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  1. redwine

    U Penn

    Speaking as a current PhD student in Russian history, and to enlighten all the people in fields with bigger yields (ie any American field), most schools only ever accept one Russianist, if any at all. That's why it is super hard to get in with our specialty (although arguably, there are few people trying for spots, so that mitigates it somewhat). At my school, which has a strong program in Russian history, it is rare that more than one person is ever offered a place each year. It is tough for the professors frankly because yes, the way the admissions go, a number of schools are often fighting
  2. redwine


    I am in a history graduate program right now, and in my program Americanists have to fulfill two foreign language requirements. Most people come in with at least one fluent or near-fluent language and take classes in another to pass the two language exams. I think if you already had two languages that would be a big positive. Plus, I would reiterate what was said above re relevance of the language - if your research has nothing to do with Italians, it is almost an irrelevance to have it. I think most programs would prefer spanish + french or german. Obviously if your interest require anot
  3. Humblemumblings - a few Russian history recommendations Soviet: Stephen Kotkin, 'Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as Civilization' Terry Martin, 'The Affirmative Action Empire' Catriona Kelly, 'Children's World' (this is HUGE but very entertaining! A cultural history of Soviet childhood ) Sheila Fitzpatrick, 'Everyday Stalinism' Pre-Revolutionary Jeffrey Brooks 'When Russia Learned to Read' Laura Engelstein 'The Keys to Happiness: Sex and the search for modernity in fin-de-siecle Russia' Richard Wortman, 'Scenarios of Power' David Ransel has a new book out that I haven't read yet
  4. For the people wondering about NYU: I was an applicant last year and the visit day was indeed confusing. I didn't get invited (I'm international) and assumed I wasn't in but actually got in in the end (my would-be advisor called with the news and apologized at the time for the fact that they couldn't invite me to the day!). I do know there were people who were invited who didn't get in in the end. I'm not sure if this is good news or bad (!) and I know its stressful trying to second-guess what the department thinks but thought my experience from last year would help. My boyfriend was in th
  5. I can sympathise with those above who have had to carefully word emails to the 'dean in their field.' I had the same problem; and she sent me a perfunctory reply to my long, apologetic email about turning down her program! I am tempted to think I have burned my bridges there and shouldn't even try to approach her at conferences and such like, but I think I will have to swallow my fear and do it anyway as she will be an important contact for the future. Gulp. Most other people I have emailed re turning down programs have been very nice though, and said they understand how difficult it is an
  6. redwine


    I can completely relate to this - I too am applying to a subfield of history kind of predicated on knowing a language really well (Russian) and I'm terrified my language is not up to scratch, especially as I know some of the other grads in my program are actual Russians/Ukrainians who will be horrified when they hear me stumbling over the grammar or see me painstakingly translating a simple document with the help of a massive dictionary! I did fine in my Russian classes in undergrad and lived in Russia for 8 months, so you think I'd be ok with it, but its a damn hard language and I still real
  7. I have a funding question re grants internationals can apply for - this should maybe go in the international grads section, but I thought it should go here as often US students know about funding opportunities internationals can apply for and those they can't (this is my experience talking to other grads anyway...) So, considering many common grants are closed to internationals (I'm thinking especially of language study grants like FLAS, IREX and the DAAD grants for German) does anyone know of any major grants or scholarships actually open to those of us coming from a long way away? I'm part
  8. Hi - as someone who did not do my undergrad in the US but who got got offers for my PhD at US schools this time round I thought I could offer some insight into what admission committees value - if only because they naturally had to overlook some things in my application which were different to a US application and if they were willing to do so, it suggests these things aren't so important. In terms of cumulative GPA v. history GPA - I expect they look at certain subjects but aren't so bothered by others. So history obviously is the most important, but possibly languages too - I know every
  9. Hi, I got positive news from NYU and so did someone else I know, about 10 days ago or so from faculty members themselves. I haven't received my official letter of offer yet though, but have heard from my advisor, the history office and other faculty all confirming that I'm in. If you haven't heard in the same way I don't think it would mean your are definitely out (my friend who also heard in the affirmative found out days after me) but I do know there has been a list of definites around for a while. Maybe just email and say friends have heard news, when should you hear, etc. As far as I k
  10. I too was very moved by your post UofChihopeful. It is very tough to feel like you are prevented from doing what you really love. All I can say is if you have a real passion you should hang in there and try again. Perhaps if you take a year break you can think about ways to bolster your application - taking university level language courses, offering research assistance to a professor, presenting an undergrad paper at a conference etc. This would both make your application stronger and show just how passionate you are. Also, to second what was said above about finding a job in the meant
  11. Ok, so this topic, like the last one, will lay bear my propensity to stay awake worrying in the night. I spent the last twelve months convinced I would not get into grad school, and now I have been accepted everywhere I applied (pinch me! that 200th rewrite of the SOP paid off!) I am starting to fret convincing myself no way am I ready for the intensity of grad school. Through the whole application process I had merry dreams of myself swanning around Harvard reading hot-of-the-presses monographs and talking with likeminded people, in between sitting in little cafes drinking lattes and writin
  12. I know its a little early yet, and I personally still want to go to all of the places I have been offered (!). But when I'm awake in the middle of the night stressing about graduate school, one of the things I'm now stressing about is this: when I do come to turn down 3 of the 4 schools that have offered me a place, how do I do it so that the faculty there won't take it as a rejection of their kind offers to me!? I have been in contact with faculty at all of the schools and chatted with many on the phone; in my small field I know I will probably meet them all again at conferences or maybe ev
  13. redwine

    Visit Days

    Sure, my interests are broadly modern European, but specifically Russia and Eastern Europe, histories of sexuality, history of popular culture, socio-cultural history (ie ways to integrate social and cultural approaches to history), history of Russian Empire - ie Ukraine, Caucasus, Central Asia. Time period: C19 and early C20. Wow, thus was much more concise than on my SOP
  14. redwine

    Visit Days

    Yes, I did decide to make it to one day - the timing was perfect for me and I could find the funds for the initial cost of the flight, despite it being expensive-I do wish I could have made them all but for me to come to all would have been an initial cost for me of more than USD$5000. Although some would be reimbursed I don't have that in the bank just now for the initial outlay! So I'm making it to Harvard in the the hope that I will get a good feel for that institution, and hear about the rest by word of mouth. Still undecided though! Yes, I'd love to hear your impressions of Michigan N
  15. redwine

    Visit Days

    I second the idea that people post about their visit days. I'm going to my first next week, which is Harvard on 13-14 March. I am rather scared, especially as I think I exhausted my (rather large) list of questions in emails to the Profs as soon as I found out I was accepted, and now am quickly reading lots of articles by said profs so I can ask something erudite about their approaches to detailed historical questions! Am also a little intimidated by the other people I will meet at Harvard, especially as I am an international who doesn't know which undergraduate schools are even considered
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