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About hector549

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    Double Shot

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  • Location
    The Middle West
  • Interests
    ethics, philosophy of mind, history of philosophy
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  1. hector549


    My advice? Take the offer from the US school. It's a bad idea to go to an unfunded MA in philosophy, especially when you have a funded offer elsewhere. Particularly when the funded program has a better placement record. Also, UK COL is significantly more expensive than the US. AOI doesn't matter as much for an MA. Your interests will probably change anyway. MAs are also quick. It'll be over before you know it. UK programs are generally only a year, and that isn't really enough time to do research anyway.
  2. hector549

    Ohio state program

    It's not uncommon for recent graduates to continue on at their university as visiting lecturers for a year or so after successfully defending. That's not a bad thing, as it gives graduates more teaching experience and lets them earn some money during their initial period on the academic job market. Academic hiring also happens in cycles, so if you didn't get a job while you were wrapping up your dissertation in the spring, you'll need something to do until the next hiring cycle the following year. I have friends at a top-ten school who count themselves lucky to have an inital VL position at their university. They're usually contingent positions (i.e. year-to-year, and generally not infinitely renewable) but it saves them from having to scrape together adjuncting work at other area universities, or from having to move somewhere to find adjuncting work quickly if they didn't get a job offer right away the first time out (which these days is not so common). As for OSU's overall job placement--it's not any worse than I'd expect, from a quick look at their page. One or two people from each cohort get TT jobs, one or two leave academia, and the rest get temporary/adjunct/postdoc positions and try again the next year. That's about the best outcome anyone can expect, even from a very good program, to be honest.
  3. This is a post meant to serve as some unsolicited advice for those of you who were admitted to both a PhD program and an MA, and are considering turning down the PhD offer in favor of the MA, to try to get into a higher-ranked PhD program the second time around. I decided to go one of the top MAs last year, rather than a PhD program ranked around 40, and I learned some things after being in an MA for (almost) a year that I wish I would have known about and taken into consideration at the time: 1. My MA program is fully-funded, I live in a low COL town, and I’m a frugal person. However, my MA stipend is really only enough to cover very basic living expenses. Consequently, I’ve had to borrow money to move, to make a trip or two out of town, and next year I’ll have to borrow more for application fees, to retake the GRE, and to pay for various student fees that my stipend won’t cover. I wish I’d considered how much further the PhD stipend I was offered would have gone for me. 2. There’s a cost in terms of stress involved in reapplying from an MA that I very much underestimated. There’s a lot of pressure to do well, since my future is riding on how well I’ll do at my MA. The first time around was stressful, but I also had MA apps as a backup plan. This time, when I apply out, I won’t have that luxury. I may have still made the choice that I ended up making; I’m not sure. I'm certainly getting the chance to develop my interests, and to get better at philosophy. It may also pay off next year—who knows! However, I wish I had known about these issues when I made my decision. I just thought I’d share these things I’ve learned as you make your admission decisions. Good luck!
  4. hector549

    KU Leuven

    Here's what I know about Leuven: 1. It's a one-year MA, with the limitations that go along with that. It sounds like you're aware that you'll have to wait a year to apply out, since otherwise you'd be asking for letters, etc, as soon as you started the program. Here's the thing, though--it's harder to apply when you're not in the same town as your previous institution. It's easier to talk to faculty about letters and get input on your writing sample while you're studying. It's harder after you move away. It's not impossible, of course, but just a further complication to consider. 2. Leuven's MA is a large program. I've heard second-hand that there are something like 100-200 master's students. I'd definitely find out from them exactly how many students they have. You don't want to be competing for faculty time/attention with that many people. I've also heard (this is second-hand as well, so take it for what it's worth) that most of the master's students aren't necessarily aiming for the PhD. At GSU, most students, like you, are aiming for the PhD 3. It's not funded. I know tuition is cheap, but you still have to pay for living expenses (you'll need to prove upwards of $15000 USD in the bank to qualify for a student visa, IIRC). GSU funds you, so I'd recommend it for that reason, if for no other. Also, many universities overseas have agreements with the US Dept of Education that allows you to take out US federal student loans. KU Leuven is not one of those universities, so if you did need to borrow funds, you'd have to take out a private loan (not a good idea). My two cents--go to GSU. I know it's tempting to go to Europe, but even if GSU isn't a perfect fit for your interests, I'd still go there. Fit matters less in my opinion for a master's anyway. Feel free to ask other questions if you have them.
  5. hector549

