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maxhgns last won the day on May 4

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  1. maxhgns

    How do PhD students usually spend their summers?

    The first few years, they don't usually end up doing much, although they talk a good game. The last few years, they're working frantically but not very productively on the dissertation. The last summer, they're working frantically and productively to meet the final deadline. Things are a little different--and a little more productive--if you in disciplines with labwork and fieldwork. Summers are for fieldwork, and watching the algae bloom in the lab.
  2. With no other information (and on the understanding that disciplinary norms differ, and may make this less useful to you), it actually sounds to me like this is more of a signposting complaint. In other words, they're claiming that you haven't yet done enough to make those connections explicit. Fixing these sorts of problems is relatively easy, and just requires you to explicitly articulate the links, rather than leaving it to the reader to see them and draw the connections. So, for example, the end of your introduction should say what you're going to argue: "In §2, I argue.... In response to the objection that x, I argue in §3 that... Finally, in §3 I argue that the evidence shows us that... etc." And then, at the beginning of a new section, give a one-sentence reminder of what you argued in the last section, and explain how this coming section relates to the last one. And so on and so forth. Just take opportunities to refer back to what you've argued before, to your theoretical frameworks, etc. If your evidence supports a particular framework, or poses problems for it, tell your reader, and guide them through it. There are lots of decent guides to signposting online. Harvard's Writing Centre has one here, and Birmingham has another (better) one here.
  3. maxhgns

    Self-Employment or Academia?

    Generally speaking, the academic route means relatively low pay and little to no choice over where you live. Depending on the field, it might mean a long series of temporary posts all around the country/world, with little to no benefits, and no real prospect of a TT job at the end of it. Self-employment is risky, since you're the one in charge of building your business. If you're in the US, it also means that you get no benefits (including healthcare, which you'll have to provide for yourself). Generally speaking, my understanding is that people who go the self-employment route usually need a few years to build up their client base so that the work can pay the bills. Many start their businesses part-time and on the side, while they rely on something else for proper income. On the plus side, though, self-employment means total control over where you live.
  4. maxhgns

    Can I get a second MA in philosophy?

    It does happen, although it's unusual. More often, it happens because someone with an MA is accepted to a PhD program where MAs are awarded as part of the progression to the PhD (this is normal in the US, but not elsewhere). It's also relatively common (though I'm not sure it's a good thing!) for citizens of one particular southern European country to do a second PhD (!) in philosophy at an Anglophone institution, in an effort to break into the international job market. So this kind of thing does happen. I don't know whether an American/British/Australasian/Canadian MA would help you get into PhD programs in the US. I'm sure it wouldn't hurt, and it probably would help, but I don't know whether it would help more than spending all (or even a fraction of) that time on your writing sample and letter of interest would. Certainly, it wouldn't be worth paying for an American MA. There are so many applicants for PhD programs that I wouldn't draw too many conclusions from your results the first time around. You made a waitlist, which is fantastic. That's a success you can build on, and an encouraging sign. If I were in your shoes, I'd forgo the second MA and just try again next year, with a stronger, better-informed application and a more carefully selected list of schools.
  5. Sure, it's acceptable. It's not ideal, but nobody is going to lose any sleep over you. As for your future admissions chances, nobody will ever know except people working in that department. They may remember for a few years, but eventually they'll forget, too. They certainly won't communicate with any other departments about it. On transferring: yes, it can be a little harder, because the standards for a transfer are higher. You have to make the case for your transfer, after all, and that requires you to be pretty sure about why you're not a good fit where you are--and "it's ranked too low" just won't cut it. It's also hard because you have to ask for letters from faculty in the department you're leaving. That said, transfers happen all the time. I know dozens of people who've transferred, many of them when they were quite far into their original PhD program.
  6. maxhgns

    Funded MA philosophy programs

    In the US, consider NIU, GSU, UWMilwaukee, Houston, SFSU, Virginia State, Western Michigan, and CSULB. If memory serves, those all offer full funding (though perhaps not to all accepted applicants). In Canada, most of the universities with PhD programs also have good MA programs, and several without a PhD offer a great MA. Full funding is easier to come by if you're Canadian, but international applicants can also get it. You could start by considering Simon Fraser, Victoria, Concordia, Toronto, Western, Queen's, Calgary, and UBC, although there are plenty of other great MA programs around. It might be easier to give you a list of suggestions if you said a little more about your interests in philosophy.
  7. maxhgns

