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ToldAgain

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    MA English Literature

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  1. It doesn't matter at all. I didn't do an undergrad thesis and I did just fine this application season. Term papers from upper-level courses work well as writing samples.
  2. I want to thank echo for the helpful list of modern theorists. I have done a lot of theory readings, but my classes have always stopped around Deleuze/Guattari. I now have a wonder-package of new theorists coming my way!
  3. Yea, lifealive was making a claim that resembles this awhile back. I am sure that person would think this characterization of their thought is a strawman, though. BUT, from the comments on the article that VM linked: VM, what do you mean when you say allowing adjuncting to continue is "cheating students out of the education they pay dearly to receive"? Do you think adjuncts can't teach as well as TT profs for some reason (structural or otherwise)?
  4. I find it helps to have a study/discussion partner. That is how I have done all of my serious theory readings that weren't led by a professor. Two or more people read the same dense text then spend three hours arguing about what it means. I find this works better than anything else, at least for me. But to get to the point where I know enough to even start arguing, I usually read it at least three times: The first pass, I read as if it were a normal book. I don't take notes, but I try to pay attention to main points (conclusions, introductions, repeated phrases). The second time, I bust out the highlighter. I highlight all the important sentences and points/write notes in the margin. Whatever I need to do. On the third pass I read for total understanding. If I still don't get it, then trench warfare ensues.
  5. To be fair, I think bhr is simply saying: TT isn't everything; there are good jobs to be had outside the TT. I don't think s/he is making a claim about how easy or hard it is to get those jobs. Just that those jobs exist. It is a reaction to a TT/non-TT dichotomy that can exist in discussions like this. And I think that dichotomy is probably not a helpful one to possess going into grad school, which is why it is helpful to challenge. If you think TT good, non-TT bad, you are limiting your options. There are definitely a lot of bad non-TT options out there, but they aren't all desperate and soul-crushing. I think this is closer to the actual argument than "I'll just be a VAP, there are more than enough of those jobs!" Which, I don't know, maybe somebody believes. They shouldn't though.
  6. Hi, this post prompted me to look into the idea. I found an organization called the Federation of State Humanities Councils, which puts on a yearly Humanities on the Hill event in the spring. I don't quite know if they do work with graduate programs, but this is a good place to start looking. If anybody knows about a program like the one you are talking about, it is them. http://www.statehumanities.org/index.php
  7. Metaellipses, that's an interesting take. I have heard an unsubstantiated rumor that a lot of the really top programs prefer BA students. I know that Penn State doesn't accept many applicants with MAs because so many of their own MA students go on to the PhD there. I also hear rumors that Berkeley prefers MA students. And then there are all the MA students that get in to the great state schools like Chapel Hill and Michigan and such. I suppose to make this conversation relevant to the thread: know where you want to go and don't, say, waste your money applying to Penn State with that MA if you know there will only be one or two PhD slots open to external applicants unless it is your absolute top choice.
  8. Yes, I'm in a direct-admit MA, but I am trying to keep my options open for moving out of the program if I wanted to. Who knows if I would actually take that choice or not. You understood the question perfectly. It's good to know I am at least understandable by osmosis. I was just curious about the timeline for completion of your dissertation. Thanks for the comprehensive reply!
  9. qwer, I see that trend in Philosophy, which is, according to those folks, the most selective humanities grad program. I can certainly understand the economics of it. -As grad programs become more selective, applicants with an MA will appear to carry less risk. -As applicants with an MA appear more favorable, applicants with BAs will more and more look to terminal MA programs. -As terminal MA programs get more applicants, more of these nonfunded MA programs will get people who are willing to pay, because they want to look good for their PhD applications. I read a Philosophy applicant lamenting the fact that almost no MA programs guarantee admission to the PhD upon satisfactory completion of the MA. Also, most MA programs cost something and don't offer stipends. It would be too bad if English went down this path, especially if they eliminate the funded MA/PhD programs. This is what I am doing, and I feel very free to look where else I can go after my MA, but knowing that I have guaranteed admission to a great PhD program as it is. This is a serious gift that some schools give grad students. It would be sad to see it go.
