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  1. Its hard to give specific advice as you don't give many details. Generally, I think you can be competitive for jobs in the US if you are going to a well known university and gain relevant experience while completing your PhD. I know some programs in Europe do not require teaching, so you need to gain some teaching experience if you are going to go into lecturing in the US (although I have a friend who who is completing her PhD from a European university while working as a lecturer in the US). You will be competing for jobs against graduates who had teaching duties throughout their degrees. Personally, I would try to get as much experience as you can while doing your PhD - publishing, teaching, research related internships, working on research projects with faculty in your department. This way, you will be well prepared for a range of positions when you graduate.
  2. I have friends who took a full course load in my MA program while working full time. This was not uncommon as there are a lot of job opportunities in my field in the city where I did my masters. I worked part time my first year and then switched to full time work and a lighter course load my second year. I took classes in the summer so I would complete my degree on time. I was extremely busy but was able to manage it while still staying involved in extracurricular activities and social events. Toward the end, I took classes that I knew would be less intense so I could balance everything.
  3. I can offer some thoughts mostly on the UK programs. Both are excellent but your experience depends on many different factors -- it is difficult to give general advice. At Oxford, you would have two terms of coursework but after that your interaction is mainly with your supervisors. So, your experience really hinges on your supervisor relationships. I am not sure how this would be different at Harvard (I'm imagining more coursework and maybe you have a dissertation committee rather than just one or two supervisors - but I'm not sure). One other distinction is that at Oxford and perhaps Cambridge, you would have three vivas (one at the proposal stage, one after submitting two chapters, and the final viva). I think you have two in the US. There is a strong feeling movement through the program because you have three milestones that should be completed in a certain timeframe. You are also getting feedback from your examiners which is particularly useful at the 'halfway' point when you do the second viva. This is a good thing. There is a lot of support available (at Oxford, I'm not sure about Cambridge) to help you meet the milestones toward the degree. Also, at Oxford and Cambridge there is a college system - it gives you a very interdisciplinary experience because you have the interaction with your department and then at your college you interact with students from across different departments. You might have more teaching opportunities in the US. At Oxford and Cambridge there aren't undergraduate degrees in education. Students still gain teaching experience but generally do so on their own initiative and sometimes at different universities - it is not a requirement or part of the PhD program. In terms of funding, there are options within the department and also at the different colleges. You really have to research the different grants and scholarships through the various colleges. Of course, there are also outside scholarships as well as research assistant positions in education and other departments. Some students work part time and some get positions working for the university as 'junior deans' to cover expenses. The timeline for completing a PhD at Cambridge or Oxford could generally be shorter than a similar program in the US (again, this really depends on your supervisor, some push their students more than others). You might want to compare this at the schools you are interested in. I also suggest contacting a supervisor you are interested in working with and also some students working under the prof. This will give you a much better idea of what your experience might be like
  4. I am about 6 months or so away from completing my PhD and have started sending out resumes. I have looked at different ways of including my PhD research related experience and am wondering how others on this board have presented their grad school experience? For the past year and a half, I have just been writing up my dissertation and covered my costs with grant money and a part time job on campus doing administrative work. I am not sure if I should highlight this administrative position along with my other work experience as it's a very low responsibility job (basically receptionist duties). If I leave it off, I feel like my resume gives the impression I've been unemployed. I know doing a PhD is a full time job but I am wondering if I apply for jobs outside of academia (I am applying to both academic and non-academic positions) if I will be less competitive with gaps in my employment history. I am wondering if I should fill the gaps with my research and fieldwork experiences? Thanks for any thoughts!
  5. I completed an MA in International Education at George Washington University and was very happy with my decision. They offered a lot of funding and grants and the location was great for me - there are a lot of organizations in DC hiring IE students. I did several internships and had a full time position in my field before I graduated. My friends are all working in the field in a range of high level positions. I know GW isn't as prestigious as Harvard or Stanford but I think everyone I know from GW are now in director level positions. I was also able to go from GW into a highly ranked Phd program. To answer your question - pick the progam that seems to be the best fit for you. I am sure Harvard opens certain doors but I think there are a lot of other great programs out there as well...