    Questions regarding TAship

    If you're not a student at JHU, then you're highly unlikely to get the TAship. For most fields, TAs aren't expected to be experts, no. They're expected to have basic familiarity with the field, but not necessarily with the particular subfield. It's normal, OK, and expected that you'll be learning along the way. That said, some TAships do require more and more explicit competency with particular things than others. This is especially true for formal subjects, so I imagine there are areas of biomedeng where it's true, too. In those cases, TAships just won't be assigned to someone who doesn't already have the required background.
  8. The short answer is that they probably won't be publishable, because you won't yet be sufficiently familiar with work in the area to generate a new piece of scholarship. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try, just that you shouldn't go in expecting too much of yourself. As a new PhD student, you're still just learning the ropes. Now that all that's out of the way: in order to do this, you'll need to explicitly set out to do it, and that means choosing your paper topics with care. You'll need them to make an original contribution, and that means having a good grasp of the relevant literature, and doing a lot more independent research for the papers. You'll need to start them early, and revise, revise, revise. Revise. And you'll need to have a good sense of where to send them, what the norms are for that journal, etc. And all that is a lot of work, especially for a new student who's still in coursework. So don't beat yourself up if you don't get around to trying to publish them for a few years. Coming back to the topic with fresh eyes and more experience will make it much easier to see what work still needs to be done, or even whether it's a worthwhile cause in the first place. So I'd advise you to take a long view. Try to come up with interesting and original ideas for your papers, and do your best writing them. Then try to present them at conferences. The feedback you get there will help you to determine whether it's worth pursuing publication, and will give you a sense of what you need to do to get there. Plus, it'll help you do some of the other stuff you need to do as a grad student, and get you started on networking.
  9. No, it won't. Unfortunately. Referees are nasty all the time, and not just about genuinely weak papers. Anonymity lets them take on all kinds of unwarranted airs of superiority. My discipline's blogs and social media spaces are chock full of the absolutely unforgiveable things referees have said, and not just to new members of the profession. I can point to several people who are the top scholars in the world in their respective subfields who still get referee comments like "this is garbage, even for an undergraduate; does the author even work in [our discipline]?". Such comments aren't OK under any circumstances, let alone when directed at perfectly fine pieces of scholarship. Hell, I submitted one of my papers to a T20-30-range generalist journal which took four times its average review time to get back to me, and when it did I got twenty words of comments telling me the paper was unpublishable in any journal in the discipline. I immediately sent it unchanged to a T10 journal which accepted it in under a month. So: the moral of the story, I think, is that you ought to ignore the cutting remarks as much as possible. Make whatever changes you need to in order to avoid getting similar complaints, but ignore the nasty commentary. If a referee is altogether too nasty, then ignore them entirely. (And yes, I agree with PaulaHsiuling that one should strive to submit work that's more or less complete, and not use the peer review system as a means of getting feedback on drafts.)
  10. maxhgns

    Preparations for the Fall

    They're full of shit. People in grad school are always posturing about how hard they work, but that's all it is. They've got some screwed up idea of what the perfect grad student is, and they constantly fail to meet it, and it wreaks havoc with their brain chemistry. Being a good student really isn't inconsistent with maintaining a healthy work-life balance. I was a great grad student: I published two papers in top specialist journals, presented at dozens of conferences, won awards, networked like hell, audited all kinds of classes, TAed every semester, applied for hundreds of jobs, etc. It didn't require me to give up on any hobbies or other fun stuff. And I'm not at all exceptional in that respect. Take the time to do your own thing. It'll help enormously with all the negative crap. Just don't let yourself get too distracted from your end goal! As for making time for reading, I do most of mine on public transit, or for about an hour in bed at night. I often read during the day, too, but that's mostly down to how I feel in the moment. One word of advice: breaking your tasks down into smaller chunks and spreading them over time is way more effective than putting in whole days at a time. Read just one article a day, and by the end of a month that's a whole course's worth of reading; write an hour a day, and after a year you've got a draft of a dissertation, or after a few weeks, you've got a paper to send to conferences and journals; and so on. The trick is to be consistent, and not to overload yourself with just one task. I try to write for about an hour a day (some days I get excited and it's more, and some days I lose the thread, but on the whole that's pretty much what it averages out to). I do that relatively early in the day, and then it doesn't matter what else I do that day; the pressure's off. I can take an hour or so to read a paper, too, and then that's two big things down. After that, the rest of the day is boring admin work, emails, course prep, whatever. And fun stuff.
  11. maxhgns

