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Everything posted by ashiepoo72

  1. The most important parts of the application: 1. Fit (this is how you figure out where to apply) 2. Statement of purpose that demonstrates fit, engagement with relevant historiographies, the ability to conceive a dissertation-worthy project, evidence of previous research experience and generally showing you understand what a history PhD is all about. For the SOP to be successful, your project needs to be narrow enough to be a dissertation. From what you've described, I have no clue what your project is about. All I know is geography, time period and the very vague umbrella of "social and cultural history." So you need to really think about the specifics before you can even approach an application. I do, however, recommend demonstrating a level of flexibility; your project will more than likely change as you proceed through the program, and your adviser will more than likely not want to deal with someone who is incapable of accepting that change. This could be as simple as discussing how you started a research project expecting one thing, but the primary sources led you to another thing--as they should! Could also be along the lines of expressing that you look forward to working with Professor Awesome on X method to explore Y and Z and how that may impact your project. 3. Writing sample based on original primary source research, preferably using the methods and tools of the history discipline. I have colleagues and friends who used writing samples in related disciplines because they didn't start out in history. If you do this, you need to explain in the SOP how your experience will elevate/inform your research as a historian. Since you're interested in public history, this should be an easier selling point for you. To figure out fit, which is central to every application, you need to know the departments to which you apply inside and out. Find 2-3 scholars in the department with whom you could work, whether they are thematically, geographically, methodologically in line with your research interests. You need to show why these scholars make sense as potential committee members. TMP gave great advice on how to find such scholars. Moreover, you need to show what you bring to the department. How will your research add to the intellectual environment? It's a good idea to consider what resources the university has--any collections in the library that are pertinent to your research? Archives nearby? Also consider what other resources the department can provide. Funding, placement record are very, very important. Any department that won't tell you their placement record is suspicious. You don't want to go somewhere that uses you as cheap labor and is incapable of placing their grads in jobs inside or outside academia.
  2. I wouldn't have joined Phi Alpha Theta as a PhD student, but I did as an MA student after a very mediocre BA career. I figured being part of an honors society would help me find a more serious community of students, form a writing group and have a support network on a campus where I knew no one. I enjoyed my time with PAT and still talk to many people I met through it. Don't join because you think it'll make a difference on your CV--it won't. Most people remove PAT from their CV once they start receiving awards and honors at the PhD level. @starshiphistory is spot on: PAT's worth depends on how active the chapter is. Do they put together workshops for writing and presenting at conferences? Invite guest speakers? Do fun things together (movie night was my fave)? How involved are the mentors/professors? Btw, PAT offers small grants to members who are pursuing a PhD. I haven't applied for one, but I like knowing it's an option if I ever need to.
  3. I'm empathetic to those who want to visit campuses in person--it helped me make my decision! I'm also grateful to my department for being cautious. Our county has had several cases, including of unknown origin (community spread), and for those of us who care for elderly relatives, it's a relief to be part of a department that takes this virus seriously. As one of my professors said, even if we personally are not in a high-risk group, we need to take precautions because of the vulnerable populations with whom we come into contact who cannot effectively fight the virus due to lack of resources, underlying conditions and age. I know teleconferencing isn't ideal, but hopefully it will give you enough information to make the decision that's right for you.
  4. UC Davis has as well and will be teleconferencing. I'm happy to chat with any prospective students about the program. TMP is spot on (as usual), current grads are an excellent resource! Doesn't hurt to ask your POI to put you in touch with some of their students.
  5. Re: canceled recruitment visits Many airlines are being more understanding than usual about canceled trips and will at least let you transfer what you paid to another trip. I've received emails from United indicating they'll change tickets booked through March 31st for free for 12 months.
  6. The way I see it, your option is to contact the university, say you'd love to attend but would only be able to do so with funding, and hope they offer it to you. The worst they can say is no.
  7. This is my experience, too (my research pulls a bit from political science literature). I do think if a person's research involves quantitative methods, they can make a case for experience in political science preparing them, but this doesn't seem to be the case for OP.
