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unræd last won the day on December 6 2016

unræd had the most liked content!

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About unræd

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Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Bay Area
  • Interests
    Early English literature, philology, manuscript studies
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    PhD in English and Medieval Studies

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  1. Yup! I know a couple of people at my current institution who have fulfilled departmental language reqs w/ ASL. The procedure was largely the same as a translation exam in a written language: they viewed a video of an asl instructor signing a text, and then their translation of it was graded for accuracy by the instructor. Although I've also been in schools where the department disallowed it, so your best bet, as always, is to check with your specific DGS.
  2. Let me toss in a shoutout for the Brewery District/German Village! Great neighborhoods, had a lot of cool things stating to happen when I left Columbus a couple of years ago, and far enough from campus to give you a clear work/life split.
  3. Indeed, and I didn't mean to imply that MAs aren't good/useful -- of course they are, and I'm sorry if my initial post implied otherwise! But even putting aside the fact that many of those schools (at least in the US; this is different in Canada and the UK) that say they require an MA prior to PhD study have either joint MA/PhD programs (like OSU) or (relatively) likely admission to the PhD for their MA holders (like UIUC), a statement that "PhD programs these days seem to almost require an MA" is demonstrably false. To take just one example from many, in my PhD cohort less than a quarter of the students had MAs, and the more recent cohorts at my institution have been equally BA-heavy. And it's worth being clear about that for other people who might be reading the fora wondering whether they need to get an MA before applying for a PhD. Getting an MA first is very much the right thing sometimes, and can usually only be a good thing (assuming it's funded) that will necessarily improve a PhD application. But to say that it's in any way a requirement for PhD study rather than potentially desirable preparation does a disservice to potential applicants.
  4. Looks like you may be a bit lost -- this is a thread for applicants for programs in English Literature, which has far different application procedures, timelines, etc from the sciences.
  5. True story: met with a member of my committee yesterday to go over an exam field, and the meeting ended with him gesturing down to my camel Midori before pulling out his (black, passport-sized) Midori and slapping it on the desk next to mine. Felt like a secret handshake.
  6. Not to beat a dead horse -- this discussion has been had here, many times -- but these two statements simply aren't true, and can't be generalized to the field as a whole. Of the (fair number of) programs whose incoming cohorts I'm familiar with, students with MAs are at most half the admitted PhD cohort, more commonly less. To say that "it certainly happens" that BA applicants get into PhD programs is strictly speaking true, but the weakest statement of the case and implies that that's not a (or even the most) common path -- and from what I know of the field, it's at least as common a path as entering a program with an MA. But again, that's based on the particular programs I know the most about. Other people's experience will differ, which is exactly my point: MAs are certainly useful, but to generalize them (as opposed to the academic preparation they offer) as necessary or even preferable to applying with a BA is not, I think, really supportable as a blanket assertion.
  7. Well, since I was looked at! As cloudofunknowing notes, I'm already in a program, but I still hang out here now and then. I'm an Anglo-Saxonist at UC Berkeley; while I applied with an SOP that talked about using old-school philological methodologies to explore non-normative sexuality and gender in Old English and Anglo-Latin texts, my interests have (as cloud also notes, they really do!) shifted during my time in the program. Now I'm focusing more on coordination between institutional (i.e. religious, and especially liturgical) textual cultures and more ostensibly "literary" textual production, but who knows what sort of sharper definition that will take as it reaches the dissertation stage. My methodologies tend to be fairly eclectic, although grounded in old-fashioned rigorous textual study -- I do some manuscript studies and some DH, still have a sweet spot for hardcore philology, and given my research interests I've been thinking a lot lately about stuff as different as anthropological theorizations of ritual and New Formalist work. I'm always happy to answer questions/correspond with applicants, medieval or otherwise -- about Cal or the field or whatever. I did my undergrad work at UMN and Ohio State, and was very involved in the program/with the faculty at the latter, so I can also answer (at least some) questions about medieval life there, too!
  8. Congrats to you both! You'll receive more communications from the department, of course, but please (and this goes for others potentially lurking as well) do feel free to PM me with any questions about the program, the university, living in the East Bay, etc!
  9. It's far more likely to be general delays (or delays from inauguration protests) than from the protest yesterday; it's had no discernible effect on campus/departmental business yesterday or today. I do hear the list is finalized, though.
  10. The academy is, almost by definition, not the place to look for "unacademic criticism." I will say the there's far more diversity within programs than you might expect -- while certain schools do have certain flavors, there's usually a wide range of methodological approaches taken by both faculty and students at any given place. But graduate programs in literary study are (for better or worse, given the job market) designed to produce scholars of literature that engage with literary studies as an academic discipline.
