Apparently I made a mistake.  I listened to ex-adviser (tenured full professor) for information on what was required for my program of study. There is an option to take 30 credit hours of a Master’s degree that you already posess as part of your PhD.  (Not 30 specific credits – just a blanket 30 credit reduction due to having already completed a Masters.)  He told me that I could not use any of my MBA as credit toward my PhD because it wasn’t in the same field.  So I took the 30 credits additional worth of classes in order to have enough to someday graduate.

Today I was speaking to the department admin who does all the actual paperwork and works with the graduate school to get programs of study approved.  She wanted to know why I had not applied my MBA to my PhD Program of Study.  I explained that ex-adviser had said I couldn’t.  She told me that it didn’t work that way; that I SHOULD have applied my MBA to the degree and that the Graduate College will probably hold up the paperwork trying to figure out why I didn’t.  Most importantly, that Advisers don’t have the right to say we can’t apply the credits.

Now, ex-adviser may or may not have known what was correct.  What I DO know is that from the very beginning he thought that I was underqualified and needed a lot more classes and to be fully steeped in the “academic culture” before I would be ready.  He felt that I was too goal-oriented toward graduation and not sufficiently “scholarly”.  So whether he knew the correct answer or not, he would have TOLD me the credits didn’t count so that I would slow down.

Regardless, I am LIVID – that is 5 semesters worth of extra classes – I would have graduated by now –  I would have finished before I had to go back to work full time and while my motivation was still high. Instead, I am working full time, struggling to get even the minimum done and losing motivation all the time.

So, lesson to those still in school:  Ask the RIGHT people for advice on the process.  That means the graduate college and the departmental administrators who do the paperwork.  Do NOT trust what your adviser says.  They may not know or may choose to give incorrect advice, but regardless they are not experts on the process; faculty try to avoid it.  Ask the RIGHT people.