  8. Every applicant should have a reasonably well-defined dissertation proposal (it's not something you'll be married to, my dissertation has changed in both small and big ways every year I've been in grad school. Programs want to see that applicants get what a history PhD is about and how to formulate a proposal, engage with historiography, have some sense of methodology). What you have to do is prove you're ready to take the leap into history after being in a PoliSci PhD for a year, or more if you plan on getting a Master's before making the switch. I think @TMP's suggestion to take a historiography class is a good one. Even if you *think* you have a grasp of historiography already, showing history programs you've taken the initiative won't hurt. If you don't have time to do that, read a ton (but with purpose) in your areas of interest. This will help you narrow your interests, engage with historiographical arguments, figure out where you envision your dissertation intervening and find potential advisers. Do you have a paper based on original historical research that can be used as a writing sample? Maybe your BA thesis could be edited for that? Because a writing sample suitable for history applications should be high on your list of things to do as well.
  9. There are a few things you should do to make the switch (and I'm sure other people will chime in with more): 1. You need to have a well-fleshed out dissertation proposal and strong grasp of the historiography required to execute it, as well as exhibit understanding of historical research methods. Your interests are many and broad, so figure out how they coalesce into a narrow enough dissertation that makes a compelling intervention in that historiography. 2. You need to think about how your experience in political science (specific classes/research/readings) can be leveraged. How would they inform your dissertation? Sell your year as a PoliSci grad so it doesn't come off as a wasted year, but as a stepping stone to your History PhD. I'd also emphasize that you did major in history as an undergrad, so it's not like you're coming into this brand new. 3. You should do your best to get a strong LOR from your major adviser. At the very least, someone on your committee, or someone with whom you've done a significant amount of work. You need someone who can speak to your qualifications as a grad student. This can be a challenge because programs don't take kindly to investing in someone only to have them leave. Just make it very clear to them that your interests have changed beyond what the program can accommodate (in nicer terms). However, I wonder: is there no way to inject your historical interests into a PoliSci PhD? You might want to consider that before you start all over in the application process and then in grad school if you get in. Like you said, the prospects for History PhDs are pretty harrowing.
  10. Have you received any other, better funded offers? When I was negotiating, I mentioned a funding offer at a higher ranked program and the program I currently attend offered me a fellowship. If your first choice is higher ranked/more prestigious, you could send an email to the program you're leaning toward and basically say you're choosing between the two and your decision would be easier if you received X (summer funding? other incentives?). You could also email your top choice and let them know you received a funded offer from the other program, but reiterate that they are your top choice and you hope to receive funding so you can attend. Good luck!
  11. Doesn't seem like it according to this: https://academicjobs.wikia.org/wiki/Dissertation_Fellowships_2020-2021
  12. On funding: I encourage EVERYONE to start researching different funding opportunities and when you are eligible for them as soon as possible. I started doing so in my first year, but I wish I had done it the summer before I started my program just to get ahead. Make a spreadsheet or some other organizing document with the opportunity, required materials, pre/post-ABD/completion fellowship/grant/travel grant, due date, link to the website etc. I organize mine by phase/year, so pre-ABD, 4th year, 5th year, completion, post-docs. Add as you find more, subtract as your project changes. It helped me a lot to enter the PhD with a funding plan (ex: 1st year fellowship, 2nd year teaching, 3rd year GSR and so on). Obviously it had to be adjusted as things fell through or fell in my lap, but it's really important to keep funding on your mind so you don't miss out on opportunities. You will write more grant/fellowship applications over the course of your career than you will write books. Writing books is exceedingly difficult without grants/fellowships (unless you're independently wealthy). Imo everyone should be treating funding like a critical aspect of their job--which it is!--by spending some amount of time each week working on it, either updating their spreadsheet, tweaking proposals, searching for more opportunities, whatever it may be.
