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TMP last won the day on September 4

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About TMP

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    Cup o' Joe

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    Transnational History

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  1. To outline or not

    In.... what context?
  2. Americanists usually finish before other fields-- in 5 or 6 years because of easy access to archives in the US and fewer language requirements to deal with. That said, the 2 years devoted to coursework are really essential for teaching and obtaining a broader perspective on history. While I came in my PhD program knowing what I wanted to do my dissertation on, I cannot imagine how different my approaches would have been if I chose to do it my PhD in the UK. Also, you are truly on your own in the UK compared to the US program where professors are usually more available to provide mentoring and advising.
  3. @serenade Writing dissertation proposals is different for everyone, unfortunately. I came in with a MA and that dissertation topic (coming out from my MA thesis) and knew pretty much what I wanted to write. For me, as a born-researcher, working on my dissertation proposal was far much more fun and easier than prepping for the comps. I barely stressed out. I will say that prepping for the comps definitely changed the way I wanted to entered in various conversations. If this is your first go at writing a proposal and haven't thought much about your dissertation since you started it will be challenging. My guess is that if you are able to demonstrate in clear ways your work contributes to the extant scholarship, particularly if the sources are relatively new or a different methodology that hadn't really be considered, you will likely be fine. Having prepped for the comps should have given you a clear sense of what is considered a clear, nuanced approach to the historical problem at hand, not a simplified one as undergraduate papers tend to do. The information coming out of your adviser's meeting sounds terrific. Yes, 2-3 times should be just fine. Remember, none of these professors expected to have to make time for your this semester so you will have to work with what they have on their plate. My professors certainly didn't and prioritized our meetings only when they knew for sure they had the energy and time for the discussions. You will soon find the last meeting for each to be like, "why are we here again? We've talked about everything, as it seems." The professors will use these meetings to measure your level of improvement, particularly if you are the type who feels more comfortable one-on-one than in a group (as I was). My adviser also said the same about not using writtens during the next round of oral; you will just have to be ready for whatever. That said, demonstrate your increased comfort level, ability to teach a survey course, and understanding of history and historiography during your meetings this semester and the committee will likely put more weight on your improvement as much as what actually happens on that day. As for questions, you might actually want to look back at old AP European history exam questions and see how you can answer them with a mix of historical facts and scholarly arguments. I remember how embarrassed I was when my adviser, also embarrassed, told me that a number of questions I was asked were based on undergraduate survey course final exams.... #facepalm
  4. retaking comp exams

    I responded to your question in the other section of the fora. Y You'd do very, very well to read this then. I used it to help me brush up the early modern period and overall preparation: worked like a charm for me-- really impressed my European history committee members.
  5. Wow... this is what happens when flying across the pond to present a conference paper.... I could have walked you through the entire process but @Sigaba offered on-point advice that I likely would have given. I barely passed my writtens and failed my oral exams. My committee had hoped that I would redeem myself during the orals. My problem was the same as yours-- too much information and not enough synthesis. I suspect that 3 of 4 were willing to let me retake while the #4 had to be convinced. My adviser admitted that my dissertation prospectus (included in the exam portfolio) was the thing that saved me from getting kicked out. She also mentioned that the committee was concerned whether or not I was a good fit for the PhD program given (at the time) my hyper-specialized focus on details of history and not broad knowledge to teach an undergrad survey as well. That really woke me up. If you net out any reason why the committee really wants to kick you out, show them (not tell) why you are a good fit to continue onto the dissertation. I am surprised that your adviser is willing to go with it (although there might be politics involved...) as s/he is supposed to be your advocate unless s/he truly thinks very low of you. Which sounds like isn't the case. To your latest round of questions: 1) Do NOT re-take the writtens. However, my committee did recommend that revise the written exams during the interim; they wanted to see that I could make corrections and incorporate arguments and methods in the answers. I learned a tremendous while doing this so it may be worthwhile to do the revisions yourself and let the committee know that you are working on that. If they seemed positive, offer to share the revisions before the orals. 2) Absolutely not...... this is one of those things that you might spill over beer/wine later on.... When my adviser said that i was supposed to incorporate historiography, I looked at her blankly and said, "Oh, I didn't know that... the questions/directions weren't that clear enough...." She only gave me this look: 3) Interesting that suddenly all of them have backed off. I'm now wondering what kind power #3 is holding over the other two. It is pretty incredible to watch your adviser try to fight for you but struggles to stand up to colleagues. All of my committee members were willing to meet with me only twice during the 5 month (I initially took my exam at the end of spring semester and then again towards the end of fall semester). If you can really push your exam to January (if there are no rules about time limits) or even February, it'll give you time to meet with your committee at least once (I hope) while spreading out your studying and job-hunting. I also might suggest meeting with a counselor if you aren't already. While this period is continuation of heavy stress, it also brings opportunities for self-reflection. Talking with someone outside of your program and academics will help a lot.
  6. Finding Graduate Placements

