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Posts posted by Warelin

  1. 14 hours ago, WildeThing said:

    Having a PhD from Harvard looks better than one from Florida State, generally. The academic job market in our field is rough and research suggests that graduates from programs in a lower tier very rarely find jobs in higher tiers. The more prestigious the program you get into, the more options you ostensibly have in the future... For instance, Florida State is not usually considered as prestigious as Harvard but if you're interested in working on Samuel Beckett they might be a better choice because some very respected scholars work there whereas Harvard does not have a dedicated Beckettian (to my knowledge).

    I'd like to elaborate a bit more on @WildeThing's post here.

    I think there are a few things to consider here. There isn't a single degree that could guarantee you that you'd be considered equally at all schools. Some teaching-focused schools are hesitant to hire ivy-league grads because they're concerned that the individual might leave them when a research-focused position opens up. They're also concerned that ivy-league grads and other top10/top20 schools may not have enough teaching experience or may not want to be in an environment that focuses on teaching. A school in the top 20 may not rank as highly in certain disciplines. Notre Dame, Rochester, and George Washington University are known widely for their early modern program. WUSTL is very strong in (Post)Modernism, Drama Studies (modern), Gender and Sexuality Studies and is expanding in Transatlantic and Transnational. Tufts has traditionally been strong in Gender Theory. Pittsburgh has a really strong Film concentration in English. Rice is strong in Gender and Sexuality, Medical Humanities, Postcolonial and Ecocritism.  None of these are top 20 programs, but have built a strong concentration in the listed that likely rival schools that are considered to be in the top 20.  However, if the goal is to teach at a R1 school, it is much easier to accomplish from a top 20 program. But there are also post-docs that might help you accomplish your goal. I've had friends who have gotten a degree from ivy leagues schools who still had to complete postdocs before landing in a TT position. I have friends who have graduated from schools ranked in the 30s who have landed tenure track jobs at ivy-league schools.

    It might also be important to note that the majority of schools that are hiring are not R1 schools but rather teaching-focused institutions. These institutions are more likely to care about your teaching ability and record, but it's important to not disregard original research.

    I'm not sure more options is necessarily correct here, but I think there is a difference in the types of positions that are most readily available to you upon graduation based upon the connections you have access to. Lastly, I also want to note that a school accepts you because they believe in you. Sometimes, even the brightest students fail due to unforeseen circumstances or not feeling supported enough. An acceptance from any school doesn't mean anything if you can't graduate from it.

  2. 13 hours ago, WildeThing said:

    My department has added 3 new courses in the vicinity of my area but I have been told by another grad student that I am unlikely to be allowed to audit an additional course. Still no idea what to do.

    How rare are classes that are within the vicinity of your area? How rare are your required courses?

  3. Just now, Puggy said:

    Thanks I think thats what I needed. Now how do I delete this post because it no longer reflects what I want it to reflect 

    A copy of TheGradCafe's Edit/Delete policy can be found here:

    If you report your post, another moderator will look at it. Reporting does not guarantee deletion.

  4. 4 minutes ago, Puggy said:

     I was trying to make a point about the amount i've read about specific debates (some debates I've read more than 10-20 books and dozens of articles).

    I think you'll find that graduate admissions functions very differently from undergraduate admissions. I think that you'll also find that most people attempting to apply for a PHD program are fairly well-read within the specific areas they're interested in. I think most would also admit that they also wouldn't place themselves among the top ten percentile within that specific field. That is to say, that should you get accepted into a program, you'll likely find that most people have read dozens of books and articles within their field and it's likely that your coursework may see you reading a dozen books a semester and a couple of dozen articles per class. It sounds like you've started a good habit by reading now because grad school will expect no less. It's encouraging that your professors are encouraging you but it's also important to note that your potential graduate professors might be more strict because the objectives are different.


    3 hours ago, Puggy said:

    What percent chance would I have of getting into a semi decent MA and then getting into a top 50 PhD program if I get straight As from here until the end of graduate school?  

    There isn't anyway that anybody would be able to answer this for you. It would depend on your writing sample, SOP, letters of recommendation, your academic fit within the university as well as who else applied that year.

  5. 1 hour ago, Puggy said:

    But dont you have to be top in your program to get into a good school?

    No. There are a lot of factors which determine one's acceptance or rejection into a program. If it was based on just x grades, only the top 20 or so students from the top 10 schools would be considered for grad school.

