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Katzenmusik last won the day on July 19 2022

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  1. If your employer is paying for it, I suppose an online MA wouldn't hurt, BUT: You should make sure the MA program is through a reputable university (not the University of Phoenix or anything remotely like it). Figure out who the faculty would be. Are they full-time professors, or are they overworked adjuncts who aren't paid enough to devote their full energies to the courses? Will they be in a position to write you strong letters of recommendation down the line? You will have to make a special effort to form real social connections, so that the profs see you as a real person, not just a user name on the online platform. (The formal coursework is only part of the picture. A lot of the value of graduate school comes from the relationships you form with professors and fellow students.) Will there be opportunities to meet in person over the course of the program? Will you be able to attend "office hours" over Skype? Will you be able to take time off to travel for research? If your whole goal is to improve your SOP, travel to archives should likely be part of the plan. How about conferences? Giving papers at well-respected conferences will help build your credibility. Are there any local programs near you at all? Sometimes universities will work with students who have jobs to figure out a part-time schedule. Good luck!
  2. You could definitely merge CS with historical interests. As others have mentioned, you could specialize a history of technology. You could also look into opportunities in digital humanities (which is basically creating tech tools to assist with historical or literary research and interpretation -- a field where both coding skills and a background in history would be valuable). Another possibility is library work (including special collections, archives, research libraries, etc.), which more and more has a tech component to it. As you are probably aware, in switching from CS to the humanities and/or nonprofit work, you would be moving from a high-paid field to a low-paid field. This could have a lot of repercussions for your life to come. Many people I know in the field are struggling financially, finding it difficult to do things like buy a house. They often take on side jobs to bolster their savings or pay down debts. Those who are living a typical middle-class or upper-middle-class lifestyle often have a supportive spouse. Also, no field is perfect -- before you switch, you should consider your situation to make sure you aren't falling prey to "grass is greener" syndrome. Can you hold out to finish your CS degree? It could serve you well in the future to have it, whether you decide to stay in tech or move into history. If you have loans, could you possibly snag a lucrative tech job afterward to pay them down before going on to more grad school? There are funded MA programs in history. Search the forum for some threads on that. Do not go into debt for a history MA if you can at all help it.
  3. Look into the Winterthur MA at the University of Delaware and Temple's MA in public history.
  4. The fact that you have to ask this question should be a red flag. No percentage of plagiarism is okay, even if you're hitting a word limit. Edit your text and figure out a way to credit the scholars.
  5. I've been cold-emailed by a number of prospective applicants, and I've been happy to email or talk with them. Advice for cold-emailing: Email one grad student in the department whose work seems most like yours. Customize the message and say something about their work so that they can tell you looked them up specifically. Don't just spam a bunch of grad students. Keep your initial request short and to-the-point. (For instance, you can say that you are trying to figure out whether your interests would be a good fit with the department, and you'd love to get their perspective.) Avoid asking a million questions up front. Offer to communicate however they want, on their schedule. Some people might prefer a quick chat over Skype, while others want to write emails. Make it convenient for them. Be respectful of their time. During the conversation: If they feel well-disposed toward you, they might give you advice for how to strengthen your application. You might glean departmental intel beyond what is available on the web site. Like maybe the professor you want to work with is about to retire. Or maybe there's a major new initiative which would be a perfect fit for your work. You never know. You can also get a sense of their enthusiasm level (or lack thereof) for their experience with the department overall. Of the people I've chatted with in this way, one or two were a bit too pushy. One person wanted to meet with professors, then have lunch with me and sit in on a class I was teaching. I went along with it, but that level of request is really too demanding for an applicant who hasn't even been accepted yet. During our conversation, I got the sense that the person wasn't really what our department would be looking for, but that they were trying to get an "in" through these meetings. From my perspective it backfired, and sure enough, they were later rejected. I have had some positive experiences. Like one applicant was a great and friendly person in my field, so I'm glad we met even though they ended up getting rejected. Another applicant was a perfect fit for our department, and I gave some application advice. The person is now a student here!
  6. @AfricanusCrowther : Thanks for posting the link to that thread! @NogaiKhan : If a department's web site is ambiguous, you can just email the DGS and ask them directly about the prospect of MA funding.
  7. O....kay. Just gonna pirouette over all of the above comments and offer my perspective. It sounds like you might be doing something that is viewed as unfashionable or possibly antiquarian or overly technical by the historians in your department. (Though I confess your method doesn't seem that strange to me -- it appears analogous to art historians who focus on the art itself, or like or anything in material culture studies.) Are there historians of science whose work you can point to as examples of what your method can accomplish? That might help them figure you out. I would advise you to at least try to see the professors' perspectives and learn from what they have to say. It's their job to get you to defend what you are doing and explain its importance. Right now it sounds like you are writing them off as people who refuse to comprehend the significance of your research. But they are most likely just doing their best to help you. Let yourself be stretched a little. Of course, if you are confident of your career path in librarianship, you can get through as best you can, then do whatever you want afterward. While in the program, look into opportunities like Rare Book School or any kind of relevant side-job you can get working in special collections or research libraries.