    Most definitely e-mail the Director of Graduate Studies or the graduate program coordinators. They will know the best. I know, I agree, such information should be on public domain but .... there is an issue of PhDs still trying to find jobs and tracking them down after they've "disappeared". As you receive responses, remember the following things: (A) Not everyone wants to go to into academia or get a job related to history after they finish. The PhD does take a lot out of people. So it is really not fair these days to judge a program's ability to place students in academic positions. You'll need to do a little more digging to go beyond the "grain of salt" approach.... and here's what you need to do: (1) Certainly fields do much better than others in obtaining jobs. For example, Middle Eastern historians are in demand in multiple sectors, not just the higher ed. It is tempting to take a relatively lucrative job with reasonable hours in DC than a tenure-track job in a rural area. (2) Department and university funding and outside fellowships do play critical roles helping the PhD student land a job. Programs with solid and guaranteed funding packages and a record of landing Fulbright, Social Sciences Research Council, and other major prestigious fellowships will do much better at placing their PhDs than programs with barely adequate funds. So, look at graduate students' ages and search their names on google for their profiles, which may or may not include their CVs, to see how well they are doing. (B) Understand that the faculty do play a role in preparing and placing PhDs, especially the adviser. Some professors excel at this type of mentorship while others don't give a damn and expect PhDs to figure everything out. So it is important to talk to graduate students when you visit the campus after acceptance about this.
  7. Since the OP is new to history as a professional discipline, I'd recommend searching out for a syllabus for introduction to historiography and the like. I'm actualy out of the country so I don't have access to my bookshelves to remember the precise title/author of several books that I have found useful. Some were handbooks for research/writing history and others offer an introduction to the discipline and its history (aka historiography). Such introductions will give you a sense of how historians approach sources and ask questions. As a philosophy major, you're already quite well trained to analyze texts for arguments and structure. What you need to do now is learn to engage with actual facts and make the choices of actually whether or not to accept them to use for your argument. (My best friend was a philosophy major and our conversations sometime get a little too intense when we debate the "truth" behind sources to answer our big question at the time )
  8. Stance on re-using personal statements?

    I would re-write the statements, only to see how much you have grown intellectually and as a writer. I have had to re-write my dissertation proposals multiple times from scratch and the difference is huge.
  9. How many schools should I apply to?

    And know that the world will not end if things don't work out the way you'd like them to. There's always next year!
  10. Fall 2018 Applicants

    The question is, do you want to produce a 250-350 page dissertation? That is what makes the PhD different from the MA. If you cannot see yourself spending 3-5 years research and writing about one topic, then you'll want to find MA programs with funding. Also, is getting a PhD necessary to be a university archivist?
  11. Fall 2018 Applicants

    Not necessarily. As long as your questions are similar to theirs they can work with you.
  12. In addition to all the good advice above, know that this is your first semester! Professors in general are very understanding of new students' struggles to find their footing. They will cut you a lot of slack. Do not, do not try to achieve perfection. Try and relax if the other students "seem" to be more well-prepared, especially if they are further alone. Try to listen more than talking. Let your positive attitude drive you. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. Professors are most interested in seeing improvement over time. If this is your first time TAing, do not try to do too much. Know that there will be plenty of opportunities to get good at it but it's not the most important thing on your list (but grading and turning back assignments ASAP is). This semester will be all about getting your feet wet, nothing more, nothing less. First year isn't *that* much harder than any other years but it feels the hardest only because everything is new, from your books to the administration to the department culture to figuring out the health insurance. By your second year, you will have a different set of challenges but you will have the routine stuff down pat.
  13. How important are friends/social life in grad school?

    If I remember where you are going, I would not worry at all. Really. Start grad school with a positive attitude and fight the good fight with a positive attitude. Anxiety is normal but you will be so amazed how quickly negativity and "getting in your own head" can overtake your entire life. Because... academia. Know that you have much better world outside of the university and you should make an effort to meet graduate students in other universities in the area There must be Facebook groups or something. I agree with some of the comments above. You may be able to relate to students much farther along as they may have gotten married and have babies in the process. Also, don't be so quick to judge undergraduate degree years as there are indeed plenty of people who completed such degrees later in their lives. My PhD program has several of those folks. They find their own niche. If I am correctly aware, your PhD program is also very small so no doubt that your cohort will have to stay in touch with one another to battle similar fights and celebrate common victories. And yeah, I'd rather be mistaken for a staff member/professor than an undergraduate. I honestly have to put on *real* and nice clothes while the undergrads wear their sporty attire and hoodies to avoid being asked inappropriate questions.
  14. Fall 2018 Applicants

    @infovore That's not true that you must have some coursework prior to entering a MA program. You will simply have a steep learning curve upon entering the MA Demonstrate in your application your understanding of history/historiography based on your independent readings and thesis. Don't reject yourself before they reject you. They may well see potential in you and take a chance! Your thesis will help you. You can give PhD programs a shot but don't reject MA programs that can give you some real grounding.
  15. I'll be blunt with numbers: 5-10% no matter where.