    A good working knowledge is good to have. However, I doubt very few full professors would go to say that have the "top 0.1% knowledge of specific debates" within their specific subfields.  The brightest professors I know are still reading and digesting new information on a daily basis. Stating that you're in the top 0.1 percent implies that you don't need a PHD. It sounds as if you believe you're more than ready to contribute scholarly articles right now and become a leading scholar.  A PHD is meant to help those who have a good fit with their program achieve this goal but it sounds to me that you wouldn't benefit from going through a PHD.

  6. 2 hours ago, thepeeps said:

    Would you recommend emailing/contacting each program about specifically the kind of writing sample they want?  Or would they think that's dumb?

    I think that information can be gleaned in a lot of cases. Certain programs are known for being theory-heavy while others are more known for their cultural studies or film studies or etc. Taking a look at recent dissertations done at said programs might also help you gain a better understanding of what they might be looking for.



    2 hours ago, thepeeps said:

    Should I also take lit papers I've done in the past and bring them back to my professors in the fall and talk to them about how I would like to use the assignment as a writing sample?

    Whatever topic you're most interested in studying, choose that one and have multiple people look at it. Your writing sample and SOP should be on related topics.

  7. 2 minutes ago, thepeeps said:

    Thank you so much.  I've taken I think four lit classes in undergrad (one professor screwed me over though) but I did great work in the other 3.  Since I've always done writing and rhetoric though is what had me nervous, especially because my MA will also be writing focused (and despite being close to my professors, apart of me feels like a traitor to tell my rhetoric professors I'm applying for English PhD's that are geared towards literature  haha.  Although one of my schools does have a rhetoric focus available for their PhD program). 

    Now I know on most applications, they say "10-15 page writing sample" does that typically equal one full paper?  Or can I send in both a literature paper and a rhetorical one?  Or two literature writing samples?  Again, I'm sorry if these sound like silly questions.  I'm off of school currently and don't have anyone to discuss this with, and I want to get a headstart before fall/winter comes. 

    Unless it states otherwise, I'd recommend sending in only 1 paper. Very few programs request two writing samples. They really want to see your ability to take a stance on your issue and how you progress through your ideas on a piece of literature(s).

  8. 15 minutes ago, thepeeps said:

    For the lit focused PhD, I should be sending in a literature centered writing sample correct? 

    Yes; ideally, you'll be sending in work that the program has faculty working in the same area. Ideally, your WS would also be current in understanding gaps within the field and where you fit into today's conversation.

    17 minutes ago, thepeeps said:

      Should I also only ask literature professors for letters of rec, or does it matter?

    Some places might prefer English professors but I don't think I've seen any programs care much about which area of English it is. Generally speaking, I think any professor in the humanities or social sciences would work fine for letters. A Language Professor might be helpful if your concentration was medieval or early modern.


    22 minutes ago, thepeeps said:

    There's some programs that state they don't even care if your degree is not in English in the first place, so that's why I'm unsure about what the writing sample should even be geared towards.    

    Some programs might not require your degree to be in English but they still require you to prove that you'd be able to prove you can keep up with coursework/comps/dissertation work. They often don't distinguish between degrees so often you'll be held to the same standard. Some FAQs might state that you might require x amount of classes in Literature, but I don't think I've seen any that raise a fuss if your degree is in English.


    24 minutes ago, thepeeps said:

    Totally sorry if this is dumb.  But I guess I wasn't sure about the writing sample, and would feel dumb submitting a rhetorical paper rather than a lit one for a literature PhD if that's not what would be recommended. 

    Depending on the program,  there are likely some programs that would very much welcome a rhetorical paper. There are some programs that are very heavy on theory; while others are very big on close readings. Most of the time, they just want to gain a sense of your writing style and how your interests and strengths line up with theirs. It's likely that you'll feel a better fit at bigger schools because they have more faculty but so does everyone else due to their wider range of interests. Some programs are also more cultural studies focused.

  9. 45 minutes ago, Inbal said:

    According to this person, it allows you to send requests to the professor through the website which stores the letter (while still not allowing you to read it) and you can pull it out when you need a LOR... 

    I don't remember who told me about this and what the name of the service is... does it ring any bells to anyone?


    I believe you're thinking of Interfolio. It's more commonly used for the academic job market but very few schools accept it for graduate school applications. As such, I would recommend talking to your graduate programs to make sure they're able/willing to accept letters from Interfolio.