    Preparations for the Fall

    I know that wasn't entirely serious, but be careful. Thinking this way is a big mistake, and leads to frustration and depression. Make and keep making time for your hobbies, and for fun reading. FWIW, I've been relatively successful, and I still read about a novel a week, go to the gym five days a week, go on regular hikes, go to the cinema, play computer games when I feel like it, etc. Grad school in philosophy is your job, not your life. I'm also a lot happier than your average job marketeer, despite being in one of the hardest subfields to find a job in (and it's certainly not because I'm killing the market).
  12. maxhgns

    Preparations for the Fall

    Honestly, I think that the most important thing you can do is start professionalizing yourself, especially if you're starting a PhD. Everything else will come during the course of the PhD itself. So, for example, start familiarizing yourself with the best journals in your subfield, and with the top generalist journals, and what kind of work gets published in which journal. Start developing a sense of how fast the turnaround is in various journals (the Cullison/APA list is helpful for that). Create an account on PhilPapers, and sign up for conference and publication alerts. Start looking at the CVs of grad students, postdocs, and assistant professors at a wide range of departments. In particular, look for people working in your inteded AOSes. Get a sense of what they're doing, and how it seems to have worked out for them. Figure out what the important conferences and associations are in your subfields. Start following the gossip on the main philosophy blogs. Start reading through the Job Market Boot Camp on the Philosophers' Cocoon. Start paying attention to what goes on in the forum over at the Chronicle of Higher Education. That sort of thing.
  13. maxhgns

    Entering Academic Philosophy with a Non-Phi Major

    FWIW, my anecdotal impression (from my acquaintances in history) is also that the job market there is better than in philosophy, though still terrible. Think along the lines of 100-200 applicants per job, vs. 300-600. Also, as everyone else has said, avoid Chicago's cash cows. It's totally possible to transition into philosophy from outside. It's not even all that hard, in the sense that loads of people do it. While a Master's degree in philosophy would certainly help, the most important thing is to make sure that your writing sample is up to snuff, and clearly philosophical. After that, work hard on your statement of interest, and on explaining why you want to move into philosophy. Clear and distinct (!) reasons are better than generalities, here: you need to make the case that you're serious about philosophy, and that it's the best disciplinary fit for you. All that said, it's worth reiterating that although the history of philosophy job market is much better than the market for most other general areas, it varies a lot by historical subfield. And scholastic/medieval's job market is terribad. On the order of 1-2 jobs a year (almost always at Catholic institutions). And although there are lots more open/open jobs, they don't often seem to go to scholars working in that time period.
  14. maxhgns

    Backing-Out After Accepting???

    Yes, you can decline your offer after accepting it. Just do it as quickly as possible, so that they can go to their waitlist. If you wait, they won't.
  15. maxhgns

    Choosing MA: Tufts/Brandeis/CUNY

    If you're absolutely determined to throw money at a pipe dream, then go with Tufts. It's a mistake to take on this much debt for an MA, but the cost of living in NYC is much higher, and will cancel out the price difference, and so will TAing at Tufts. Even if Brandeis were clearly better than Tufts--and it's not--the 10k debt difference is a big deal. So: Tufts. But honestly, I don't think you should do it. They're both good, and fine. Generally, when looking at placements, you want to get a sense of which kinds of students are getting placed--in other words, which advisors are routinely placing students, and which aren't. You also want a sense of what proportion of the graduating class is placing, and what kinds of programs they're being placed into. But neither program offers that information, and their yearly lists of placements look great. So do what's cheapest. Reputation and prestige matter a lot more for placement into TT jobs than they do for placement into PhD programs from an MA. And both Tufts and Brandeis enjoy excellent MA reputations. Don't sweat it.

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