  6. Hi AnonymousAcademic, That does sound frustrating. Why don't you ask one of the administrators of the program if you could be in touch with one or two of your potential supervisor's advisees? They might even be listed on the department's website. Of course, its always hard to determine for sure what it will be like to work with someone, but you could get a general idea from other students. I did however do this when I was checking out my PhD program years ago and contacted one of my current supervisor's students. She sounded completely positive. It was only when I actually arrived on campus that I heard negative stories and warnings from other students. That said, my issues only started this year - now that I am getting closer to completing. Each persons experience is different, even with the same supervisor - I recommend doing as much research and asking around as you can, but in the end, you will just have to weigh out all the pros and cons of each program and make the best decision you can with the information you have.
  7. Thanks Dal PhDer. I have been going back and forth about this decision for quite some time and I appreciate your advice. The graduate coordinator in my department is aware of the situation (though it has been a while since I have talked to him), as well as two other profs in my department who stepped in on their own to offer me advice (it seems my supervisor has a reputation and these two profs expressed their concern and also offered to help). I have tried different tactics to try to improve and focus my meetings with my supervisor. Yes...it is difficult because I am so far along (but I will feel like I have a way to go before being ready to submit). I can see the benefits of either staying with him or trying to make a change. Another worry is that I recently found out that there are a few other advisees of his that have now gone two years over the expected time for completion (of course I don't know their situations so I don't want to get too worried over this). I will take your advice though and try talking with my coordinator again. I am willing to try anything at this stage and maybe there is someone in my dept. who could serve as a mentor to help get me through to completion...
  8. I am in the midst of writing my dissertation and am trying to figure out if it is worth it at this stage to push for a second supervisor or new supervisor. It's tough for me to look at this objectively, so I am hoping for some advice. I have had difficulty getting advising from my supervisor since I started my PhD and know his other advisees face the same difficulty - so it's not just me. He's a nice guy though and we do get along which has made it difficult to decide if I should do anything or just keep getting advice on my dissertation from friends and other professors to 'fill in' for the lack of supervision. I also don't know if I am expecting too much. In the past, he held up my fieldwork (I won't go into detail in order to maintain my anonymity, but in the end, it cost me money and several months). I could add to this that he has ignored my emails requesting LOR's for grants and research fellowships, but I don't want to totally go off on a rant. To be blunt, he usually doesn't read my work prior to supervision meetings. Usually he scans my work during our meetings. The advice I have received this year has been minimal and he only made himself available to meet three times during the academic year. His advice, when I ask him questions about a chapter, is to write another chapter and he assures me that will help me figure it out. I now have a deadline with my university to submit two completed chapters for my next defence. My supervisor does not seemed concerned about helping me meet this deadline and I am left with work that hasn't been developed to a stage where it can be submitted but I do have rough (really rough) drafts of several chapters. The other issue I have right now is that during our last meeting, he decided that I should review an unpublished set of chapters loosely related to my topic and make the ideas from these chapters a major part of my dissertation. There is other more relevant work which would be better placed in my dissertation. To me, it seems he wants me to summarise these unpublished chapters because he can then use that as part of the introduction to the book these chapters are part of. This is just a guess though. I have been working with my supervisor for several years now, so I am hesitant to make a complete switch to a new supervisor. But, if I try to get a second supervisor, I know it will affect our relationship as he has not been open to this idea when I have brought it up in the past. This is why I would be open to making a switch to a new supervisor. On the positive side, de does have a good sense of when my work is complete and ready for submission. I trust his advice on that - but I am at a point now where I need the help of a supervisor to help me get my chapters to that point. Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with this? Should I just keep plugging along as I have been? I do think eventually I will finish (I am determined), but I am running out of time and finances are also a big concern. If I do push for a second supervisor, what would be the best way to do this without totally ruining my relationship with my supervisor? Or should I not be worried about that? My main priority is to graduate at this point, after all the time I have invested but I also want to be strategic about this so I don't get into a worse situation....
