVE to go to this school and get a PhD with this University. Based on past years, I expect the admission decision should come out in the next few weeks. I only applied to this school, given my relocation needs. I feel as though it is a coin flip whether I am admitted (longer odds than I would like personally).

Here's the dilemma though. Another research-related position (job) opened with the same University. This job would be great too! I should also mention that the person looking for the new hire might also be sitting on the Admissions Committee. My question is this: will applying for this job hurt my chances at being admitted to the PhD program (or vice-versa)? I don't want to risk ticking someone off and not getting either position. Is this an actual risk or am I being paranoid? I just want to keep my options open.

Given both offers, I would take the position in the PhD program, as it is a long-term goal of mine. Part of me thinks that I should wait for the decision from the PhD and then apply to the job. The job was just posted today, so I could get results from the Admissions Committee before the job search is over...theoretically. The other part of me thinks I should just apply and see what happens.

  • Do you know any professor at that university who you might be able to ask this question informally and privately, and feel out the culture?
    – D.W.
    Jan 30 '15 at 1:06
  • @D.W. Previously, I've exchanged emails with a professor after interviewing. I do think reaching out and asking privately is a good next step. Thanks! Jan 30 '15 at 14:01

First of all, apply for both. It is the best for you to be open to all the options.

However, if both applications goes through, I would recommend to choose the job; simply because you probably will get paid better on the top of learning about the research without the clock ticking. Also, you become a staff and not a student; and you will be treated more professionally.

You can always switch to the Ph.D. after working for sometime, knowing exactly what you want to work on; based on your research-based work experience.

  • 1
    (1) It's not at all clear that dual-applying to different positions is allowed or seen as okay. Certainly there are universities that only allow one to apply to a single department for a PhD, despite the departments being very independent. (2) Anyone who can get into a grad school can get some sort of job; whether or not this is better depends on the individual's long-term goals. Blanket statements to the effect of jobs being always better are dangerous.
    – user4512
    Jan 29 '15 at 22:09
  • 1
    (3) Some students are treated very professionally, while some employees are not. (4) It is not all all guaranteed that one can just switch into a PhD at any time. One always is competing against that year's other applicants.
    – user4512
    Jan 29 '15 at 22:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.