Thinking about leaving PhD program with an MS and go to law

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justanothernerd
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Thinking about leaving PhD program with an MS and go to law

Postby justanothernerd » Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:17 pm

Hi,

I'm in an engineering PhD program at MIT, and for a variety of reasons, I'm thinking about leaving my program to go to law school. I have long-term doubts about my project and my adviser is a bit inflexible and a lot of the older students in my lab are really struggling to graduate and get papers. My options are either to switch labs and have to start over (I'm in my second year, and I'm not really interested in that), or I'm planning on starting to study for the LSAT and pursue IP law. I have free cross-registration at HLS and am thinking about taking a course or two there next semester.

Is leaving a PhD program with a Master's considered a bad 'soft'? I think after two years, I'm finding that research isn't a good fit for me, so if I have 3+ more years to go, I'd rather do them in law school. Has anyone here either been in a situation similar to mine, or have heard of people in similar situations? Will leaving the PhD program affect my chances at employment later on, or will the Master's give me a boost (esp. for IP law)?

Thanks.

09042014
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Re: Thinking about leaving PhD program with an MS and go to law

Postby 09042014 » Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:21 pm

justanothernerd wrote:Hi,

I'm in an engineering PhD program at MIT, and for a variety of reasons, I'm thinking about leaving my program to go to law school. I have long-term doubts about my project and my adviser is a bit inflexible and a lot of the older students in my lab are really struggling to graduate and get papers. My options are either to switch labs and have to start over (I'm in my second year, and I'm not really interested in that), or I'm planning on starting to study for the LSAT and pursue IP law.

Is leaving a PhD program with a Master's considered a bad 'soft'? I think after two years, I'm finding that research isn't a good fit for me, so if I have 3+ more years to go, I'd rather do them in law school. Has anyone here either been in a situation similar to mine, or have heard of people in similar situations? Will leaving the PhD program affect my chances at employment later on, or will the Master's give me a boost (esp. for IP law)?

Thanks.


Go to industry bro.

What type of engineering. A master's should give you a bump but it depends what type of engineering.

I bet most adcoms won't even be able to tell you dropped out of the PhD program. You are in your second year. I bet they don't know that it usually only takes 1 for an MS.

justanothernerd
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Re: Thinking about leaving PhD program with an MS and go to law

Postby justanothernerd » Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:23 pm

Thanks for the reply -- bioengineering.

09042014
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Re: Thinking about leaving PhD program with an MS and go to law

Postby 09042014 » Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:28 pm

justanothernerd wrote:Thanks for the reply -- bioengineering.


That MS should definitely help. PhD would be better though.

Schools won't hold it against you. One of my friends at law school is a bioE major who dropped out of a PhD program.

justanothernerd
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Re: Thinking about leaving PhD program with an MS and go to law

Postby justanothernerd » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:00 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
justanothernerd wrote:Thanks for the reply -- bioengineering.


That MS should definitely help. PhD would be better though.

Schools won't hold it against you. One of my friends at law school is a bioE major who dropped out of a PhD program.


Thanks -- I'm just not sure how much more valuable the PhD would be. Basically, it'll take me at least 3 years to get a PhD. Would the 3 years of work experience be better than the three years it would take to get a PhD?

paulinaporizkova
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Re: Thinking about leaving PhD program with an MS and go to law

Postby paulinaporizkova » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:05 pm

I don't think dropping a PhD would hurt if you explained your circumstances to the law schools. I say that because I had a friend when I was in college who was about 26 when he dropped his PhD (something medical related? can't remember though. he was an engineer in UG but it wasn't a biomedical engineering PhD.) He dropped it for similar reasons as you - his main professor guy was retiring and also basically told him that having a PhD wouldn't get him anywhere that an MS already could and he was just wasting time and money continuing on with it. He was at least 2-3 years in, maybe more, and then he just quit on a whim and got a job in a different state. It was actually pretty crazy, but I've heard plenty of horror stories about the uselessness of PhD's that make the uselessness of JD's seem trivial in comparison.

just remembered: medical physics
Last edited by paulinaporizkova on Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Neidermeyer519
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Re: Thinking about leaving PhD program with an MS and go to law

Postby Neidermeyer519 » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:14 pm

I don't believe that it could be considered a bad thing at all. It just shows that you tried something and didn't like it, for various reasons. On top of that, you're still coming out with a masters. And yes, a masters is a good soft.

If you're sure that you don't want to continue with the PhD, then don't. There's no sense in wasting 3 years of your life if you're not going to be happy with what you do....and yes, I'm sure there are many people after law school who realize that they just did that.

The Real Jack McCoy
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Re: Thinking about leaving PhD program with an MS and go to law

Postby The Real Jack McCoy » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:08 pm

Don't tell them you dropped out unless required. It is common enough for students to enter PhD-track and leave with the Masters, especially since this is often a way to get a funded Master's. That is all you'll have to divulge--MS from MIT.

Also, do not continue with the PhD if you don't want it. A PhD is the kind of thing that can drag on if your heart isn't in it.

tchan4269
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Re: Thinking about leaving PhD program with an MS and go to law

Postby tchan4269 » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:44 pm

i dont think it will have much of an adverse effect on your LS admissions, depending upon what the main driving factor is behind you leaving your program, and it definitely isn't going to hurt your employment prospects in the legal field, but if you're interested in IP law you should really consider trying to stick it out and following your PhD with a JD...it will open vastly more doors for you in your career and you'll be able to completely out market any applicants applying for the same IP-oriented position with only say a bachelors in the same or a similar field....sort of wishing I would have gotten my PhD before my JD as well for similar reasons.

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fatduck
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Re: Thinking about leaving PhD program with an MS and go to law

Postby fatduck » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:46 pm

just fyi leaving a phd program with your master's is not uncommon at all. anyone in academia (i.e. the people reading your application) should know this.

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OGR3
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Re: Thinking about leaving PhD program with an MS and go to law

Postby OGR3 » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:49 pm

A master's from MIT has gotta be quite the beautiful thing to see on a resume if you're a hiring partner at an IP firm.




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