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About Glasperlenspieler

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  1. Glasperlenspieler

    Is stipend taxed?

    Generally speaking: stipends are income and are taxed accordingly. Despite a close call involving shithead Republicans in congress, tuition waivers and scholarships used to pay for tuition are still tax free.
  2. Glasperlenspieler

    UChicago MPPSS or MAPH?

    I could be convinced otherwise, but it's not obvious to me that a program's reputation as a cash cow is unrelated to it's reputation in terms of placement. Furthermore, while prestige can be very important when considering PhD programs, I tend to think it's less important for an MA. I'd take a funded 2 years masters from a less prestigious university over a paid masters from an elite institution any day, but that's just me...
  3. Glasperlenspieler

    UChicago MPPSS or MAPH?

    I wouldn't be so quick to claim this. Yes, U Chicago obviously has a strong reputation, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the reputation transfers to all programs. If you look around these boards, you'll find numerous threads arguing (for good reasons) that these programs are really cash cows for the university. (MAPSS seems to have a somewhat better reputation than MAPH in this respect). That's not to say that one can't gain a lot from one of these programs, but given the high tuition cost and low financial aid resources, it is often not an ideal situation.
  4. Glasperlenspieler

    Prestigious program or not?

    I think there's some truth to this. However, one thing I would definitely do in the OPs position is obtain a list of former advisees of the professors you'd be interesting in working with and see where they are now (this is perhaps less helpful for advisees pre-2008, but still a good exercise). It's possible that at the lower ranked institution there are handful of professors that do a very good job of placing their students. If so and if those professors are the one's the OP would like to work with, that might mitigate some of the concerns regarding rank. (Although I do think that @ExileFromAFutureTime makes a very valid point that's worth considering).
  5. I beg to differ on this one. There are certainly some questions that you can't ask to some people but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be asked. They just need to be asked discreetly to the right person. Typically, these are the sort of things that you should ask grad students in a casual environment removed from professors, such as: -Which professors shouldn't be put on committees together? -Is the stipend enough to live on/what do students do to support themselves beyond the stipend? -What is Professor X's reputations as an advisor? -How prepared to students feel on the job market? How successful have recent grads been? -Are their factions/cliques among the grad students? Among the professors? -How many students leave the program before completion? Why do they leave? -How flexible rigid are the course/program requirements? -Where do faculty and students butt heads? I could go on, but that should give you an idea of the sort of things you really do want to know and should do your best to find out on a visit. Some of these you could ask to professors, but seeing as they're trying to convince you to attend, grad students are the better ones to ask. They too might be trying to sell the program but they were in your shoes more recently and thus are more apt to be more candid about their experience. Plus professors can be pretty oblivious about some of these things. You should definitely broach these topics tactfully, but they are by no means off limits.
  6. Glasperlenspieler

    Current English PhD students - Q&A

    @Warelin is certainly right that this is complicated, but I would suggest there are some patterns at work here. I think some programs do quite well at placing their students in permanent, TT positions, but rarely, if ever, place a student at an R1. Other programs might be more hit and miss in terms of placement, but the students they do place often end up at R1 universities. If you look around, I wouldn't be surprised if a handful of PhD programs produce 70+% of professors at R1 institutions (this is certainly true in my field, which is a non-anglophone literature). Academia can be pretty incestuous and this is especially true at the upper echelon of research universities. The catch, however, is that students from these programs often get overlooked for more teaching focused jobs. Someone with a PhD from an elite private university which does quite well at placing students suggested that people from that program rarely, if ever, got interviews from smaller, public universities. There are also other factors, such as regional notoriety (some programs place quite well at universities in the same part of the country but don't have as strong of a national reputation) or religious affiliation (PhD programs at Catholic universities tend to place quite well at other Catholic colleges/universities, all else being equal).
  7. Glasperlenspieler

    Writing Sample

    I'm with @hector549 and @Marcus_Aurelius. Here's one good approach :Find a relatively recent but significant account/theory of something in the scholarship (ideally something related to your proposed area of interest). Give a (charitable) analysis of what the account argues and why it's important/compelling. Then provide a counterexample or objection to this account. If possible, reformulate the original account to allow for the objection. Ideally, you could do 2-4 iterations of this. This is a style you will see in lots of published articles. The benefit is that it doesn't require you to reinvent the wheel (you're building on someone else's work) and demonstrates some familiarity with the literature. But it also allows for you to make an independent contribution be refining something to better make sense of the phenomenon at hand.
  8. Glasperlenspieler

    Oxford MSt vs Stanford MA in German (Studies)