  10. A lot of people apply during the fall semester of their second year in their Master's program. I think the biggest hurdle you might face with a one-year program is potentially not having strong recommendation letters. Since applications are due in Dec/Jan, it's likely that you'll have to ask for recommendations at a time where your first major paper hasn't been assigned yet. As a result, your instructors will have very little to work off of. (Edit: @illcounsel seems to have been thinking the same thoughts at the same time)

    The second area of concern is that your interests might change within that time period. And while a program doesn't force you to stay within a specific time period, I think they can read into whether you seem passionate about something or whether you're writing about something because it feels safe.

  11. 2 hours ago, Mseb said:

    For those that their application status still reads "pending",...any news from the Graduate school or the departmental program coordinator because it's passed the April 15 deadline?! 


    The April 15th deadline is a resolution by several universities. It only applies to funded offers.

  12. 4 hours ago, dartdoc said:

    Ever since I was accepted, I heard little to no news from the school. They didnt even send me a proper funding package. I expressed my interest to attend and now I am worried that it will turn out unpleasant. Is it possible for schools to withdraw their offer?

    Did you accept through the portal?

    April/May tend to be quiet times for universities because they're focused on dissertations and exams. It's likely that you'll start to hear from them in June/July to talk about your orientation. It is unlikely that they'll withdraw your offer.

  13. 1 hour ago, whatsnext94 said:

    I'm a little concerned that I'll be applying with an MFA instead of an MA — do you guys have any views on this? Will it help or hurt me?

    I'm afraid that the answer here is that you'll have to notify the director of graduate studies or the administrative coordinator. Some programs won't consider the MFA as equivalent. Others might expect you to show the same level of literary sophistication and knowledge as someone who has an MA. (All this means is that they might expect you to have some professionalization experience, have higher test scores, and/or show a deeper understanding of current literary discussions.)

    1 hour ago, whatsnext94 said:

    Edit: Also! Thoughts on applying to different programs at the same school? For example, American Studies and Comp Lit at the same school. Would this be noticed and work against me?

    I'd double check with the graduate school on this. Often, this is posted on their graduate website FAQ. Some schools don't allow you to submit more than one application per graduation cycle. Others have no restriction.

  14. I think there are a few things to acknowledge here.

    1) Admission rates are tricky. Unfunded/underfunded programs might have more spots available but often need to recruit a much larger class in order to fill these spots if they're not offering a full tuition stipend + stipend. There is no college (that I am aware of) that is successful in obtaining a 100 percent yield rate. As a result, colleges have different ways of deciding how many offers to admit at once based on previous trends. 

    2) Consider the living expenses. Paris, NYC, and Chicago are world-class cities but they're also expensive to live in. Are you comfortable taking out tens of thousands of dollars in loans if you decide to not work/can't find work? Are you comfortable working long hours in addition to going to school full time?

    3) One year programs can be tricky. In a lot of cases, you'll end up spending an additional year doing something else. It's unlikely that you'll be able to obtain strong letters of recommendations during the first cycle because that would involve asking for letters during the first 2 months of your new university. Often, this might mean asking for letters before a major assignment is due.

    4) There are likely funded Master's program in Political Science. Find them; find which ones interest you. The nice thing about doing a Master's is that they don't often expect you to have your research interests down. They are a wonderful way to figure out which specific areas you're interested in. They also allow you the opportunity to figure out whether or not you want to pursue a PhD.

  15. 6 hours ago, meangreen said:

    Can anyone confirm that this is true? Because if that is true, it looks like I must take the next academic year off. 

    The majority of cohorts for this upcoming cycle have already been decided. There may be some spots that are still pending but waitlists have likely gone out for all those spots as well. I think it's important to remember that "transferring" to a program means something different in this context. You'll still have to formally apply for a spot. Since you are currently in a Ph.D. program, it's likely that they'll have higher expectations that you'll have to meet rather than someone who has just finished their Bachelor's. It's also likely that you'll need support from your current department to explain why you're seeking to switch to a different university. Despite all of this, it is still possible that your application may be unsuccessful. If unsuccessful,  are you sure you'd be willing to go through 2 or more additional cycles of applications?

  16. I just want to add a note here that it seems that UT-Austin wants outside employment to be reported to them prior to accepting the position. The documents can be found here. I'd double-check with individual departments to make sure everything is good to go because there are some contracts which prohibit outside work during the school year or require permission from the department. Best of luck to everyone.


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