At Ewha GSIS, you can take a fast track pursuing both Master’s and Ph.D. at the same time by applying for the ‘Combined Master’s & Doctoral Program.’ You can do this since the beginning of your application for admission, or change to it after you attend the school in Master’s program and your qualification meets the requirement.
Of course, the word ‘combine’ might sound challenging, especially if you originally planned to do only Master’s and have no idea what the real academic world is like.
In this combined interview, Mi-ae Hwang (South Korea) and Bashair Alabdulwahab (Saudi Arabia), the students in this program, will give an overview of their experiences.
Why did you choose to apply for this combined program?
Bashair: My goal is to be a respectful professor and a leader to influence and motivate young Saudi women. This combined program provides me with the theoretical and practical skills to help me achieve my goal. The combined program is intensive and condense, consists of a variety of required courses, professional training, concentration requirements, and concentration electives courses. The program period is eight semesters, and it can be shortened to six semesters.
Mi-ae: I need to save time studying because I started graduate studies much later than other students after a long working career since my undergraduate studies.
Is it difficult to change from a regular program to the combined one?
Bashair: I do not think it is hard to switch to the combined program as the procedure is clear to follow. According to the GSIS administrative office, the student must be completed their third semester of Master’s program with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.75 on a 4.30 scale. The applying period is in January for the Spring semester and in July for the Fall semester. The submission is either in-person or by email. The required documents are a copy of the application form [GSIS 2-3] that can be downloaded from the Useful links & files webpage, an original copy of Master’s degree transcript, and Study Plan (Research Plan), and Two recommendation letters. The announcement about the switching from the Master’s program to the Combined program can be founded on the news page’s GSIS website.
Mi-ae: According to the GSIS system, after the third semester of the MA course with 38 credits, with CGPA over 3.75 (the criteria might be different each semester), students can apply for the combined MA and Ph.D. program. On the whole, the steps are not that much complicated. The most critical and challenging part is the student’s decision to be a researcher and scholar with a passion for the Ph.D. course.
How will your experience and learnings in GSIS help you with your career path of choice and life in general?
Bashair: I am glad to be one of the students at GSIS. The GSIS program link academic experience with the hand-on practice. So, far I have learned a lot through my three semesters, including negotiating, researching, academic writing skills, sustainability and theories, and more. It encourages me to widen my perspective beyond national and cultural borders. It equipped me with the intellectual and practical skills that benefit my future Career. Moreover, it improves my self-confidence, how to express myself and my opinion, negotiate, being open-minded, and understand people from different cultures and societies. Consequently, I recommend students to apply to this fascinating GSIS program.
Mi-ae: I have worked in public schools as a teacher. I wanted to have the chance to experience real studies, which mean that I raise various questions, discuss, and research on the current global issues. Studies at GSIS have presented me with many insights and pleasure to build a critical view on global issues with great professors and students from all over the world.
The past two years of the MA course were a meaningful and challenging time, enough to change me a lot to be a person with the potential of being a much bigger person such as a researcher or a scholar. Studying and research are not easy and even sometimes stressful, but I think there are attraction and contribution to better myself, others, and the world.
Do you have any advice for those considering applying for the program?
Bashair: My advice for those who are considering joining this program is to READ, READ, and READ many research papers on their interest field. I recommend serious and dedicated students who strive to learn, to improve, and want to make a change in their environment to join this program.
Mi-ae: I think the combined program saves time and tuition for the Ph.D. course. But if possible, I recommend spending enough time on more and better studies instead of the combined program. However, this program has some merits to finish the course fast (It’s possible to shorten into one-year course work of Ph.D.), and I think I should keep going with my studies and researches on and after finishing this program.