    I wouldn't worry too much about a foreign MA for a couple of reasons. 1) What's valuable about an MA isn't really the MA itself, so much as the opportunity to produce a better writing sample, improve your language skills, gain greater familiarity with the canon, and become more adept at theoretical and methodological approaches to literature. You can do this anywhere. At the end of the day, a PhD program is more likely to accept you on the basis of your writing sample than on the name of the university attached to your MA. 2) In so far as the reputation of the university/program does matter, Oxford certainly isn't going to count against you. German studies is a small world, so it's not as if you'll be entirely isolated from the American academic scene and you'll have plenty of opportunities to connect with American scholars during a PhD program. I don't think those connections are as important at the MA stage. In fact, one other possibility I might recommend is considering an MA in Germany. It's apt to be a two year program, meaning you wouldn't have to have a gap year, and it's likely to be less expensive than a degree at either Oxford or Stanford, and I think, assuming it's a reputable German Uni, it would be received by American PhD programs just as positively as an American or British MA, if not more so. It's probably not too late to apply for most German programs, since their semesters start later.
  9. Glasperlenspieler

    Oxford MSt vs Stanford MA in German (Studies)

    I hadn't realized Stanford offered a terminal MA, which makes me think it's a relatively new program (although it's also possible that I was just unaware of it). In either case, the difficulty with a 1 year program, if you would have to be applying in the fall, before you've really had the chance to develop relationships with any of the professors. As a result, their letters of recommendation are unlikely to be particularly strong. With 1 year MA programs it's usually best to have a gap year between your MA and PhD, so that your letter writers can actually refer to an entire year of coursework, rather than half a semester (or half a quarter as would be the case at Stanford. Both Stanford and Oxford have strong faculty in German studies, so it will really depend on your interests. Take a look at the faculty and see where you see the most connections. Oxford is almost certainly the more traditional of the two programs, but I'm not sure that matters too much at the MA stage. All that being said, please don't go into debt for an MA in German studies. As I hope you know, the job market in German is terrible, so it's not a wise investment (even given the statistically improbable chance that you attain a tenure track position down the line, you're not likely to earn enough to pay off that debt anytime soon).
  10. Lol. MAPH tuition is something like $60k, plus assume a minimum $20k for living expenses in Chicago. Even with the OP's scholarship we talking in the ballpark of $70k. Oh and given that it's a one year program, it's almost impossible to apply to PhD programs w/o a gap year. Don't recklessly give people advice.
  11. Glasperlenspieler

    Choosing Between PhD Programs

    Whether or not you can do it and whether or not it's a good idea are not the same thing. What are you reasons for going into a PhD program? I think that for better or worse, success in academia tends to require an all-in mentality of sorts (such a mentality, of course, doesn't guarantee success and having alt-ac plans is always wise). I've seen people try to balance another job and a PhD program. While it can perhaps be done in some cases, I don't think it's ever a recipe for excelling in your program. Also, @Warelin is right that many programs stipulate that you are not allowed to have other employment beyond the program (you can maybe get away with occasional free lance work). So, don't just assume your DGS is going to be ok with this.
  12. Waiting shouldn't count against you too much with a couple of caveats. You will need to stay in contact with people who can write letters of recommendation for you. If they are unable to write convincing letters drawing on specific examples of your academic performance because it's been too long since you were in their classes, then that will hurt your application. In my experience it's not uncommon for people to enter a PhD program in their mid-30s. If you're significant;y older than that though, there is a possibility you will face some degree of ageism. Read, read, and read some more. If you can publish in a top journal in the field, then sure go for it. But it probably won't be worth your time to try publishing in a less regarded journal. If you're near a university with a graduate program, then auditing or taking classes as a postbac could certainly be useful (and also would allow you to have more recent letters of rec from professors in the field). You might also look and see if their are conferences nearby to which you can submit a proposal. Start thinking about your writing sample early. Most people spend countless hours polishing theirs, so take advantage of your longer time frame and get an early start. Once you have a draft, have as many people look at it as possible. See above about reading. Once you have an idea of what sorts of literature you're interested in, start writing scholarship on that literature. That will give you an idea of what sort of research is currently being done. You're apt to find that some critical discussions interest you more than others. Focus on those. At a certain point, you will hopefully start to see areas where the scholarship seems insufficient on a certain point or theoretical perspectives from one discussion are being ignored in another discussion where they seem to be relevant. Pursuing those threads will help to define a project. (You don't necessarily need a fully defined project upon entering an American PhD program, but you will need to demonstrate to the admissions committee that you understand current critical discussions and can propose ways to engage with them fruitfully). P.S. I'm also someone who has also transitioned from philosophy to literary studies. It can take some time getting used to the discourse, but the analytical tools from philosophy will certainly come in handy.
  13. Glasperlenspieler


    Congrats! UCR is a great program with some very nice people.
  14. Glasperlenspieler

    2019 Graduate Entrants

    It was publicly reconfirmed two years ago by LA Paul (see first comment here: https://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2017/03/against-secret-waitlists-in-phd-admissions.html) Paul, of course, is no longer at UNC, but the policy is likely still in place.

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