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Everything posted by lkjpoi

  1. It's not simply that the school = intelligence, but also professionalism. Ivy league students get groomed for academia from a young age, learning from the leading scholars in the field. That experience goes a long way in helping them develop the personal connections, social manners, and the professional skills to write research papers and statements of purpose which fit the academy's requirements.
  2. Sending an email to show you are still very interested would probably be appropriate. If you have already been in touch with the professor with whom you wish to work, then email him or her. Something simple which shows enthusiasm, not pushiness, just asking for any news about your application, whether you might be able to answer any questions or provide extra materials, etc.
  3. No, none of those programs are offered online. As others have emphasized, CUNY's Latin/Greek Institute is the best. And it's the best because it is the most in-person academic experience imaginable. In order to make such fast progress on a very difficult language (which takes years to fully master) you have to devote yourself more than 100% to covering all of the grammar rules so that you can then ascend to the level of reading Latin fluently. At the CUNY program several teachers help you personally to get a thorough grasp of all of the material. Their reading selections are also excellent. It is tough to decide to sacrifice your entire summer to language training as opposed to research, or to whatever you had in mind instead. Everyone needs to judge on their own what would be most worthwhile. If you think you would benefit more from developing your research ideas and experience it might not be worthwhile to exhaust yourself with intensive language study now. But the more advanced you get in your career the more difficult it becomes to find time for focused language study, which is the only way to gain real proficiency in reading untranslated documents by yourself.
  4. Summer courses are an option. There are several Latin intensive courses in the US that are very good. They tend to be quite expensive, but it's common for people just about to enter grad school to take such a course to catch up on a few years' worth of ancient language study. The Latin/Greek Institute and Berkeley offer some of the best Latin and Greek intensive courses (the content of 2-3 years of language courses crammed into ten weeks), and UVA offers something as well. There are probably many other similar courses. For modern languages Middlebury is the best.
  5. Cambridge and Oxford, probably.
  6. One way you can get started is to survey the academic field by studying the faculty of the top-tier universities. Literally read every professor's profile and begin to take note of those whose work strikes you as interesting at all. You will begin to get a sense of how the field works, what are the subfields (political, social, cultural history, etc.), what methods of research are popular, what topics are hot. You should do this because, if you're serious about academia, your goal is to get a position like theirs down the road. I think one of the biggest mistakes people tend to make on these forums is to fixate too much on their stats. Stats have almost nothing to do with intellectual work. They may show you are hard working and bright, but without real research interests you will not develop into a scholar. And this is what professors are on the look out for in applications, they want to see whether your sense of what research is and how it is done is coherent and interesting and shows potential for real work in the future. So, as others have stressed above, you need to eventually find a focus in the historical field and start taking steps towards becoming an expert. That usually means, first and foremost, getting familiarity with the primary sources and whatever languages you need to read those sources, as well as studying the historical context of the period. Since you still have so much time, it would be great to acquire a breadth of knowledge about various fields, and wait to choose a particular focus by the end of your BA so that you can develop the relevant skills and write relevant research papers during your MA. That said, you can find good internships and research positions over the summer by talking to professors. The internet can sometimes be a great place for this sort of thing, but in this case, having a conversation with a few different professors about this would actually be much more helpful because they will know what is a prestigious position and also of opportunities that might not be posted publicly, and they can also give you advice or make you think about things you don't know to think about. That's another way of taking a step towards professionalization.
  7. I think it's best to treat the MA application as if it were a PhD application in that you should demonstrate in it your seriousness and the depth of interests as well as your understanding of the particular department in which you want to study. I believe the application should be explicit in saying that the MA will serve as preparation for the PhD. By doing that you will prove that you know what you are doing and are not idly stumbling into the profession, but rather that you are attempting to take careful steps towards developing intellectually and professionally before embarking on your doctoral research. That said, as far as I know from friends in the field (which is a small number of people), it is not absolutely necessary to get in contact with POIs and name them in your statement of purpose when applying to the MA. But I think it is a good idea and it is better to err on the side of overdoing your effort in the application. And, the writing sample, LOR, and SOP are just as important as in the PhD application, especially if you hope to get some kind of funding. You should always be aiming to impress the committee as much as you can!
  8. The Warburg Institute and the Courtauld Institute of Art offer excellent MA programs in Renaissance studies. They are both based in London.
  9. Also, to address the more particular concern of this thread, I would say that the best way to pick a field is to just go for it. I know different people make decisions using different methods, but I have always believed in the shoot first, aim later way. Deciding on grad school, and more generally choosing a life path, is never going to be wholly rational. It's an illusion to think it can be. So choose what your intuition points towards, what seems interesting and follow it until you can't anymore. For one thing, your intuition, whatever vague preferences you have, likely have deep roots, and, for another, decisions can change. You can shift interests in grad school and after. But the important thing is to be dedicated to the topic for a while first. Acquire some definite experience and proceed from there.
  10. I also followed the break and MA trajectory before beginning my PhD. I have met many students who have done this as well. Most, if not all, of my classmates in my PhD program have a MA. From the break I gained just what ctg7w6 said, perspective and a deep appreciation for academic work. I realized that the 9-5 was not for me and that I really liked school and I felt highly motivated to devote myself to study. From the MA I figured out my research interests. I got a fair bit of experience delving into various related historical problems which together formed my current academic subfield and proposed doctoral dissertation topic. And, equally important for one's success, from the MA I learned how the academic field works: who are the big current scholars, who works on what topics, how do PhD programs vary and how do people get into them. And I also got letters of recommendations. I highly recommend doing a MA if you can. It seems to me that the competition in the field of history has increased so much in the past decade (or more, I don't know), that the skill requirements and the necessity of networking to enter the field have sky rocketed in tandem with that increase. The need for the MA is symptomatic of the increased competition, I think. I suppose you can circumvent the MA by having a good undergrad record, being impressive and lucky, and having good professional connections. To find an appropriate MA program I suggest asking professors for advice as well as researching the possibilities online.
  11. I don't think it's a lack of information, but a lack of programs. There are far more doctoral candidates in the sciences than in the humanities. Look at this fun table. https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2017/nsf17306/datatables/tab-12.htm
  12. lkjpoi

