Welcome to the GradCafe

Hello!  Welcome to The GradCafe Forums.You're welcome to look around the forums and view posts.  However, like most online communities you must register before you can create your own posts.  This is a simple, free process that requires minimal information. Benefits of membership:

  • Participate in discussions
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Search forums
  • Removes some advertisements (including this one!)


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by KLZ

  1. Yes, you can omit the cover page; it is not necessary. If you are asking if admissions committees care that you wrote the paper for professor X, the answer is no, they do not care--- not even for your top choice program. It sounds like you are applying as an "Americanist." In this case, you should edit your *best* paper to fit the page requirements. By your best paper, I mean the one that showcases your historical interests (period, region, theme, theory, etc.), writing competency, and research skills (sources and methods). This may require some hard choices when it comes to cutting, but this can be a very useful exercise. Best of luck!
  2. Mine ended up being 50,338 words, or 201 double spaced pages. This included my front matter, intro, 4 chapters, conclusion, and bib.
  3. 20 hours is a common way for the graduate school to classify your employee status for payroll purposes. It does not necessarily mean that you will be working 20 hours every week. The amount of work you will have will likely vary by week, with weeks in which they take an exam or turn in a paper being heavier workload weeks, since you will likely be doing most or all of the grading.
  4. I agree 100%
  5. I love Lara Putnam's work! Out of my region and periodization, but so good! Congrats!
  6. I agree with "dressy casual." Nice slacks and a nice sweater sounds perfect. Don't even worry about heals.
  7. Welcome! I assume you are applying to programs this year? Good luck!
  8. I study twentieth-century cultural transformations in the United States as they relate to foreign relations; how domestic ideas of race, political economy, technology and mass communications, etc. influence U.S. foreign affairs at the policy-making level, as well as how policymakers attempt to wield culture as a tool of diplomacy (public diplomacy, if you will). I'm particularly interested in state-orchestrated or sponsored cultural programs during the Cold War: cultural and educational exchange programs, propaganda and information activities, foreign lobbying,and multinational business relations as they relate to policy matters. How does South Africa tie in? I'm interested in SA as a site of US public diplomacy in the postwar era; however, I'm also very interested in South Africa's global public relations campaign during apartheid, particularly in the aftermath of the collapse of the Portuguese empire in southern Africa. Thus, I also plan to study the United States as a site of South African public diplomacy. Generally speaking, then, I plan to write my dissertation on US-South African relations during the Cold War, focusing on cultural/public diplomacy and giving special attention to how domestic social/political movements and cultural shifts in the United States and South Africa impact relations at the level of state. ...at least for now
  9. I'm considering developing a major field in African history; I will certainly have a minor field. I work on U.S.-South African relations, social and political history, and transnational movements. It's good to see others out there working on South African history!
  10. Best of luck in the homestretch, everyone! If you have any questions about schools or living in NC, let me know.
  11. James Madison University http://commons.lib.jmu.edu/mhr/
  12. I agree with TMP: you should choose the individuals who will write the strongest letters. This may or may not people the people on your committee. I chose my letter writers strategically. I had four people on my committee. I asked two of them to write letters to accompany all six of my application, one being my main adviser and the other being someone I had taken a several of classes with. I had known these two individuals for quite some time, since I completed my MA at my undergrad institution. Both had written letters for me in the past for various awards. As for my third letter writer, I asked one of the remaining two committee members to write a letter for four of my applications. I asked a professor who did not serve on my committee to write the last two letters. I chose to split the responsibility for the third letter for a number of reasons. For one, the person I selected to write for two of my applications knew many of the faculty members at the two universities to which these applications were directed. In addition to being a professor of mine, she was also the DGS and my boss when I graduated from the MA program and joined my department in an administrative role. I wanted to have her speak more broadly about my engagement with the graduate program (I served in many roles as a grad student). I did not ask her to write the letter for my other four applications, however, because the four universities to which those letters were directed (I thought) required that I ask a committee member who could best speak to my engagement in my proposed minor field (Africa), which seemed more important for those schools. Its your call. Your thesis committee will probably be your best bet for awesome letters. But if you have a good reason to think someone else will suit your application needs more, go for it.
  13. Take a look at NC State/UNC's dual degree program in public history and archives/library science. Both have full funding options, I believe.
  14. If you tell us your topic or research interests, perhaps we can point you in the direction of some good historiographical sources.
