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maxhgns last won the day on July 24

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  1. Who should I ask for my third letter?

    Like Sigaba (and yourself), I'd go for A, since a strong letter from a person familiar with your work beats any kind of letter from someone who can't speak to your individual strengths and progress. While it's true that a letter from an Associate or Full is better than a letter from an Assistant is better than a letter from an adjunct/VAP (is better than a letter from a postdoc), you've already got two of those. Besides, candidates tend to overestimate the importance of having a known recommender (in addition to the problem that they aren't in a good position to know who's 'known' in the first place, or whether their letters are known to be hyperbolic, etc.). You've already got two who are well-known, and it seems to me that the most important thing is having someone who can say unreservedly good things about you, your work, and so on. I wouldn't sweat it. FWIW, my own letters included one from the VAP who supervised my honours thesis, and I did just fine on the MA and PhD markets.
  2. Publishing - Strategies, resources, etc.

    It's not necessary by any stretch (especially where smaller, less well-represented subfields and topics are concerned), but it's a good idea nonetheless. Some journals ask for a cover letter (not many any more, but still some), and pointing to the fact that the journal has published work on the topic in the past is an important touchstone for those. And as DataCrusader says, you can expect that one of your referees will come from the pool of people who've recently published on the topic in that journal. DataCrusader and Be. are right. Journal articles are the gold standard in philosophy. And journal articles in the top "generalist" journals and top subfield journals are the gold standard of journal articles. Edited collections--at least in philosophy--are largely composed of papers solicited by the editors. While that's not a guarantee of publication, it does mean that the odds are strongly in your favour, so long as you produce something decent. A few edited volumes openly call for papers, but for the most part these things are made up of people in the editor's professional network, or of people suggested by those people. Your best chance for inclusion in one as a graduate student is if your supervisor is one of the editors, or if she declines and suggests to the editor(s) that they contact you instead. Alternately, if you're well known on the conference circuit and are more or less an authority on some niche topic, the editors are more likely to extend you an invitation. The revision process can vary pretty widely depending on who's organizing the volume, but often the main reviewers are just those in charge of the collection. Sometimes these things go out for blind peer review, but not always. As far as prestige is concerned, journal articles are the gold standard. Chapters in edited volumes certainly count, but unsolicited work that's passed peer review is more desirable. For comparison, the unofficial internet advice for those on the TT at R1s is to aim for two articles a year, two smaller things (book reviews, proceedings, chapters in edited volumes) a year, plus a book every four years or so (every two years for book fields, but philosophy isn't really a book field).
  3. Publishing - Strategies, resources, etc.

    Disciplinary norms may differ, but in philosophy, a rejection is a rejection. Some rejections come with comments. Others don't. But you absolutely can't resubmit rejected work. What you can do is resubmit work that garnered a verdict of 'revise and resubmit'. That said, I think your advice of not thinking of rejections as rejections or verdicts on your ability is sound. It's too depressing to do that!
  4. What could I do with my program?

    It's not unusual for programs that do accept transfer credits to only credit a class or two. It's not really in anyone's interests to have students ploughing through super-fast and pre-satisfying the bulk of the distribution requirements. Writing skills and philosophical knowledge need time and practice to develop.
  5. What could I do with my program?

    Oops. I meant 6 per year for two years. Although as you can see below, I was only sort of right in my intent: Alberta: 9 Toronto: 6 (4-year PhD), and 12 (5-year PhD) UBC: 8 (w/ Master's), and 10 (no Master's) McGill: 9-12 (depending on the inividual student's background) Western: 7 (w/ Master's), 12 (no Master's) Calgary: 6 (w/ Master's), 12 (no Master's) Queen's: 6 Waterloo: 6
  6. What could I do with my program?

    The PhD programs with which I'm most familiar in Canada all require around 6 courses, plus whatever other requirements there are (comps, logic and language, prospectus, etc.). Similarly, my MA was six courses plus a thesis; two-year non-thesis MAs have more courses, of course. Remember, however, that an honours Bachelor's in Canada is typically 20-22 courses, compared to around 10 for most American institutions. And since it's still common here for students to get a Master's degree before the PhD, that means that they've been through a lot of courses, even if they take fewer as PhD students (which I'm not sure they actually do). I'm also not sure what you mean by 'contact potential supervisors directly'. You certainly can do this, as you can in the US, but it doesn't make any real difference to the outcome. At least not officially, and it's certainly not the norm to do so. It's not like the UK or some European countries, where admission is closely tied to supervisor say-so/grants. AS for the OP: If time to degree is really that big a concern for you, then I'd forget about transferring and just buckle down, get my work done, and start working to cultivate relationships outside my department. Set your sights on spending some time as a visiting student somewhere really nice and fancy, figure out what you need to do to get that funded, and reach out to the people with whom you'd like to work. The most important part of the PhD is just getting it. It's (at least in theory) the start of your research career, not its culmination. Just get it, and position yourself so that you'll be market-ready when it's all over: pubs in hand, some teaching experience, at least one external letter, a postdoc proposal that's ready to go, etc.
  7. Conference Paper Commenting

    Chime. Comments at the conferences I attend are usually about 10 minutes. Nobody will be angry or upset if you take less time, though. Remember that your job is to help the audience engage with the paper. You're not a peer reviewer, you're a facilitator. So take some time to go over what you take to be the main points of interest, in case the audience missed them. And then offer a worry or two about the argument, or suggest a line of questioning that you think might be fruitfully discussed in the questions. Then stand back and let the author do their thing.
  8. Paper Editing

    Ask on the Philos-L listserv. A fair few copy editors with philosophy credentials advertise their services there. Just be aware that it's going to be very expensive. Some journals also offer a similar (but free!) service for non-native speakers of English. I can't remember which ones offhand, but I do know a few pretty prominent ones do. Just have a look at their sites. If they offer those services, it'll be somewhere on there. Probably in the author guidelines.
  9. A New Sophomore Seeks Advice!

