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hector549 last won the day on July 9

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  1. Speaking in terms of institutional and program reputation, ASU would be the best. How well that would translate in terms of an online degree program, I'm unsure. However, ASU has some name-recognition in academic philosophy because it has a graduate program in philosophy with some areas of particular strength (though unranked), and more generally is a decent, reasonably well-known large public university. The other schools will not have any such name-recognition. I can't speak to the online aspects of any of these programs, but I would ask you this--why do you want to pursue an online program? You'd be better served by completing your degree in-person rather than online if at all possible. A big part of a good philosophical education is talking to your classmates and interacting with faculty, and it's hard to replicate that adequately in an online space.
  2. Those are decent scores. My sense, based on my experience of taking and re-taking the GRE, is that there's a diminishing-returns effect that comes into play with GRE prep. It's worth putting in some time to study for the test, because study pays off. However, at a certain point it will take copious effort and time to raise one's score to some further and lesser extent. How much did you study for the test? If you already put some decent time in, then I'd say it's probably not worth investing lots of further time (and money) for a re-take. That time would be better served working on your writing sample, which is more important anyway.
  3. Well, if your concern is whether these secondary majors will do something for you instrumentally with respect to phil grad admissions, then the answer is that they won't, not really. They are both writing-intensive, I suppose, and the more practice writing you get during undergrad, the better you'll become at expressing yourself in writing, which is an essential skill for graduate work in the humanities generally. That being said, even if they don't do anything for you instrumentally, for phil grad admissions, who cares? I'm a proponent of studying what you're interested in, and if you're drawn to history or international relations for a second major, then by all means, study those subjects.
  4. There's an advantage in taking more philosophy courses in terms of giving you a more well-rounded philosophical education. However, as long as you hit all the major areas (logic, ancient and modern history, M&E, ethics, some electives), I doubt there's much of an admissions advantage in taking 20 phil courses vs., say, 10 or so. Taking a few more courses could give you more options for a writing sample and letters, though, which is always good. As for double-majors, my sense is that secondary majors of a technical nature can look good (mathematics, hard sciences, linguistics, etc.), particularly if it connects to your interests. Languages can be useful if you think you might want to do continental philosophy or might otherwise want to focus on the history of philosophy. Otherwise, majoring in CS or the like can be a good option (if you're interested), not from an admissions standpoint, but just as a backup career option.
  5. I agree with @Glasperlenspieler in that I think that there is limited utility in talking about non-philosophical particulars. That being said, I think that one can talk about non-philosophical stuff as long as it's brief and relevant. For example, your studies in mathematics or the sciences may have led you to philosophy, or you may have overcome major challenges in getting your degree, etc. Keep in mind, though, as Geoff Pynn from NIU says in this useful essay (I recommend you check it out, @UndergradDad), you should aim to do no harm with the SOP. As Pynn also mentions, doing this requires framing things carefully and concisely and not including too much information of a personal nature. If in doubt, it's probably better to leave non-philosophical stuff out, since doing so isn't ever going to hurt you.
  6. @Glasperlenspieler has given you good advice. I have a few additional thoughts. I haven't myself transferred programs, but I do know people who have done so. My sense is that moving up the rankings once you're already in a PhD program is difficult. Of course, it still might be worth a shot. I've heard of instances in which it has happened. However, I've also heard of students making lateral moves or moving to lower-ranked programs. I think it partly depends on the circumstances that lead to the transfer, which brings me to my second point: You'll need to offer a reasonable explanation to admissions committees about why you're seeking to transfer. Maybe this goes without saying, but don't portray your present program in an unfavorable light. I know you're concerned about placement at your current program, but it also sounds as though (maybe?) you don't have someone you can work with right now in your desired AOS. That's a perfectly good and uncontroversial reason to transfer. As for your concerns about placement at your present program, I would worry about mentioning this in your SOP. Placement isn't great at lots of good programs, and medieval, as Glasperlenspieler mentioned, is a particularly difficult area for jobs. Ad coms might think you're out of touch, that you're not going to be satisfied at their program either, etc etc. Rather, make a case for why your program isn't a good fit for you, and why the program to which you're applying is.
  7. My friend works in analytic philosophy, so a somewhat different trajectory than you. In any case, I think that if you're doing continental, since KUL is better known in continental circles, I'm sure you'll do well. There is also not anything wrong with taking a gap year to work on application materials! I took several years off, and it's more common than not.
  8. This is second-hand information, but I have a good friend who went through this shortened bachelor's program at KU Leuven and went on to good graduate programs. This person was, I think, less impressed with the master's program; it's large and many students aren't necessarily going on to the PhD. In any case, it seems like a decent way to get a BA in philosophy if you already have another degree in another field. One drawback that I can see is that since the bachelor's program is only a year, you won't have as much time as you would in a conventional degree program to get letters and work on a writing sample, unless you take the following year off to work on applying to grad programs. Another potential issue is that I suspect US grad admissions committees have a harder time making sense of European undergrad programs, like at KUL, than they do US schools, but I don't know how much to concern yourself about this. I think that this could be more of an issue if you wanted to apply to US analytic programs, since to my knowledge, KUL is more well known as a continental school (though I know it's fairly pluralistic).
