I am an Indian student enrolled in an integrated master’s-of-science program and currently in my fifth (final) year of the program. So should I be called a senior graduate student or senior undergraduate student?

[Edit]: I read this https://www.numfocus.org/programs/john-hunter-technology-fellowship/ on the first line of second paragraph. I quote that here:

The program consists of a 6 month project-based training program for postdoctoral scientists or senior graduate students.

Also the eligibility is:

Eligibility: Eligible applicants are postdoctoral scientists or senior PhD students, or have equivalent experience in physics, mathematics, engineering, statistics, or a related science.

Am I eligible? I am an Applied Mathematics student (maths major).

  • Welcome to Academia SE. Can you please edit your question to elaborate why you want to know this?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Oct 6, 2017 at 9:50
  • Hi thanks. I have updated my post, have a look at the "Edit" section.
    – gxyd
    Oct 6, 2017 at 12:28
  • OK, I edited the question, because there is still no "senior graduate student" as a feature of the US system. The description has nothing to do with the US. Oct 6, 2017 at 16:26

3 Answers 3


When talking about undergraduate studies, "senior" has a specific meaning in the US system, i.e. a student in their last year of a bachelor's degree. But there isn't a specific meaning in the context of graduate studies; here "senior" just has the generic meaning of "more advanced, more experienced". Of course, this is relative.

In the context you mention, referring to "postdoctoral scientists or senior PhD students", it seems clear to me that they mean a PhD student who is, at least, in the second half of their studies. US PhD programs usually involve 2-3 years of advanced coursework, followed by dissertation research. This program seems to be intended for students in the research stage, and it will likely expect that the students have a base of advanced knowledge in the relevant subfield.

From your description, I don't think you are eligible for this program.

  • As much I am sad to hear that 'I am probably not eligible for the program', I am also happy that I got help from this stackexchange community. Thank you.
    – gxyd
    Oct 6, 2017 at 19:04
  • I would add that PhD students at the end of their studies seems to be the minimum requirement here. A postdoctoral student is on who has finished their PhD and is still doing similar types of research beyond the scope of a degree granting program.
    – Barker
    Jul 22, 2019 at 23:47

There's no such thing as a senior graduate student, and strictly speaking, you're not an undergraduate senior. You're either a Master's student or in the final year of a BS/MS (or BA/MA, etc.), depending on how specific you want to be.

Edit: Given the subsequent clarification, I agree with Nate Eldredge. Since the description refers to postdocs as well, "senior" means "advanced," so within a year or two of completing a PhD.

  • Hi, I have updated my post with Edit section, may be from where I read the statement it may become a little clear as to what is expected.
    – gxyd
    Oct 6, 2017 at 12:27

In the USA, "senior graduate student" is not a formal title. It refers to the graduate student who has been in the research group the longest.

Someone in your situation would be referred to as a "masters student."

  • 1
    I've also seen "senior graduate student" used informally to mean dissertation-level student, but I believe the OP is referring to a generally recognized level in the program. Oct 6, 2017 at 6:40
  • With the clarification, I don't think this is the intended meaning in this context. Oct 6, 2017 at 14:15

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