Glasperlenspieler

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  1. Importance of Non-philosophy Classes in Grad Applications

    While @kretschmar makes some good points, I think I would disagree with the overall force of the comment. If your cumulative GPA remains above 3.7 and and your philosophy GPA is really a 4.0, then I think your grades are high enough that your application would get a serious look, assuming everything else is in order. Philosophy grad admissions are notoriously competitive, so that's no guarantee of anything. However, I don' think you will be rejected merely because you had some poor grades in non-philosophy classes (with the possible exception that you want to specialize in philosophy of science or a particularly technical subfield). Generally speaking, I think the quantitative aspects of your application are what make sure you get past the first cut. After that, they don't admit students because of good scores but because they think that will be successful graduate students in that program and, eventually, successful philosophers.
  2. Do people transfer PhD programs ever?

    This may be true for the sciences but is typically not the case in the humanities from my experience. In the humanities, students are usually funded by the department as a whole and teaching positions, not through individual professors.
  3. Transfer and Statement

    I do know of a couple of cases where a student has "moved up" from one philosophy PhD program to a higher ranked one, although it is extremely uncommon and requires an exceptional applicant, I think. Your application will probably be held to a higher standard than someone applying from their BA or terminal MA and it will be very important to explain why the new program better suits your needs than they current one. Philosophy is a small world though, so it would be best not to bash your current program but rather frame your move in terms of what the new program offers you that the current one doesn't. Also, a "transfer" here is probably something of a misnomer. If you are accepted, you will probably have to start back from square one. At most you may be able to get credit for a couple classes taken at your previous institution.
  4. Contacting POI

    If you've already submitted your app, don't contact them now. At this point, it would probably come across as you trying to win points, which is not what you want. I think earlier in the process it can make sense to contact people, but primarily if you have an actual question about the program or its fit for you. I tend to think professors see through it pretty quickly if you're just contacting them to increase your odds of admission.
  5. Tax Change Impact - Tuition Waivers Taxed!

    The Republicans have a joint tax bill: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/us/politics/tax-bill-republicans-deal.html?_r=0 No word yet on the status of tuition waivers.
  6. 2018 Applicants

    This may or may not be helpful for you, but one good thing to keep in mind is that your entire application functions as a package. So, try to minimize any overlap between what your CV and SOP accomplish. If something can easily be listed, then put it on your CV and leave if off your SOP. So don't bother listing awards, experiences, or classes in your SOP (unless absolutely necessary) and focus on clarifying your research interests. What is it that makes you tick as a scholar and why? This is what your SOP should focus on and anything else should be fit in elsewhere on your application.
  7. Tax Change Impact - Tuition Waivers Taxed!

    @ExponentialDecay, it appears that the removal of student loan forgiveness is legislation that was introduced in the House yesterday while the Senate was debating tax reform. So, as far as I can tell it is in neither the House nor the Senate version of the tax bill, but rather is a separate piece of legislation. Barring any changes to this that may have been involved in yesterday's amendments (I'm not aware of any, but I don't know for sure), this is a helpful breakdown of the Senate and House tax bills as it impacts higher education: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/11/30/how-senate-and-house-tax-bills-would-hit-higher-education Of course the differences between these bills will have to be reconciled somehow.
  8. Kierkegaardian Hermit Krab Looking for a Shell

    I worry that your interests won't be well suited to many American philosophy departments. You can certainly find people who work on Hegel and Kierkegaard and, to a lesser degree, Marx, however Badiou, media studies, Benjamin, deconstruction, etc. don't really get taken seriously in many philosophy departments with the exception of some SPEP programs. Of those, you might look at Penn State, the SUNY schools, Fordham, BC, and BU (depending on how far from NYC you're willing to stray). I suspect that Columbia and CUNY would want to see at least some background in analytic philosophy even if you plan on working on more continental philosophy, but I could be wrong about that. I'd also check what Honneth is up to. He's got to be close to retirement age and I thought he was only half-time at Columbia anyways. I'm not sure what you've heard about UPenn. I certainly wouldn't apply to their philosophy program with your interests, but you might find their comparative literature program worth a look. How's your German? NYU's German program also seems like a potentially strong fit for you.
  9. Sue Jones at Oxford seems to work at the intersection of dance and British literature. So that's someone you might want to take a look at. I'm not really familiar with that area, but a friend was telling me about her work. You're best bet is probably to look for scholarship on the topic that interests you and see where the people who are writing on it are teaching. Good luck!
  10. Successful Writing Samples