    Terminal M.A. Advice

    Yeah, this is one of the advantages of an MA--you can test being an academic without committing yourself to a PhD program. You'll get quite a different perspective on academic philosophy and on academia once you start a graduate program than you had as an undergrad. Your relationship to faculty will be different. Your relationship to the academy will be different. It's not for everyone, and it can be hard to know exactly how it will feel to you without trying it out. Most of the people in my program have gone on to PhD's, but not everyone. Academia may be different than you thought. Determination is fine, but it's okay to consciously try things out.
  6. hector549

    Terminal M.A. Advice

    I'm in my first year of an MA at a notable program. 1. An MA is a good way to test the waters. Make sure you're aware of the job market in relation to your plans for an academic career. Graduate study in philosophy means (most of the time) living on very little money for a long time and working very hard, with no guarantee of a job at the end of it. You probably won't get a job, and if you do, it won't be a "good" one (i.e. tenure-track, pays well, at a research institution, etc). 2. Generally, the advice is to explore your interests, but also develop a broad background/expand your knowledge at least a bit. Getting some exposure is also good if you didn't major in philosophy as an undergraduate. If you're going into an MA, you're not going to be able to specialize that much, and there's no real reason to do so. Most programs will have some kind of area requirements you'll need to meet, particularly if you didn't do philosophy for your undergraduate degree. Focus on doing well in your coursework in your first year, and pick a project that you're excited about for your sample/thesis based on the work you've done in that first year. 3. Competitive in what sense? In the sense of people trying to one-up each other? No, I haven't. Different programs may have a different flavor though, so it's a good idea to talk to current students and visit if you can to get a sense of the program's culture. Edit--OK, I just re-read your comment. I'm not through yet, but I suspect that this might be pretty program-dependent. There are no duds in my program, though. Sometimes smart people end up at unranked programs. There can be any number of reasons for that. 4. I'm not quite through my first year yet...but definitely don't be afraid to ask your advisor for feedback/input/etc on your work. Faculty are busy, and they won't necessarily hold your hand by offering things. However, in my experience, if you ask, you'll get what you need. 5. Here are a few things: Even MA programs that are fully-funded often don't tell you that you'll (usually) be paying fees every semester (which can be a lot) and don't always make it clear that you generally can't quite actually live on the stipend. Long story short--expect to take out some loans, even with "full" funding, unless you have savings or support from your family. Keep in mind cost-of-living in relation to where the program is located. If there's a faculty-member you really want to work with, make sure that he or she is actually teaching while you'll be there. If you want to develop work with that person into a thesis and/or sample, that'll be easier if she or he is teaching in your first year. Most people develop their samples/theses from something they wrote in their first year. Keep in mind how big the faculty/cohorts are. Will you have access to lots of different faculty if your interests change/will you have a chance to explore those interests a bit? Having a larger faculty can be good for that. Will you be competing for faculty attention with a large cohort? Keep in mind that teaching requirements at different programs can very quite a bit (if you have a TA-ship). Grading is less work than TAing a few discussion sections a semester, which is less work than teaching your own course. Teaching your own course can be good experience, but also eat into time you have for coursework/thesis/sample/being human--go into programs that require independent teaching with your eyes open. If you don't love everything about the program, don't fret. It goes by really quickly. It doesn't need to be perfect.
  7. hector549

