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I have a BSc in computer science and now I'm applying to a Masters program in Human Computer Interaction. A year or so ago I left an unrelated PhD program because I didn't think it would be beneficial to my end career goals.

Should I include this on my MSc application or leave it out?

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    Many US university applications will ask for all previous post-graduate enrollment. – mkennedy Jan 21 '16 at 19:45
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You joined a PhD program without a master's degree?

Well... a master of science is about doing an small version of a PhD. In that sense, it could be beneficial to show that you do have some experience in research.

On the other hand, the fact that you left, probably without results or something to prove how well did you do it so far, might not be so positive.

But anyway, honesty should be the most important thing, and you shouldn't hide what you have done before. Also, it is definitely more beneficial to fill those gaps on your CV with the PhD time, instead of letting them think that you were just lounging around...

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    It's common for people in the US to go straight from a BS into a PhD program. They may or may not get an MS though fulfilling coursework requirements or doing a thesis along the way to the PhD. I followed such a route, though I did not get the MS along the way (could have, but I was too lazy to fill out the required paperwork and pay the fee). – Bill Barth Jan 21 '16 at 21:54

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