How to Transfer Into a New Doctoral Degree

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Transferring degrees as an undergraduate student is fairly simple and common. However, transfer degrees student comes with an entirely different set of challenges for graduate students. For one thing, graduate programs are far more specialized in distinct fields of study compared to bachelor’s degree programs. In addition, many doctoral programs do not accept transferred degree credits. In spite of these challenges, the following tips may help you successfully navigate the process of transferring graduate school programs.

Avoid “Safety” Options When Transferring Graduate School Programs

When you were an undergraduate, you likely had a few “safety schools” that you knew you could fall back on if you were not accepted into your top choices. This is not a good approach to take when transferring degrees at the graduate level. That’s because if you are already unhappy with your current PhD program, you shouldn’t have to settle for a different program that you are just as unsatisfied with.

Instead, figure out what you really want to get out of transferring graduate school programs. What dissatisfies you about your current situation? Are there systemic issues in your department that are holding you back? Do you lack a strong advocate on the faculty staff? You should feel confident that the graduate school you transfer to can solve these problems for you.

Figure Out How Many Credits Will Transfer

You should not assume that your credits will transfer. Many doctoral colleges simply do not accept transfer credits. If you find a school that will transfer credits, then it may be a good idea to focus on coursework that will be accepted.

Anticipate Questions and Avoid Burning Bridges

When you inform your current PhD supervisor and other colleagues that you will be transferring graduate school programs, you will almost certainly be questioned about the reasons for the move. No matter what the reason is for wanting to transfer to another program, you should keep your explanations limited and tactful. Try to avoid burning bridges because it’s entirely possible that the people you’re leaving behind will come back into your life at a later date.

Make the Most of Your “Lame Duck” Time

Once you have been accepted and know for sure that you will be transferring graduate school programs, you might feel like a lame duck at your current program. However, you should still look for ways to get the most value out of your time left at your current school. Brush up on your research skills and make connections.

You can also adjust your course load. You should aim to take courses that will transfer to the new school. You could also reduce your course load and pursue adjunct positions at a local community college. Another option is to spend more time trying to get your work accepted to a professional journal or conference. This would add crucial credentials to your CV.

Receive your GCU scholarship offer now.

If you are considering transferring into a different graduate school program, consider the College of Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University Depending on your doctoral degree program and courses taken, you may be able to transfer up to nine credits. Our on-ground and online doctoral programs follow an accelerated course of study and dissertation process. This gives PhD and professional  doctorate candidates the flexibility they need to pursue their academic goals. Online and on-campus doctoral learners at GCU benefit from stimulating residencies, as well as hands-on mentorship and grant opportunities. To learn more, visit our website or click on the Request More Information button on this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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