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Thread: MRes as bridge to the PhD

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    MRes as bridge to the PhD

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    Can the MRes programs at colleges like UCL, Warwick, Tinbergen, Tilburg, etc. be used as a bridge to a PhD program in the US? If so, how tough is it to get into them and how good they are in terms of PhD placements?

    I already have a 3-year bachelor's and a 2-year master's from India. I have topped the class in master's but my undergrad GPA is very low. I'm considering doing an MRes before a PhD to increase my chances of getting a US PhD. Does that seem like a good plan? What else would you suggest to compensate for a low undergrad GPA?

    I have also gathered a lot of research experience by doing two research internships, one at a think tank and another at a business school, a term paper, a masters thesis, and now I'm working as an RA after graduation. I'll have one year of RA experience by the time I start the said MRes program.

    Please tell me if this seems like a doable plan. Any suggestions would be helpful. If instead of an MRes program, another masters program is better for me, please suggest the kinds of programs i should look at. Thank you, in advance.

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    Re: MRes as bridge to the PhD

    Creating more new threads won't get you more responses. People are less likely to respond to someone spamming threads.

    Placement information are all available online. If they aren't, you can just email the programme admin for details.

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    Re: MRes as bridge to the PhD

    Quote Originally Posted by newguyfromindia View Post
    Can the MRes programs at colleges like UCL, Warwick, Tinbergen, Tilburg, etc. be used as a bridge to a PhD program in the US? If so, how tough is it to get into them and how good they are in terms of PhD placements?

    I already have a 3-year bachelor's and a 2-year master's from India. I have topped the class in master's but my undergrad GPA is very low. I'm considering doing an MRes before a PhD to increase my chances of getting a US PhD. Does that seem like a good plan? What else would you suggest to compensate for a low undergrad GPA?

    I have also gathered a lot of research experience by doing two research internships, one at a think tank and another at a business school, a term paper, a masters thesis, and now I'm working as an RA after graduation. I'll have one year of RA experience by the time I start the said MRes program.

    Please tell me if this seems like a doable plan. Any suggestions would be helpful. If instead of an MRes program, another masters program is better for me, please suggest the kinds of programs i should look at. Thank you, in advance.
    Hi newguyfromindia

    I am an MSc graduate from Warwick and can vouch for the quality of the teaching and courses of the MRes programme. I aspire to do a phd in the US as well and have thought of doing the Mres and then moving out of the program after 2 years if I get into a phd programme. But last time I checked with the department, they told me that since they offer funding to all the students in the MRes cohort they expect the students to stay in the programme till the MRes+ PhD ends. You should check with them again just to be sure. If they let you do it, its probably a good idea. The MRes courses are very rigorous and they let you take maths and stats courses from outside the department. You will get to work on a thesis and thereby get yourself a letter or two. I am not sure about the other two MRes programmes but Warwick and UCL are a really good prep for a phd.

    The remedy for your low undergrad scores is simply a letter from your masters prof who can write a good letter for you, which states that your undergrad grades are not a true reflection of your potential. Although the MRES idea is good, I have to say this. I know that you have a lot of RA experience already. I have seen so many profiles on this forum and on linkedin and I can say with a lot of certainty that a good pre-doc/RA position at top20 US to top10 EU can do more good than any number of advanced degrees in maths/stats/econ. The letter that a good researcher at a good US/EU uni can write for his/her pre-docs will help negate all your weak points. I would strongly suggest going to the "not at NBER RA positions" site and apply to as many pre-doc positions as you can. Given your experience, you will easily get into a good position. The closer those positions are to your area of interest the better it is for you. Even if they are not, its still good research experience and if you do well, you will still get good letters. Most pre-doc positions also let you take grad courses in econ/maths/stats while paying you decently. So its an overall pro. Your gre scores are fine. topping the class at any good uni is a very good signal. I feel that good letters will help you secure a good admission so you should probably work on that.

    all the best

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    Re: MRes as bridge to the PhD

    Quote Originally Posted by tutonic View Post
    Creating more new threads won't get you more responses. People are less likely to respond to someone spamming threads.

    Placement information are all available online. If they aren't, you can just email the programme admin for details.
    Yes, the best info comes from the admin themselves.

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    Re: MRes as bridge to the PhD

    Hi poli95,
    Thank you for your comprehensive reply. Doing an RA at a US college seems like the best option but from what I have read on this forum, getting such an RA is as tough or even tougher than getting a PhD in the US. But yes, I can try to do that. It will be better than potentially spending a lot on getting another degree. I'm currently working with a prof who is at a top UK department so I guess that letter will also help my case. I underestimated the importance of letters in the Phd application process. But I am starting to feel they are as or even more important than academics. Anyway, thank you for your help.

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    Re: MRes as bridge to the PhD

    For Tilburg I'd add that we expect graduates of the research master's to continue with the PhD, but of course you don't have to.

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    Re: MRes as bridge to the PhD

    Quote Originally Posted by davidschindler View Post
    For Tilburg I'd add that we expect graduates of the research master's to continue with the PhD, but of course you don't have to.
    Well if you don't, I wonder how you would find a person who is willing to write LOR.

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    Re: MRes as bridge to the PhD

    Quote Originally Posted by davidschindler View Post
    For Tilburg I'd add that we expect graduates of the research master's to continue with the PhD, but of course you don't have to.
    Mres programs are a bad idea. Most are eager to keep their students and hesitate to write LORs when applying to other schools.

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    Re: MRes as bridge to the PhD

    Quote Originally Posted by Bayes View Post
    Mres programs are a bad idea. Most are eager to keep their students and hesitate to write LORs when applying to other schools.
    That's incorrect. All of my colleagues are happy to write LORs whenever a student feels like another program is a better fit. We are a friendly department made up of human beings and we want the best success for our students, be that with us or someplace else.

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    Re: MRes as bridge to the PhD

    Quote Originally Posted by davidschindler View Post
    That's incorrect. All of my colleagues are happy to write LORs whenever a student feels like another program is a better fit. We are a friendly department made up of human beings and we want the best success for our students, be that with us or someplace else.
    Professor Schindler,

    I wasn't talking about Tilburg in specific but Mres programs in general (from the students that I have spoken to in various Mres programs).
    Last edited by Bayes; 07-01-2020 at 02:39 AM.

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