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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

From the MA to the PhD

The majority of students will complete a master's thesis prior to beginning the doctoral program. The standard time to degree completion is two years.

Doctoral-track admission from the undergraduate level exists. However, special permission must be granted by the MES Graduate Office by the end of the first year. Typically, only students pursuing the literature track are typically permitted to pursue this option. A master's degree will be pursued along the way and it will come in the form of a master's report instead. Furthermore, instead of writing a standard report, in the 4th semester, these students will write a paper for a course which will become an independent article intended for publication. For the purposes of the Graduate School, this paper will be called a master's report and the MA degree will be earned before being reclassified as a doctoral student. Since it is a master's report that will be written, a committee of at least two faculty readers must review and approve the report.

Otherwise, advancing from the MA to PhD is not automatic unless the student specifically admitted into the PhD track. For current students, the PhD application is not a cumbersome process.  Applications for advancement consist of the following:

  • Statement of purpose (approximately 500 words) expressing academic and professional goals;
  • Two letters of recommendation from MES tenured or tenure-track faculty.

Applications are due to the graduate coordinator by December 15 to be considered for fall admission to the PhD program.

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