  9. Are you in contact with any potential supervisors at Oxford? If not, I recommend getting in touch with one or two professors (the department of ed assigns students two supervisors) to get a better idea if you would be a good fit. Is there anyone in higher ed who does ethnography? If you have identified one or two profs, I would also recommend getting in touch with their advisees and ask about their experience studying at Oxford under the professor you have in mind. Your experience at Oxford really depends on your supervisor and finding the right fit - its also important to make sure your potential supervisor has students who move through the program and graduate somewhat on time. The program at Oxford is very research focused with the first two terms being coursework and after that your primary interaction with the department is usually meetings with your supervisor (though there are lectures throughout the academic year). You might also want to contact someone associated with the research group. Find out how active the group is and how often they meet and hold lectures. I don't know anything about that particular research group but I do know there are some that are less active than others. So, if the activity of the research group is one of your deciding factors, definitely inquire more about the group. Another thing to think about - you probably have to submit a research proposal as part of your application to Oxford. You might want to think more about how your proposed project could be completed in approximately three years. You mention doing ethnographic research in three different countries. If most of the first year at Oxford is coursework and your proposal is due at the end of the first year, this leaves a relatively short amount of time for fieldwork if you intend to submit your confirmation of status by the end of the second year (this would be two chapters, one being a chapter of 'findings'). This is just something to think about as you get your application together - but could you realistically do three case study ethnographies given this rough time frame (especially since one case study involves a network of charter schools)? I think it would add strength to your application if you can show that you have a project that can be completed within the time frame of the phd and have also identified potential superivors who match well with your project and methodology. I also recommend looking into IOE - it is also a good option. Cambridge has a good dept of ed as well and would be worth looking into (Camb also offers the gates scholarship).
  10. It appears that your research interests would make you a good fit for a phd in international education. If you decide to pursue a political science phd, it would probably be a good idea to make sure you can find an advisor with a research interest in education and also ask if the department has other students working on similar projects. Personally, I think you would find more support and resources for your topic in an education department. But, I also am not familiar at all with political science. I think it really depends on what type of department and what type of students you would prefer to work with.
  11. I am a phd student in social sciences and have been trying to write the first of three findings chapters. I came back from my fieldwork with a lot of data (probably too much) and have been trying to figure out how to structure my data into a decent chapter. I went through several months using NVivo to code everything. I know the major themes emering from the transcripts. However, I am having difficulty just figuring out how to write it up and present it in a logical way. If anyone has any tips for me, I would really appreciate it. Everything is there in the data and I have written sevearl drafts, but its just not coming together (and the only advice I get from my supervisor is to just write it). I feel like I have hit a brick will - maybe writers block - and need to get through it before my deadline (in two months).
  12. I had a similar experience during my MA -- I started with just a little bit in scholarship money and a work study position. In my first year, I got a really high GPA and went to my advisor and asked him if there were any scholarships I might qualify for in the next year. I emphasised my GPA and the internships and work study I had been doing. My advisor put me on a list of students to be considered for scholarships. I then went to the financial aid office and met in person with the financial aid officer. I explained my situation and asked if there was anything I could apply for or be considered for. I am not sure if this approach made the difference, but I did end up getting a summer fellowship and increased scholarship money the next year. I felt that meeting the financial aid officer in person was key. It's definitely worth a try before you look into transferring. One more thought -- does your school offer tuition remission if you work in an administrative position? This might also be an option.
  13. I am completing my degree in about a year and have just started my job search. I figured it would be good to start looking around now so I can get a sense of the current job market. I'm also applying for a few postdoc positions that have deadlines coming up for positions next year. I do feel worried when I read the news though about high unemployment. However, I have friends that are in the process of completing their PhD's and have found adjunct teaching positions (they are working part time and wanted to work part time while writing up). A few friends found positions easily and I think in just a few months. I know it all depends on the field and how attractive your resume is....I'm hoping I have decent luck once my job search is in full swing...
  14. DPhilbound, I think your school's secretary would be the best person to ask about a possible limit to a students working hours since each department has its own rules. I would think it would depend where you are at in the DPhil. If you have finished the residency requirement and are working on writing up the dissertation from 'home' I'm not sure the school could impose a limit to your working hours. However, there are usually time limits for submitting parts of the DPhil (again this varies by program), so if you can make the milestones toward the degree and hold down a job, it doesn't seem like there would be a problem. Also, if your school does have a requirement about working hours, it is possible that this requirement could be negotiated or waived with your supervisor. So, I would check first with the school, then if you already have a supervisor you could check with him/her. If you are talking about living in Oxford as an international student, then there are a limited number of hours you can work on an international student visa. As far as I know, that limit is 20 hours/week. But, this may have changed recently, so I would double check with the student immigration officers at Oxford who know all the rules.
  15. This year should be the final year of my PhD and I am considering working during part of the year (maybe from Spring onward). I know this will probably slow down the pace of my writing, but I don't mind if my graduation is delayed a bit. I have heard of just a few other students in my department working full time in their final year and am wondering if anyone else here has done that. My finances will be tight next year and working would really help relieve some of the financial pressure. However, I'm wondering if I should just buckle down and finish my writing and then worry about job hunting.
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