  13. I want to cosign. I had to replace my laptop in the middle of my first year, but the one I bought (extremely cheap and unreliable, don't be like me) ended up dying early in my third year. I found a laptop that had the specs I wanted at the price I could afford, and it has been good to me (it's an Acer Aspire E5-575 if anyone is interested). However, I recently went through a horror show trying to recover the documents I had on my last laptop because the external drive they were on was lost in my latest move. I HIGHLY recommend you have a reliable laptop at the very start of grad school. It's great if your current laptop does the job, but if you're having any issues, get an upgrade. Also, treat your external drive like a block of gold. And maybe back stuff up on the Cloud, too.
  14. Students in the program brought up issues from their perspective, stuff the professors courting me either wouldn't say or wouldn't know about, and most of it came out in informal settings during prospie weekend. Funding packages are all well and good, but they're pretty meaningless when you don't know stuff like cost of living, what happens if you need an extra year, if the department will defer funding in your offer for a year if you get an external fellowship, what sort of support the department/university offers (for me, stuff like child care), if the insurance is just medical or includes dental/vision (maybe less important if you get one offer and it comes with just medical, but I had multiple offers with the full suite). What's the department culture like (hard to tell from afar, you get a better sense of it after the prospective student events, usually when current grads take prospies out for beer at the end of the day)? Department tensions (for example, one program seemed to show a lot of preference for a particular field, the students in other fields couldn't hide their resentment. Some programs fully fund some students, only fund others term to term, which can also breed resentment)? How supportive/what are the advising styles of the professors you want on your committees and, importantly, how do the professors you're eyeing work together (need to talk to their grad students, think about what happens if there are specific people you NEED on a committee and they don't get along)? Do you not want to be one of two women in a cohort of 20 (this happened to one of my friends)? If the department offers grants for research/conferences, how do those shake out ("We offer grants each year" can translate to "we offer one grant to one student each year")? Common element: talking to grad students in informal settings. You may be able to achieve this over email/phone, but I didn't get nearly as much information from the grads hand-picked to talk me into attending each university as I did when out to beer with grad students during prospie weekend. Hope this helps!
  15. This is different for everyone. Anecdotally, I was pretty much set on one program until campus visits changed my mind, so they ended up being very important to the decision-making process.
  16. The Berkeley one sounds legit to me, but it doesn't really matter. Some POIs email their students before official notifications go out, other admits have to wait until the official notifications, some programs wait list, others notify in waves based on internal funding allocation or other reasons. The only notification that matters is yours.
  17. Many people get an MA to offset a less than stellar undergraduate career. The MA grades matters more because they're for things that you'll be expected to do in a PhD (delving deep in historiography, original research and writing, more intensive coursework etc). I had pretty much the same stats as you in undergrad and MA. If the rest of your stats are great, I wouldn't worry too much.
  18. Hard to say, @historygeek, most programs claim 3.0 GPA is the minimum for acceptance but a 3.33 is rather low for an MA GPA. Will you be able to take enough classes to raise it above a 3.5? A B or B+ isn't a necessarily a death knell (anecdotal, but I received a B early in my MA program and did alright). It's all about how you make up for it, like getting excellent grades from here on out, fantastic original research/writing, shoring up language skills, killing it on the GRE, securing top-notch recommenders, etc
  19. I was just talking to a prospective graduate student about a similar dilemma. My advice was to consider the sacrifices you'd have to make to get the PhD versus the benefits. If you're already drawn to a different career, then it seems to me like the sacrifices would be too much to justify it. Getting the PhD can be brutal at times, you'd have to do coursework regardless of having an MA so that's another 5-7 years before you finish, then getting a job is even more brutal. One of my committee members always reminds me that the workload only increases once you're on the tenure track (IF you ever get on TT). Many of my colleagues put kids, marriage, even dating on hold (if this sounds like something you'd do, is it worth it to get the PhD? Now that I'm 31, I've started stressing about it myself, and I'm in love with teaching and research!), and those that didn't are working hard to factor their families into their job searches (limiting themselves geographically and not having much luck because of it, giving up the dream of TT and going private sector/adjuncting, etc). The good thing is a history MA goes nicely with your current interests. You could look into MAs in museum studies and/or library sciences (I have a friend who went the museum studies route and received funding, I can contact her if you'd like), more interning or working at a library or museum, take a few years and reassess. You may find you miss history and really want to go back to grad school, at which point you can apply to PhD programs, or you'll realize you made the right choice and be well on your way to having a different career that you love. I want to echo that you're not a failure at all. This is your life and career, and it's fantastic that you take it seriously enough to be honest with yourself about how your interests have changed. Some of the smartest, most competent people I've met left the program after comps because they had enough self-awareness to know it wasn't for them. Good luck ❤️
  20. @Sigaba that's a good question to ask a program for sure. My comment assumes people will have satisfactory reviews at the end of each year. My program won't cut a student's funding if one of their end-of-year reviews is unsatisfactory as long as they get satisfactory at the end of the following year. If not, it becomes more of a having to leave the program entirely issue than a funding issue.
