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maxhgns last won the day on December 25 2022

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  1. Pretty much all of the funded PhD programs are very competitive--more competitive than medical school (because there are far fewer slots available). So even though some are more competitive than others, they're all hard to get into. That said, if it doesn't even show up on the PGR, it's probably not worth your time to attend it. You'll probably get a fine education, but the prestige hierarchy in philosophy is pretty unforgiving, and the job market is awful enough without prestige counting against you. As for how you do it outside academia... Well, it depends on what you mean. Publishing will be extremely difficult without the training and support networks. So that's not a realistic goal. But you can certainly keep reading. And you can attend local colloquia, or even conferences once you've got the disposable money. You can keep abreast of stuff in the online philosophy world, too. You can make friends with philosophers. And so on.
  2. There's certainly no rush for you to get either an MA or a PhD. If you want to pursue stuff right away, then yes, a Master's degree seems like the safer bet, given your situation. The PhD will see you living away from home for the first time, maybe far away, and that is a life experience that comes with its own challenges. Combining that with a PhD is a recipe for unneeded stress. The same is true for the MA, of course, but it's a question of a couple years versus five to ten. And, frankly, it's better to have some life experience before committing to the PhD. You'll come out of it somewhat bruised, only to find a job market that won't hire you, or that dangles short-term options far away from friends and family. It's also worth pointing out that your age will put you in a very different social situation from the rest of your cohort. And that, unfortunately, is a recipe for serious loneliness and isolation. They'll be hanging out, often in spaces where the alcohol flows freely, and doing any number of other things which aren't available to a 17 year-old, or which interest them but not you, etc. And that will make it hard for you to make friends and develop an adequate support network. The PhD is alienating enough on its own. It's better to be able to share the experience with others. Take the time to enjoy life and being young. Graduate degrees will wait for you. I doubt I would have taken my own advice at that age, but I do think it's right.
  3. Vancouver is the most expensive place to live of the three. It's the second least affordable city in the world, after Hong Kong. So talk to current students about the funding and their living situation, and make sure you're okay with that. That said, Vancouver is also the prettiest of the three cities. So there is that! But also, with a Canadian degree, you will qualify for a three-year work permit, which you can parlay into permanent residency, if that's what you want. I don't think you can make a bad choice here, fwiw.
  4. The PhD rankings are not undergraduate degree rankings. They don't necessarily match up (in fact, I'd be surprised if most top PhD programs really were the best places for an UG education). There's old evidence of prestige bias in tip-top program admissions, but it's not known how or whether things have changed. But this isn't something you can control. Just apply and see what happens.
  5. It's fine. Don't worry about it. Don't ask this other guy for a letter. He sounds vindictive, controlling, and petty, and I would worry about any letter he wrote, including one he characterized as 'strong'.
  6. A Canadian with an honours UG will usually have completed round twice as many philosophy courses as an American honours UG. So that's part of the competition. International funding for the MA may also be more limited.
  7. As the others have said, this is totally normal. But I'd like to add that you will get better at it over time, too, if you continue on a while. You're an undergrad. You're not supposed to have skills at the same level as a professional philosopher, or even a graduate student. Despite what some people (still) think, philosophical competence is learned, not innate. It's something you develop through practice, and you've only just started. It'll get a lot easier. And it will keep getting a lot easier as you get more practice, and more practice with specific goals in mind (e.g. reading because you've got to teach the thing to undergrads who didn't read it). (Also, most philosophers are just not very good prose stylists, so that doesn't help.)
  8. On the aesthetics front, have a look at the American Society for Aesthetics' Guide to Graduate Education in North America. It's essentially a list of MA and PhD programs with some kind of focus in aesthetics and the philosophy of art. It's not a curated list, so some departments are not necessarily as great as they look on paper, but it's a great place to start. You can then cross-compare with department pages and the Philosophical Gourmet Report (and Leiter's law school report) to find programs strong in several of your areas of interest. If you want to combine a JD with a PhD (or an MA or an MPhil), of course, that's going to narrow your list of options significantly. But that's not a bad thing.
  9. Not at all. People decide to pursue something else all the time! (Ideally, your sample paper will reflect what you currently think your interests are. But you aren't locked in to those interests at all--except insofar as you might get stuck in a program that can't adequately support your new interest, anyway.)
  10. Don't worry about it. Just don't get Cs.
  11. Semesters. I don't think any Canadian university operates on a quarter system (except maybe Quest, or maybe their thing is even more unusual. I don't remember.)
  12. 20 or so is normal for Canadians who majored in philosophy. IIRC I had 24, a thesis, 6 MA courses, and an MA thesis. 10 courses at my undergrad institution would get you a minor.
  13. You didn't apply very widely, and that's the trouble with doing that. I think it's wise to target a few programs for which you're an excellent fit, but when you do that, you have to remember you're rolling fewer dice. Ask the philosophers who've written you letters if they'd be willing to give some feedback on your cover letter and writing sample. Your cover letter needs to make a solid case for your attending that particular program. And, in your case, it should also do some work to show that philosophy is the right fit for you (rather than, say, history of ideas or something similar). As far as your list of programs goes, however, Western sticks out as a weird choice. They're not a very continental department at all--Fielding is pretty much on her own in that department!--and their history coverage is a little dicey, too.
  14. NSSR has never fully funded its grad students, so avoid them. Also: do take the time to talk to grad students who are pretty far into a program. They will have a better idea of the funding challenges than those who are still in the first four years. The funding picture at many institutions sounds a lot better than it in fact is.
  15. Your chances look just fine. But remember that you don't only get one shot at this, and also remember that if you're shut out this year, it's not such a bad thing--it buys you at least one extra year for the job market to get better, to the extent that it ever will (it never recovered from 2008-09, but it did get better after years). Besides, the in-person experience of the first few years of the PhD program is pretty important. This is the part that has me more concerned, although there's obviously no way I can tell to what extent I should be, given the information you've given us. But if you strike out or don't perform as well as you'd like, I'd suggest paying closer attention to this. You don't need to apply to a PhD program with very definite plans (except outside the US and Canada, anyway), but you do need to have some good ideas about what you want to do. You should narrow it down to two or three areas of specialization, tops. You can always change your mind and work on something completely different, but you should give departments some idea of what you want to do and who you might work with. This helps establish fit, and can also make a difference where supervisors are concerned, since departments tend to try to balance out incoming classes and overall supervisory burdens.
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