  11. I'm going to just very narrowly answer your question about publications -- this isn't an answer to your broader "do I stand a chance" question or a comment on the other information about your applications that you provide: the vast, vast (seriously, it's vast) majority of students accepted to PhD programs in English (literature; I don't know about Rhet/Comp) do not have publications in peer-reviewed academic journals.
  12. I have a colleague whose writing sample and SOP each had multiple typos, and he got in to just about every school he applied to. Which is not say that noticing typos in your materials after the fact isn't anxiety producing -- seriously, don't reread your stuff after it's sent -- but just that a typo (or many!) isn't at all disqualifying. Take heart!
  13. Welcome to being an academic! If you get in to a PhD program, you'll fit in just fine. I don't mean to be flip, and without further details it is of course entirely possible that your materials are indeed all those things. But I'd doubt it on spec, just because your own feelings are not a really very good guide to that. They're actually a horrible guide to that! Take heart: everyone feels this way applying to graduate school. Everyone (alas!) feels this way in graduate school. Everyone feels this way on the job market (where, admittedly, the pressures are far, far tighter than at any other point along this timeline), everyone feels this way as they struggle for tenure, and even professors with fancy endowed chairs who've been teaching for 30 years sometimes feel this way, too. It's normal, it's natural, and it's even a (potentially) good sign, in that your worry about not being in pace with the field shows you know there is a field to keep pace with, and that you're not applying blindly with no idea of what the conversations is academic literary study are really like, which is often an issue for (some) candidates direct out of undergrad. (And I say that as someone who went directly from a BA to a PhD program myself, and who thinks a lot of the "you've got to get a Master's first"/"schools prefer MAs"/"MAs are necessarily stronger candidates" advice on GradCafe is often too strongly stated, occasionally misplaced, and sometimes even downright wrong.) The bigger question is coping with it. Short term, there's not a lot to be done: waiting around for admissions is shitty, and there's no way around that. Myself, I avoided GC between the time I submitted my last app and got my first acceptance, and tried (with naturally relatively little -- but some! -- success) to prevent myself from obsessing about my applications by spending time with non-academic friends and throwing myself into non-academic hobbies. In the longer term if you're admitted to a program, imposter syndrome's a beast, and there are all kinds of ways of trying to build yourself (and your colleagues, who'll be feeling the same things!) up and, often more importantly, keep things in perspective.
  14. That may be true for UCLA, but at Berkeley very, very few of the graduate students have cars, and pretty much everything is accessible via a good public transit system. Never fear, you can still go carless in Cali!
  15. So much of it is holistic, and is shown in broader strokes through all your application documents (writing sample, SOP, letters) rather than in a paragraph tacked on at the end of one of them. What sort of scholar are your materials suggesting you want to be? What critics and intellectual/theoretical traditions do you engage with? What's your methodological approach? What sort of texts do you see yourself working on? You have an identity as an applicant, and it should be visible as a thread running through your application. But honestly, I also think the whole idea of "fit," at least as it's usually discussed on GradCafe as some magic and mysterious key that links singular applicants to singular programs through an alchemical configuration of shared interests and opportunities, is overrated. People who do well in a given application season tend to do well in a given application season. The fact is, strong applicants will tend to be picked up by multiple programs, irrespective of those programs' differences. If you've applied to programs sensibly, choosing ones with faculty that are more-or-less open to your interests, chances are you could do the work you want to do at any of those institutions. The other, nasty, undiscussed part of the equation, though, is that "fit" includes all kinds of institutional things that really are opaque (or that can be) to applicants. The department's not taking a Victorianist this year, because two of last year's Romanticist admits shifted period. An Early Modern prof is going on sabbatical, or nearing retirement, and won't be taking on new students. There isn't a medievalist on the committee this year to argue forcefully for the relevance of a writing sample on 12th century Anglo-Norman diplomas to literary study. There are (this is always true) just too many twentieth century applicants, and while a great many are excellent on spec, there just aren't the spaces for them, even if they all "fit" the department. Prof A got an email from an old student of theirs, Prof B, who's now the undergrad advisor of an applicant to Prof A's school, saying to keep an eye out for that application. This is exactly it. The purpose of the research question articulated in the SOP isn't actually to outline a course of research, even though we all write/wrote as if it were, and even though when you go on visit weekends profs will nod their heads sagely as you all discuss it. It's there to show that you know what a long-term research question looks like in literary studies -- what sort of things are asked in the field, what aren't, how they're situated, etc. As I said, it's usually a good idea to. My point was that it's not strictly speaking necessary, nor worth forcing or worrying about overly much. The SOPs I wrote for two of the programs that I got into didn't mention POIs (although it was clear because of my historical period who I'd work with), and I know students at my current institution (UC Berkeley) who didn't mention profs in their Berkeley SOPs.