bfollinprm wrote:You should target both. A lot will depend on demonstrated research aptitude (they'll expect you to be closer a finished article coming from the master's program), which is hard to judge independently. Did you do a thesis masters? If not, push for a (first author) publication in your last year.
bfollinprm wrote:Your thesis will be a first author "publication". That's important, as it shows research aptitude. Most of your variation is probably in the quality of the recommendation letter your thesis advisor writes. If he/she says that you're one of the best they've seen, you should apply everywhere. If it's good but not glowing, you'll get into top 25 schools with interest in grad students in the field of study you did your master's thesis in. You'll get in anywhere 25-50 likely on the strength of your PGRE/masters GPA. I don't have personal experience with this, but this is the path I see in most of my friends who took a masters before coming to a PhD program.
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