    MA programs for applicants w/o phil background

    As some others have suggested, to be competitive for top MA's, you'll usually need at least some formal exposure to philosophy. I can't speak to every MA program, but at my program, everyone has had at least some coursework in philosophy. Most people at my MA program have undergraduate degrees in philosophy. It's not a bad idea to take some courses to see if you like academic philosophy, it'll give you a chance to do some work that you might turn into a writing sample, and give you the opportunity to obtain letters of recommendation from philosophy faculty. It'll be exceedingly difficult/impossible to compose a philosophy writing sample if you haven't taken any courses.
  8. hector549

    2018 Philosophy Applicants, Assemble!

    I know it might feel weird to just say "thank you," or to write a note, but that's really all that's necessary. It's part of the job! If you're close enough with them to take them out for a celebratory drink after you get accepted, you could do something like that. That's what I did, but it's not necessary.
  9. Generally speaking, in US/Canadian programs (at least as far as I know), there isn't really an accelerated track for students with an MA. Maybe some programs will let you off one or two requirements, but in most cases, you'll still need to take the same amount of time to do a program whether you already have an MA or not.
  10. hector549

    Transfer and Statement

    Here's a useful and relevant article from Daily Nous about applying to transfer to a new PhD program in philosophy as a current PhD student.
  11. hector549

    MA, PHD School Targets and Expectations (Needing Advice)

    A couple of thoughts-- The programs you list as the best (GSU, UWM, NIU, VT, etc) are indeed great programs. However, I wouldn't write off WMU, UMSL, CSLA, and the like. They're excellent programs too, with strong faculty, offer decent funding packages, and are well worth going to, in my opinion. Good students go to these programs, graduate, and most end up getting in somewhere, at least from my investigations, even if some of the programs don't have quite as consistent a placement record as others. Sure, think about placement, but it's not the only factor. My advice is to apply to a number of programs--those such as GSU, etc, but also to programs like WMU, etc, that are a reasonable fit with your interests. As for Canadian programs, keep this in mind--Toronto may have an MA program, but what it's most well known for is its PhD program. Therefore, you'll be competing with PhD students for faculty attention and resources, and you likely won't have the support to apply out as you will at terminal MA. Also, it's a one-year MA I believe. There isn't much instrumental utility in a one-year MA, since you'll need to get letters from faculty and to put together a sample as soon as you start the program for the application season. It's not enough time to really do anything. Furthermore, it's harder to get into the Toronto MA as a US student; it's easier for them to fund Canadian students, so there's a preference toward Canadian nationals. SFU is a terminal two-year MA program, so it doesn't have the issues associated with Toronto. I know that their admissions is origin-blind as well, so not being a Canadian national won't hurt you. I can't speak to the other CA schools you mentioned, but keep in mind the issues I raised with Toronto above; some of them may apply.
  12. hector549

    MA, PHD School Targets and Expectations (Needing Advice)

    Lots of good advice from @kretschmar. A few things: if you're at a funded, terminal MA, you're part of the department. You'll have an office, attend talks with faculty, and have TA duties. You'll be around the department, and you'll run into faculty in the hall. You'll (likely) call faculty by their first names. Your relationship with professors will be different from undergrad. You'll be more like a junior academic, instead of in the separate universe of undergrad. Part of the reason the best MA's are highly regarded is because they take promising students and send them on to good PhD programs. An integral part of that process is the support you'll get from faculty. If you're at an MA-only institution, you also won't be competing with PhD students for attention. In my experience, you'll get the attention that you seek out in a graduate program. At my institution, professors are always willing to talk to students, and students get significant support for their samples/MA theses. As for a "typical" applicant profile, and how much your undergrad pedigree matters--it's hard to say. I'm in an excellent MA, and students have a variety of backgrounds. Some are from big schools, some are from no-name schools. All are promising philosophers. Apply widely, get good letters and GRE scores (you already have great GREs), work very hard on your sample, and roll the dice. Your application sounds competitive to me (based on GRE/GPA/etc), but this whole process is unpredictable (as I'm sure you know if you've read many posts here). Again, apply as widely as you can afford! Another word of advice--it's fine to take a year off. I don't think a year or two matters at all, and I wouldn't worry too much about feeling like you have to explain much, particularly if it's only a year. However, it's a good idea to stay in touch with professors who can write you letters during that year. I took a few years off between undergrad and grad school, and I stayed in touch. I really liked the professors who wrote me letters, so it made it easy to stop by their offices to say hello or drop an email now and then--and I'm sure it made it easier for them to write letters for me several years later. Also, just to reiterate what kretchmar said: don't go to an unfunded MA. There's no reason to do so. If you're competitive and apply widely, you can get a funding offer. Not only is funding essential, but getting to do some teaching--and learning to balance teaching while you're studying--is great experience, and great preparation for a PhD program. If you have other questions, @OnlyATautology, feel free to ask.
  13. hector549