    Yeah, most European (including UK) jobs don't make it to PhilJobs, and the same is true for most other regions of the world. Even a lot of Canadian jobs don't hit PhilJobs. But most of those markets are pretty terribly over-saturated. I applied for jobs in more than a dozen countries on my last job run, and I'm not at all exceptional in doing so. A lot of Americans confine themselves to American jobs (and a lot of Britons and Euros to Euro jobs), but the number of people who don't isn't insignificant. It's like the difference between 600 applicants and 50-100; that's a big numerical difference, true, but in the end it doesn't do much to actually improve your chances.
  10. GRE Math for Continental Phil

    Don't sweat it. Even for analytics, the GRE doesn't matter much. It mostly matters because sometimes you can qualify for a university-level scholarship on the basis of high GRE scores. As long as your scores aren't abysmally low, they're pretty much irrelevant. Everybody on admissions committees knows that the GRE is worthless, and it's pretty common for philosophy applicants to have higher verbal than quantitative scores. It's no big deal. Just do your best. Practice is the key.
  11. Choosing a topic?

    I think this is all exactly right. It's also worth mentioning two other things: (1) Your topic may not be quite as novel as you think (and this is where supervisor guidance can help: both to steer you to the relevant literature, in assessing the topic's potential contributions, and determining whether it's worth the effort). As Sigaba mentioned upthread, novel dissertations can be really hard to write, let alone to sell to your peers. I know from personal experience; the sum total of pre-existing research directly on my topic was a single recent article. That makes the literature review and framing issues especially hard, although it does open up space to distance yourself from the pre-existing literature. The trouble is that that literature is your only guidepost through the topic, and that makes it more difficult (emotionally and intellectually) to open up the space you need between your work and theirs. (2) There's a fair bit of doctoral and post-doctoral funding out there (mostly through the government of Canada) for issues that pertain directly to Canada. This is especially true for areas of research in which there's a significant Canadian lacuna. As long as your supervisor is supportive of your project, it might be an especially good bet on future funding. But start chasing that funding starting in your first year. Your supervisor should be able to help steer you towards the right grants.
  12. Applying to New school(Philosophy)

    I have known four students there. Three transferred out because the funding was so bad, and the student::prof ratio was so bad. One stayed because he had external (governmental) funding and has a rich family. Tuition is something like $20 000 a year, and their best funding package is something like 40% of that. Plus there's the cost of living in New York. The philosophy department has just eleven full-time faculty, and 74 PhD students alone. They no longer list how many MA students they have, but the last time they did it brought the total to over 100 graduate students. You should never, ever attend a program that doesn't fund you, and the New School is one of the worst offenders. It's as close to a scam as you can get without actually being a scam. The best place for contemporary European philosophy is probably DePaul, but you should also check out programs like Columbia, Duquesne, Emory, Guelph, Memphis, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Penn State, Riverside, Stony Brook, Toronto, Vanderbilt, and Villanova (in addition to Chicago, UPenn, and Boston College, as you're planning to).
  13. Applying to New school(Philosophy)

    Don't go to the New School. Their funding is woefully inadequate, and their ratio of graduate students to professors is horrifically high.
  14. A New Sophomore Seeks Advice!

    Just about every field is related to philosophy. There's no strategic set of minors or double-majors one can pick that will help one's chances of admission. One should pursue the things that interest one, rather than trying to game the system (especially since that's not the way to game it). As a sophomore it's too early to know what one's AOS interests are going to be (frankly, it's too early for even a senior to know), but odds are good that whatever minors one picks will be complementary or otherwise related. That proving ground is the writing sample, and the statement of interest. Yes, pedigree and prestige play a big role in the profession, and even in graduate school admissions. But that's not something over which the poster has any control. Having solid recommendation letters is important; having letters from all-stars matters a whole lot less at this level. This is PhD admissions, not the job market (and even there, they matter less than you might think). Yes, they're very competitive. And the number of slots at each one is a tiny fraction of the number of applicants. And quite a lot of those applicants are very, very talented. That's where the luck comes in; there, and at a few other steps, too (e.g. your prospective supervisor isn't currently overburdened and the balance of interests among current students and other prospectives is in your favour, you've managed to be perceived by the admissions committee as being a worthwhile investment in the program--note also that committee judgements are highly fallible in this regard, as they are in sports, etc.). The grad school admissions process is like a kinder version of the job market (since there's more than one slot, and fewer than 650-1200 applicants for it). The job market involves a lot of luck; grad school admissions involves a lot less, but it's still not inconsiderable. I have to say, it's kind of funny that you think the people here are naïve to think that luck plays a role. Most of us have been through one or more rounds of admissions, have witnessed people going through the process, etc. Hell, some of us are even all done with grad school, and have been through the market's meat grinder. That's not to say that we're right, of course. It's just to say that maybe we bring a little more experience and perspective to the table. It's pretty easy to lose sight of the things that matter when you're worrying about admissions, and it's even easier to spend way too much time worrying about factors beyond your control.
  15. Law student with MA seeking advice

    Don't worry about that. Those factors aren't relevant. Age is completely irrelevant (and being in one's later twenties or early thirties is quite commonplace in PhD programs), and being out of academia isn't bad in the first place (in fact, many think it's better to have spent some time doing something else first). Besides which, you're graduating this year, which means that you haven't been out of academia at all. Don't sweat this kind of stuff, it's irrelevant. Just pay attention to the things you can control, like your statement, writing sample, and choosing schools that fit your interests well.