  9. My thought was that if you're looking for a very philosophical program in bioethics, that I'd wonder about how well the Pitt program would satisfy that desire. It doesn't sound as though that's what you're looking for. As for whether that will hinder the kind of work you want to do in the future, as long as you aren't thinking of applying to philosophy PhD programs or something of the sort, then I doubt it would much matter how philosophical the program is, but people in the medical or social-work fields will likely have more informed views on that than I.
  10. I didn't realize that Pitt had a bioethics program, despite familiarity with the philosophy department. This makes me wonder how philosophical the program might be, since it's wholly separate from the philosophy department.. No faculty in the philosophy department at Pitt do bioethics , and a quick look at faculty for the bioethics program shows only two people who have PhD's in philosophy, one of whom is an adjunct. I'm not sure what your expectations are, but if you're thinking that you'll be able to get a rigorous, philosophical background in bioethics, or be involved in the philosophy department at Pitt, I'd wonder about that. Then again, I might have similar worries about the U. of Louisville, but I suppose it might depend on what your goals are. Have you looked at the social work forum? I suspect that you might get more informed answers about the Louisville program and the MSW program there.
  11. If I understand you correctly, you're looking to apply to master's programs? Western does, I think, have a stand-alone MA program, as does Toronto and York, but Indiana and Madison do not. It's generally advisable to apply to terminal MA programs rather than MA programs that are at departments that also offer the PhD, because the PhD students get most of the faculty time and attention, as well as departmental funding, etc. If I were in your position, I'd take a look at this list of the top terminal, funded MA programs (if you haven't yet), look at the faculty from each, and apply to all the programs that seem like a good fit. Off the top of my head, I know that NIU, UWM, Virginia Tech, and Western Michigan have philosophers of science, and I'm sure that there are others.
  12. Just making a correction in case someone is assessing these schools and sees this thread in the future. I was wrong about #2. SFSU is still on the list of top MA's. In any case, congrats @Kratzjj on your choice.
  13. Congrats on your acceptances! I don't have personal experience with either program, so I can't speak to how well faculty work with students. However, a few thoughts: 1. I don't know if there's a difference in funding between the two for you, but even if SFSU is giving you more funding, cost-of-living in LA is going to be lower than SF (I'm assuming that you have funded offers from both. Is that the case?). LA is expensive, of course, but housing costs in SF are obscene. University-subsidized grad student housing can help, but is often not great in terms of quality of life. 2. SFSU is no longer listed on the the PGR's list of top MA's, though CSULA is (See link here). That's something to keep in mind in terms of assessing the comparative overall strength of the two programs. 3. With respect to placement, it's a bit hard to determine. SFSU only has 2019 placements listed. CSULA lists every student's placement by year, so it's a bit more transparent, but they haven't updated the website in several years. I'd email SFSU and ask for complete placement listed by year, and ask CSULA for the last few years' placements. That should give you a better idea of how their placements compare, which might help you make a decision. 4. Reach out to current students at both programs. SFSU has a grad student listing. Pick a few students, and email them. See what they think of the program/whether faculty are approachable/etc. In my experience, most people will be happy to help. It would be especially good if you could talk to some advisees of the faculty you hope to work with. Not all advisors are created equal. I didn't see a CSULA grad student directory, so you might have to email the department and ask for the emails of current students. Hope this helps!
  14. It's hard to say precisely. Ask 10 people, and you'll get 10 different answers. I'd say thresholds you should try to hit would be: 50ish+ percentile for quant (which is about 153), unless you're aiming for some kind of logic-heavy program like CMU or the like, and 160+ verbal. It's not clear that anyone cares about the writing score, but I'd think it would be good to aim for 4.5. Some programs publish their supposed average scores; for example, Notre Dame claims 94th percentile for verbal, 84th quant, and 87th writing. UCSD claims average scores are: 168V/160Q/5.1AWA. I think it's tempting to be sucked into spending a lot of time/money working on the GRE because it gives you a quantitative score that is straightforward to interpret when other aspects of one's own application are harder to assess (How good is my WS really? Who knows what my letters contain?), but I think that this is largely a trap, as long as you're scoring above the thresholds I'm suggesting.
  15. The writing sample is many orders of magnitude greater in importance than the GRE. Your quant score is perfectly fine. For verbal, I'd say anything over 160ish is probably fine (for optics reasons). Would it be better if it were a few points higher? Probably, but I wouldn't spend time studying to retake it, unless you have a lot of free time and the extra $$ lying around for the retake. Spend that time working on your sample.
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