    Jobs for philosophy majors

    @ItALOYou're wondering about job opportunities for someone with a BA in philosophy? This sub-forum is oriented to people who are applying to graduate programs in philosophy, so it may not be the best place to find answers to your question. You may want to look here for more answers. That being said, a BA in philosophy can take you just about anywhere, if you're willing to supplement your degree with other specialized skills, education, or experience. Before I went to grad school in philosophy, I worked in education, fine dining, and as a web developer. I have friends who studied philosophy who went on to law school and medical school. Another friend is now a financial planner. I think philosophy is particularly well-suited to areas of tech such as programming or networking, and to fields like law, which require critical thinking and writing skills. Really, though, it's up to you to figure out how you want to use it.
  14. hector549

    Law student with MA seeking advice

    A few thoughts-- I can't comment on the student-with-a-JD perspective other than to say I know someone with a JD who is pursuing an MA in philosophy now, with the intent to go on to do a PhD after, so you're certainly not the only person in your situation out there. As for being an older student, I don't think that that matters at all. I'm in my 30's, and there are several others in my graduate program in their 30's. It's not uncommon, from what I can tell, although you may find that most of your cohort is much younger, with much less life experience, and that can be jarring sometimes. As for the fact that you dislike being a lawyer--well, I say, it's an asset to be honest with yourself about what you do and don't like to do, and it makes sense to do what you find fulfilling. I have to disagree with the above comment. I think if you hate law, it's better to be honest with yourself about that. I worked lots of jobs and finally started a career in tech rather than going to graduate school for philosophy because I knew the academic job market was awful, I wanted some financial stability, and I thought maybe I'd find tech work interesting. I realized that I really missed philosophy, though, and I didn't much like tech, so I left. Will I get an academic job after graduating? The odds are against it, but at least I'm getting to do what I want to do for now, and I don't regret it. I realized that I'd spent most of my 20's drifting around between jobs I didn't really want to do, and that I would spend my 30's doing the same if nothing changed, so I decided that I might as well do what I really want to do. What's the worst that can happen? I'll be in my mid-to-late 30's, and need to rethink my career options? That would probably happen anyway, if I'd continued to work at things I didn't really care about. I'm also glad that I tried lots of other things before going back, so I'm not second-guessing my decision so much. I think having some real-world job experience is good. You may also find that you like having a regular job more than you think, if you haven't done it before. This was my thought/decision process. I realize that law school debts or other practical considerations may make your choice more difficult, and that you may have other priorities. In any case, having law as a fallback option and having some experience is probably a good thing, as having some tech experience in my back pocket is for me. I'll also add--I think it can be a good idea to keep in touch with your old professors, so that your email asking for letters a couple of years from now won't come out of the blue. If you have other questions, feel free to ask or PM me.
  15. hector549

    A New Sophomore Seeks Advice!

    I don't purport to be an expert about the philosophy job market, but a quick search on PhilJobs shows 4 available positions in Europe, 2 in Oceania, 2 in Asia, 1 in Latin America, and none in Africa. A search in North America returns 96 positions. I doubt that PhilJobs is wholly comprehensive, but if this is even close to representative, the job situation outside of North America is at least as bad, or probably worse. This isn't to say that the OP shouldn't pursue the advanced degree if she or he wants. But it's good to go in with eyes wide open about the job market.

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