  10. morristr, could you give me an example of your timeline in this case? I ask because I am looking at the schedule of my MA vs. the schedule of my PhD applications if I don't continue on at my MA institution, and it looks like I would be beginning my application season at the same time I would start to seriously think about the dissertation. That is, in the second year. I personally would want to have all of my SOPs at least mostly fleshed out in the summer before my second year. So, it seems to me that there isn't a lot of time to integrate the dissertation into the application. I may be wrong. I can see how the dissertation provides some great practice for PhD work, but I can't see myself knowing enough about it to talk about it knowledgeably in an SOP or use a chapter as a writing sample. I do see the idea of putting a committee together as being helpful for letters of rec, though. So, again: What was your timeline for your dissertation? When did you come up with your topic? When did you have a good writing sample created? Etc. etc.
  11. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I do see a line drawn between Lit and R/C. I thought that was the point of having the two disciplines. We're both English, presumably, but different fields within English. I don't think that means there can't be cooperation and melting-pottedness between the two. Or solidarity. I am a lit person, but my favorite mentor in undergrad was a writing center director. I am doing my master's at school known for its amazing R/C program, and I am excited to learn from them. I hope to do work in both fields, but I can see why some would want to be just Lit people or just R/C people. For what it's worth, I can't stand the fighting between the two fields, and I try to stay out of it, but I don't see any problem with representing them as different. Am I misrepresenting your position at all or missing something? My Spanish teachers in Argentina would freak if you called it Spanish. And yea, I am used to calling everybody, including myself, an applicant. I guess most of us aren't anymore. Whoop.
  12. You probably didn't know that you were stumbling into a sometimes nasty debate in English circles. Disparaging Rhet/Comp is a favorite past-time of some literature folks (see VirtualMessage's response on this and other threads), so it can be kind of a touchy subject. Being a Spanish applicant, I am sure you didn't know this. I would suggest you read the link Chadillac posted if you are interested in a short rundown of the history. I am not too familiar with it. And yes, in some schools Rhet/Comp is housed within the English department. In some schools, though, it is it's own program. Rhet/Comp tends to focus more on writing and writing pedagogy, among other things. There are also people doing work in effective written communication for emergency responders, etc. A Rhet/Comp person will teach beginning composition courses as well as business and technical writing, or professional writing, or the history of rhetoric, or they will run writing programs. I don't think any of this has anything to do with the 19th century. But yes, dictionaries and grammar are important in the field.
  13. I don't think it would make you look worse, not going. It does reduces your pool of interesting things to distinguish yourself from the other really well-qualified applicants, but you can do this in other ways. Some people stand out by being "that girl who studied in Istanbul," others are "that girl who presented at major conference X," or whatever. I didn't study abroad, and I got in to one of my top-choice programs this year. My friend studied abroad and used it in her SOP and didn't have great options. We had similar stats and, in fact, hers were better than mine. Whatever factors contributed to the outcome of our seasons, my guess is that study abroad experience had nothing whatsoever to do with it in either case. If you've got it, use it. If you don't, I wouldn't worry.
  14. Hi klader! I don't think your study-abroad program will make or break your application. Lots of students study abroad, and lots of them get into grad school. That's what undergrad is all about, right? Experiences. It's great to have command of a second language, and nobody should fault you for going to France if you have the opportunity. Why would they? Your undergrad record sounds very strong, so it will be all about your SOP and WS. Those are what will make or break your application. For what it's worth: I didn't have any face-to-face contact with my letter writers, but we emailed about once every two weeks to give updates and exchange drafts. I don't think this was a drawback at all. I was also in a different-speaking country practicing my second language -- not when I was applying, but when I was getting acceptances and rejections and having a lot of very stressful conversations with my letter writers and representatives from schools. I think it was actually better to be in this great place and have a lot to distract me from the waiting. So there's that. In my opinion, you can't go wrong. Good luck!
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