  15. A few thoughts Who will you ask to write your letters of recommendation? At least 2/3 should probably be from your undergrad institution. Get in contact with them early. Remind them of who you are and your intentions to apply for the MA. You might want to send them a "packet" of information, including the schools on your list, potential advisors (less important for the terminal MA, but still...) wide research interests and, if you have a specific project in mind, narrow research interests, perhaps a preliminary statement of purpose and/or a wrating sample. Letters will be of some importance to your application, and since you graduated some years ago, you may need to spend some extra time carefully selecting your recommenders. Of course, you could still be in great contact with professors and already know all of this. Just thought I'd add to the conversation. Your writing sample will also be very important. You don't need to have written a thesis or have published, but you'll want to use something that showcases original, primary research. You can use your statement of purpose to showcase your knowledge of your field ("such and such historian and/or book has influenced the way I think about x"). The importance of GRE scores is debatable, but for top programs I think the general consensus is that a good score will not be enough to get you in, but a bad score might keep you out. Verbal counts the most, writing score next, some schools don't even bother with the quantitative (although that's not a hard rule). I completed a terminal MA and went on to work as a grad programs assistant at my institution, working closely with the ad com and DGS for a couple of years. My institution thought very favorably of candidates with your profile type (high achieving in major, military experience, drawn back to academia, etc.). If you can clearly establish what you hope to achieve with the MA in hand, I think you'll be golden.
  16. I'll be doing research in Cape Town, South Africa. Tough lot, I know. I feel confirmed that I chose the right program with the right opportunities for my project. Very satisfied.
  17. I second this. Although it sounds odd that an admin would tell you that the check is already in the mail and then turn around and say that it is still in the approval process, I'd wait a while longer before giving up hope. Especially if the institution is a public institution, reimbursements can take an incredibly long time to process. If you email again for an update, you can politely ask to know where in the approval process your reimbursement sits. I know that at my home institution the process goes like this initiator > dept. business manager > dept. head > college finance > university AP. Your admin person may be the business manager, but could only be the initiator (grad programs secretary or something similar). After that, checks usually get cut during regular pay periods, either biweekly or monthly. This means that it might not be up in the mail until a normal pay period passes first.
  18. I just started Nancy Mitchell's Jimmy Carter in Africa: Race and the Cold War. Its part of The Wilson Center's Cold War International History series.
  19. I submitted a heavily revised chapter of my MA thesis. I chose the chapter that: 1). showcased the most original argument(s) 2). used the most diverse primary sources, including sources in my second language that I collected from overseas 3). received the most praise from my thesis committee. I should say that I really used the thesis chapter as a launching point from which I drafted a [new] 25 page article. This forced me to narrow down my argument and evidence in order to make some deep cuts. I also had to factor in that I would essentially need to add a couple of paragraphs of introduction because I had to re-frame the essay, as it could not rely on my thesis intro or previous chapters for framing. I also added some new research that did not make it into the original thesis chapter due to time constraints during my MA program. I know some people choose not to re-frame thesis chapters for their writing sample and instead add a cover page or something stating that it is a thesis chapter. This would save you time and effort. I chose to re-frame it because I thought doing so would make it easier for the admissions committee to digest. I figured that most members would not be familiar with my topic and that adding a new introduction would allow me to better position my argument within the historiography and explain why it is important right out the gate. Anything to make the application easier to read and take in. I had plenty of time to draft my writing sample and statements of purpose. I understand that not everyone has that luxury. Submit a sample that best showcases originality and primary research. Keep it within the page limits. Best of luck!
  20. Don't feel guilty about turning down a better financial offer. Accept the school that you really want to attend! You will feel better once your make the hard choice and write a few difficult emails. Thank the department for the generous offer and write individual thank yous to faculty with whom you would like to keep in touch. I did this for three schools and everyone was incredibly kind and supportive.
  21. I listen while I run or while I'm in the car...that's pretty much it. The only time I have difficulty listening to dense material is when I'm sleepy. I think my mind would wander if I were just sitting round...that's when I watch tv and knit.
  22. Yes! Aside from the books I read for class and research, I listen to the rest. I actually try not to read anything that I can find in audio format I have listed to Hardcore History. Thanks for the other recommendations. I'll look into the ones I haven't heard of. This is exciting!
  23. Sort of like reading... Wacha listening to? I would love recommendations for podcasts and audiobooks. I love to get my reading on while running, and in the fall I will be commuting to school, so I'll have plenty of time to listen to, but not read, books. To give you a sense of my tastes, I already listen to things like radiolab, freakonomics, intelligence squared (UK & US), this american life & serial, very bad wizards, common sense with dan carlin, and afripod. I'm interested in history stuff, but I also love postcasts that cover topics like religion, politics, moral philosophy, genetics and evolution. What do have on your playlist?
  24. Thank you! I'm so excited!
  25. I've decided to attend Duke! I'm excited and grateful for the opportunity to study with amazing scholars. I also got a summer job with Duke that I'll start at the end of May. Its in South Africa! I'll get the chance to work with undergraduates while conducting my own research. Can't wait!