  21. Any program that won't fund you for 5 years minimum isn't worth your time imo. It's a good idea to contact the grad program coordinator and/or chair at schools that aren't clear on funding. I highly recommend getting in touch with your potential advisers' grad students, as well. They can discuss your POIs advising style (invaluable information!) and give you info on how funding plays out in practical terms (cost of living, research/conference funds, department awards, funding for a potential 6th or 7th year, how well the department does in supporting applications for external funding, etc) FWIW I'm currently in my 5th year and will be finishing the dissertation at the end of my 6th if all goes as planned. Most people take more than 5 years, which is why it's so important to get at least that in guaranteed funding. Ask programs if they will count university-wide or external fellowships against the funding they guarantee you; the better ones will not, and this gives grad students a bit of a cushion in the event they need more than 5 years to finish.
  22. I know this is an old post, but my 2 cents is: whatever the number of programs you fit and to which you can afford to apply. If I could do it all over again, I would've also cut programs with sketchy funding
  23. Hello all, just dropping in to send you good vibes as deadlines approach! If anyone has questions about UC Davis, feel free to PM me
  24. For those in history who may find this useful, my experiences have been: Summers after academic years 1 and 2 (pre-ABD): light research depending on internal and external travel grants; I went on at least 1 research trip both these summers. Mostly spent the time slogging through secondary literature and hanging out with family. Researched/planned funding applications. Summers after years 3 and 4 (ABD): heavy research, 1-2 long research trips or 4-5 short research trips. Many colleagues only did 1 long research trip both years, my project just happens to require a bunch of small archives. I did not have a fellowship last academic year, but I imagine if I did I wouldn't need to go on as many research trips as I am now (in summer 4). Experiences vary greatly based on myriad things. Also spent time researching/planning funding applications and organizing the material found during the trips (as an aside, I recommend doing this between research trips so you don't have documents from multiple archives waiting to be organized--it's such a pain!)
  25. I bought my last few laptops on eBay, refurbished or new, because I'm cheap. The first time I went for a 17" screen but at the time knew nothing about specs and the laptop was crap. My latest one is 15" which is much easier to lug around (the 17" killed me on research trips). I recommend paying attention to specs above all else. Once you figure out what specs you need, then you can figure out what form you want the laptop to take. Imo these are the minimum specs for historians who don't also moonlight as gamers: intel core i5+, 8GB RAM (my last laptop had 5GB and it was terrible, new one has 8 and works really well. if you can swing 16GB, that's even better, but it's expensive), SSD, 1080p. My laptop also has a good graphics chip, but this isn't as important unless you use it for gaming. I think it's the NVIDIA GTX 1050. Other really important things: battery life, battery life, battery life! Make sure it can stay charged for 8 hours + at minimum. How many ports do you need, if any? Screen size? Some people work well on smaller screens, others like larger ones where they can easily see two documents/websites side by side. Also, do you need a DVD/CD player? More and more people view these as vestigial but I use mine fairly often for documentaries that aren't available online. Finally, an underrated feature is a keyboard that lights up. It's silly, but having one was a revelation for me haha Good luck on your new acquisition! PS: I've had Dells all my life, but latest laptop is Acer and I absolutely love it. Don't be afraid to venture away from your typical brand, but if you do, make sure to look at reviews and ask around for info.
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