  8. It's worth it if you don't assume you will end up with a good professor job afterward. Enjoy the ride! But make sure to cultivate a wide variety of skills and have a plan for transitioning out at the end. The people who end up bitter and disappointed tend to be those who over-committed to the faculty career track and face a challenge (including an emotional challenge) in adapting to anything else. As for the rest of us... we can enjoy these few years of reading, writing, and exploring archives. We don't have to freak out about the fact that there are only two tenure-track jobs in our field being advertised this year, because that was never the only dream.
  9. My advice: Go ahead and start the program. See how many slots you have for non-required courses, and try to take some of the basic courses in research and historiography that history grad students take. Build relationships with the history professors, and show up to their department's public talks/events. By spring semester, you'll have three options: (1) Stay in the art history department. You're able to get the training you need from History. You now know the history professors and can probably do a history-focused field or ask one or two of them to serve on your committee (depending on how the rules work where you are). (2) Internal transfer. As you now have good relationships with the history professors, meet with them and their DGS in the spring semester and express your interest in moving to their department. Figure out how the procedures would work, and once you get the go-ahead, tell your advisor and formally switch over. (3) Apply to range of history programs in the fall. Not sure how the timing works at your university, but this should give you a chance receive an art history MA before leaving, which would be the most graceful time to stop. History professors from your university could write you letters of rec. You could also look into going on leave for the 2019-2020 academic year -- keeping your place in the Art History department but doing something else while you await the results of your applications. (I knew someone who did something like this -- he framed it as just needing to take more time to figure out what he wanted to do.) Good luck!
  10. They are probably just curious about what you are doing and what programs they are competing with. There's no harm in the question. Back when I applied, one of the schools I turned down had me fill out a whole survey explaining the choice. They wanted to use survey data to improve their admissions and recruitment efforts. The departments go through this cycle every year. The emotions are mainly on the applicants' end. Unless something really extreme is going on behind the scenes, you won't trouble them much by going somewhere else.
  11. @gorange94 Gotta say, your plans seem a little hazy to be forking out $20K. Do you have particular career goals that MAPSS will help you achieve? If not, there's a danger that you could spend the time in a kind of interdisciplinary haze, becoming a jack of all trades, master of none, and winding up with a degree that isn't legible to employers. Edited to add: It would be best to go in to this (or any a graduate program) with some kind of focus. If you don't yet have focus, either a year or two off OR a free degree while you sort things out seem preferable to MAPSS. I have no personal experience of MAPSS, but from what alumni have posted here over the years, I gather that a strong drive and focus seem necessary to make the most of it.
  12. You were on the verge of being accepted to an elite program, even without an MA -- this bodes well for your future chances! This probably goes without saying, but if Florida doesn't offer full funding package, you should definitely not go there. You would be closing the door on a possibility like Cornell, and you would be saddled with unnecessary financial burdens. This is one of those crossroads in life where you want to make sure you take the right direction. I was one of those people who benefitted from an MA. The first time I applied to grad school, I was accepted to an unfunded, low-ranked PhD program, plus a funded MA and a few unfunded MAs. Initially I was so flattered that someone out there thought I was PhD material! But I got wise when I realized that funding was the default for most programs, and the costs over 5+ years would be staggering. (At a lot of places, an unfunded offer is considered a "soft rejection.") I chose the funded MA, left with no debt, and am now in a fantastic PhD program, well beyond what I could have achieved before the MA.
  13. While we're playing with numbers, wouldn't it also be useful to take program size into account? Say Mega-University graduates 100 people with BA's in history per year, and ten of them go on to top PhD programs. Meanwhile Small Liberal Arts College has 10 history graduates, and two of them go on to top PhD programs. The SLAC will appear way down on the list, though its graduates have double the odds (solely by this metric). Personally I'm not convinced that there's a code to crack by counting up all the programs -- there are so many other variables in an application! -- but it's interesting to think about.
  14. If Delaware offers you funding for the MA, I would say to go there. They are highly regarded for material culture studies, and at the MA level, it doesn't matter as much to have profs who are exactly matched up with your interests. If you put in hard work, you'll be in a position to level up to a great Ph.D. program afterward. You'll also be well-situated to go into the museum world if you ever decide to veer off the academic track. Good luck!
  15. My opinion: if you are having doubts, you shouldn't take the UMN offer. A Ph.D. takes a long time and consumes a lot of your life-energies. If you are already experiencing regrets about the application process, feeling half-hearted and thinking "what if?", it's not a good sign. Hopefully the MA funding will come through!
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