    1. On most framework, arguments are valid/invalid, sound/unsound and propositions are true/false. Try to avoid that mistake in a writing sample. 2. You should certainly make sure your arguments are valid (especially if you present them in premise/conclusion form) and do everything you can to demonstrate the truth of your premises. I'm not quite sure what you mean by "can easily be shown to be objectively true or false" but if it's anything stronger than giving valid arguments and arguing for the soundness of the premises, then I'm not sure this occurs all that often in philosophy. This is probably the single most important factor when it comes to graduate admissions (assuming everything else is in order). What it takes for you to get admitted is for someone on the admissions committee to get excited about your writing sample, hopefully multiple someones. This is also where fit comes in. Fit can occur in straightforward ways (applying with a writing sample on Aristotle is problematic if nobody in the department publishes on Aristotle) but also more complicated ways (if you reject a two-objects view of Kant in favor of a two-aspects view, then your odds of getting accepted at Brown to work with Guyer on the first critique are probably pretty low).
  11. Successful Writing Samples

    I think this is partly right but perhaps not quite accurate. The key here is that you need to show an awareness of contemporary secondary literature on the topic. A paper on Hume or Aristotle can certainly be successful but to do so it's going to have to be responding to and/or taking into consideration the lines of debate that form current Hume or Aristotle scholarship. You mention Kripke, but a Kripke paper could be just as outdated if it doesn't take into account how others have responded to Kripke in recent years. It's less about the topic in this case and more about showing your awareness of the current conversations about the topic at hand (even if this occurs mostly in the footnotes). I think the analytic-continental distinction is largely unhelpful and this is no different in the case of writing samples. What you need is clear, compelling prose that makes a coherent argument. This applies whether you're writing on Heidegger or David Lewis. If you're going to write on Heidegger, your prose better be closer to that of Dreyfus, Kelly, Carman, Wrathall, et al. than it is to Heidegger's. That being said, if you want to do German/French philosophy in a department that isn't primarily "continental", it would probably behoove you to demonstrate some awareness of major issues in analytic philosophy. Fit comes in here too. You have to think about who can support the sorts of projects you want to do and what sorts of students are typically admitted at the program in question. Yeah, maybe, but I expect this is a case where the exception proves the rule. Send your best work. If that happens to make a positive claim, then so be it. (I'm also skeptical how strong the distinction between a negative paper and a positive one really goes, but that's another story).
  12. Recommender choice

    Unfortunately, my sense is that teaching experience doesn't count for all that much in PhD admissions, especially at elite universities. It's seen as a plus but it's typically not going to be decisive as to whether or not you're admitted. So, you're probably better off going with someone who can speak to your academic qualities and capacity to excel in a graduate program. That being said, an enthusiastic recommendation pertaining to your teaching is probably better than a lukewarm recommendation regarding your abilities as a students, assuming that your other two recommendations focus on academic matters.
  13. I think it's hard to give a general answer to this. Comp lit departments vary pretty heavily from one to the next. Some are independent, autonomous departments, others are primarily collections of professors who also have appointments in national language departments. Some require that your advisor come from the department, others are less stringent. What's certainly the case is that in any program you will be required to take courses in two to three national literature departments, so you will certainly have the opportunity to work with people in the English or French departments. You're best bet is probably to email the professors you are interested in working with, briefly explain your research interests, and ask whether it makes more sense to apply in comp lit or their department and whether or not they regularly advise students in comp lit. Anything short of this and you're really just working on guess work. Side note: my sense is that to be successful in comp lit admissions, your project has to be genuinely comparative. It's not sufficient to have an interest in various professors who are not all housed in the same department. You should also have advanced proficiency in one foreign language and at least a solid reading ability in a second. Also remember that it's possible to do comparative projects in national literature departments and work with professors in other departments (albeit to varying degrees in different departments). I applied (unsuccessfully) to a few comp lit program, whereas I did fairly well in the national lit departments I applied to. In hindsight, I expect I might have stood a better chance at some places had I applied to the relevant national lit department instead of to comp lit, but that's merely conjecture.
  14. Recommender choice

    I agree with jrockford's advice. I would only add that it's probably wise to include at least one recommendation from your current degree program. Even if your future work will deal more with literature than cultural studies, I think that not having any recommendations from your current program could send up red flags, if they think that you couldn't find anyone there to write a recommendation for you. Plus cultural studies is so integral to lots of what goes on in literature departments that it will probably still be applicable.
  15. 2018 Applicants

    In addition to the sage advice from @punctilious, one important way to start narrowing down programs is to move beyond thinking about research interests to research approaches. If you want to study Shakespeare, it's not enough that a department has a few early modernists if their approach differs substantially from what you envision yourself doing. It's important to find potential advisors that not only work on the same topics as you do but deal with texts in a way that is related/complementary to what you do. This sort of fit may not be evident from looking at a professor's profile on the departmental website. More informative would be to take a look at their articles/books and see how well they fit with the sort of work you would like to do.