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Pamphilia last won the day on December 21 2010

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    English PhD

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  1. All of the professors who looked over my application materials last year before I applied suggested I play down my interest in and experience teaching, at least in my SOP (not necessarily on the CV). They didn't suggest that I cut out any discussion of teaching entirely, but cautioned me that adcoms would be looking for evidence of interest and competence in research rather than teaching, and that an over-emphasis on teaching in the SOP can actually be detrimental to one's application because it makes one look less research-focused. Obviously, this really depends on the program, but it's somet
  2. Yes, this. And may I warn any menfolk out there that the so-called "girls" in your program will no doubt prefer not to be infantilized, either. Girls = female children. Female graduate students = adults, not children. Please show the women of your program (and your world) some respect. And if the men out there who use this kind of language "don't mean it that way"--too bad. It still comes off as (and simply is) disrespectful and condescending,
  3. Rankings systems are a touchy subject. Especially for humanities programs, they are wildly inaccurate and one should always take them with a grain of salt. That said, a program's perceived reputation IS important and does play a role. Pedigree is something we should be skeptical about, but (unfortunately or not) it can make a significant difference when you are on the job market. Now, that does not mean that you're screwed if you don't go to Harvard, by any means. And it also doesn't mean that "rankings" as put out by USNWR or phd.org have any significance. Perceived reputation is important, r
  4. Penn State's English program (can't speak for comp lit, creative writing, or other departments) doesn't have a terminal MA per se, unless they've just started a new one that I don't know about. Students apply to the MA for the MA-to-PhD track; MA admits are awarded five or six years of funding because they are expected to go on to the PhD. Of course, some head out to other programs after completing the MA, but they don't have a stand-alone MA program. The wording on the website, if I recall, is really confusing about the difference between the MA and PhD tracks there--which isn't really a diff
  5. Though this might run contrary to the other advice given here, I'd highly recommend visiting both schools. You really can't tell about a department (or location) until you visit; it can make a HUGE difference. If you're completely sure you're going to turn down one school for another no matter what, let them know as soon as possible. But if you have any doubts, it would probably behoove you (or anyone) to visit before you make a final decision. Congrats!
  6. I think this is a good idea, except for the bolded part. I'd be very wary about phrasing an inquiry like that for a number of reasons (not least, it might come off as sounding rather presumptuous). However, MM's idea of contacting them (the DGA or someone making decisions, not just the grad assistant/secretary), letting them know you're excited but that this is a tricky situation, etc., might be very beneficial as you suss out this situation. Also, congrats! Getting an interview for Duke Lit is HUGE. Edited for phrasing/typos.
  7. Interviews for English are rare; in-person interviews a la Emory and NYU are rarer. Stanford and Northwestern have done phone interviews in the past, but Northwestern at least did not interview last year. Different adcom chairs, different strokes.
  8. Hm, well, it does make sense to me that a prof who focuses on Dante (and who is therefore, I'm guessing, a Renaissance poetry/poetics scholar?) might not feel comfortable directing a thesis on a writer who is so far removed from his specialty as McCarthy. It would be like asking a C20 Americanist to direct a thesis on Mary Wroth: quite a difficult undertaking and perhaps rather out of that person's depth such that it would do the student a disservice. I am not quite sure what to tell you other than keep doing what you've been doing--that is, reaching out to other faculty in the department who
  9. I'm inclined to disagree that writing a thesis doesn't matter, but not because it adds or detracts anything from your CV. I believe writing a thesis as an undergrad is important because it gives you a taste for what a large research project entails. It's nothing compared to grad work, of course, but provides invaluable experience for a person interested in going to grad school--even if the lessons learned from such experience only boil down to "loved it" or "hated it." That said, it's not necessary to do an honors thesis, but I would really recommend taking on some kind of large, extended
  10. This isn't really relevant to lit programs. English/comp lit/rhetoric students are not accepted or funded by individual professors, but by the program as a whole.
  11. Davis is a great program, for sure, but...well, it's a UC school in the same budget crisis as the other UC schools. Also, apparently (if the information I received was correct), it is rare for humanities students to receive the university-wide fellowships for which they are nominated (which are supposed to be more generous)--it seems those fellowships tend to go to students in the hard sciences. I was accepted last year but would rather not go into detail on this forum about the funding package. I will say that while funding was guaranteed for for five years, it was iffy. That said, Davis is a
  12. What do you want to study? Why do you want to study it at those programs? In order to give any advice, we need to know where your academic interests lie (even then, beware of anyone assessing your "chances" without having read your writing sample and statement of purpose). Also, the importance of fit cannot be overestimated in admissions. So, why do those programs appeal to you? ETA: As a student at Carolina, you have wonderful resources in the English faculty for grad application questions. Start with them. They will be able to assess your profile and abilities much more keenly than anyone
  13. I had no grad experience, nor did 75% of my cohort. I was accepted to one program where not a single incoming student had an MA in English (this is not to say that none had done grad work; some had MAs in other fields, or MFAs; no doubt some took grad classes as undergrads). I was also accepted to a program where 50% were incoming with MAs in English. The question of whether or not an MA in English will help you or hurt you in English PhD admissions is very debatable, and depends largely on the program in question. For the record, I was advised strongly against pursuing a terminal MA before ap
  14. Forgive me if I seem like a jerk, and know that I realize this advice is not universal, but perhaps it can apply to a wide range of applicants-- The answer is, of course, you should send your best work. I am seeing a lot of people lamenting that their best work is not the most fitting for their proposed project of study. If this is the case, you fix it! If your best work is not the piece that best fits your application, make it work anyway. Revise, revise, revise, so that your best work fits in some way (methodology, etc). Or, take your not-best but better-fitting work and revise it until it
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