    Language training

    It might be helpful for you to identify what kinds of sources you are interested in studying and to decide on the languages you need from there. Are the 16- and 17th-century texts on prostitution, witchcraft, etc. you're interested in written in Latin or the vernacular? The language requirements exist, at least essentially, to demonstrate your ability to execute the particular kind of research you want to do. For the intellectual history of early modern Europe, Latin is typically crucial. I imagine beginning there might be best given the scope of your interest. But perhaps your focus on social history leads you more often to German and Italian language texts, so maybe those languages would be more useful to you. I agree with xypathos that it is a good idea to reach out to a professor with this question about how best to prepare yourself for your research interests.
  13. Are there other active grad school forums out there? I am curious about the drop in interest in this year's application forum (I've been following this site for two years) and am wondering whether the current applicants have shifted to a different website or whether these kinds of forums are just becoming less popular generally. In any case, I'm definitely hoping we've all gotten lucky and there are fewer applicants this year!
  14. Does anyone know of any good research on gender ratios in the field of history? I would also be curious to see studies on gender stats in different specializations within history. Just for fun. I made a calculation at a conference on early modern art history and found that of the speakers there 26% were women.
  15. I'm looking for short-term (less than one year) positions to fill my gap year. Can anyone recommend websites that have listings or tell me general methods of seeking out opportunities? I have applied to a couple of fellowships but I haven't been able to find very many that are open to non-doctoral students. I'm imagining there are openings like internships, research assistant positions, library jobs, and perhaps more substantial research project stuff available for postgrad students, but I'm struggling to find them. If it's relevant, my field is medieval and early modern European history. I can maybe do early modern art history too. P.S. Thanks to everyone who has replied to my recent posts. It's helpful to hear of other students' experiences.
  16. What is the best way to determine your chances when applying for PhD programs? I'm using the US News rankings to create my list of schools to apply to, but I'm not sure how far down the list I should go. I'll be applying to top-ten schools but I don't know what would be reasonable "safe" options for me. I'm sort of thinking of applying to schools in the #30s ranking as my backups. Any thoughts on this question?
  17. How common is it for PhD applicants to have publications on their CV already? Are publications important to get into a top-ten program? Does it vary by field? Is age or experience relevant? I mean, would a committee be more likely to expect someone older or someone who has a master's degree already to have publications? I'd be grateful for any personal experiences, anecdotes, or insights! Thanks.
  18. Is it common for Ph.D. applicants to be rejected from the Ph.D program but admitted to the MA? I'm especially curious about how it works in History.
  19. Konrad Lorenz's On Aggression, which I have almost finished and is now one of my favorite books. I dream of writing as well as Lorenz and I also love studies on the social behavior of animals. I'm looking forward to finishing my grad school applications so I can stop reading (and editing) my own writing and especially so I can stop staring at the computer screen all day. I've been mentally creating the list of books I'm going to read after January, and boy is it gonna be amazing.
  20. Thank you for posting this! I was really worried there for a second.
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