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hector549 last won the day on July 9 2019

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  1. I think that this is going to depend greatly on the MA program. At my MA program (not Tufts), almost no one was from an unknown school. Most students had a degree in philosophy from at least a reasonably well-known public or private university, and a number of students had gone to top institutions--both top in terms of PGR and also in terms of overall US News rankings. There were also a few of us who had turned down ranked PhD offers to do the MA first (I was one). There were, of course, some students from relatively unknown schools, and several from non-philosophy backgrounds, but they were the exception rather than the rule. This isn't to say that philosopuppy's general point is incorrect; I agree that MA programs are by-and-large less selective than top-50 PhD programs. However, the top MAs can still be quite selective depending on the program, and it's a good idea to apply to a spread of programs for that reason. Philosophy admissions can be very prestige-sensitive.
  2. Different institutions have different requirements for waivers. Some will ask for the FAFSA SAR report, some that you receive SNAP or other benefits, some that you have participated in certain programs, and a few will want your tax returns. For those schools that require the FAFSA SAR, they're going to look at your EFC (expected family contribution). If you're independent on the FAFSA, then your parents' income won't need to be included in the SAR calculation, so you'll likely be eligible since your EFC will be very low. If you're a dependent for tax purposes, though, then I doubt that you'll qualify for waivers for those programs that require your tax returns, though you might see if you can submit 2019 returns and file independently for 2019 (I know one school I applied to required the most recent return--i.e. I was applying for fall 2019 entry and they wanted my 2018 return).
  3. There are some major problems with this list. U. Penn is "strongly recommended" for studying continental philosophy? Western Michigan, Houston, and Rutgers are "recommended"? These are good programs, but are strongly analytic in orientation. Why are Houston and West Mich listed under the "recommended" PhD program list and then also under the MA program list? These departments only offer the MA, not the PhD, and are fully analytic programs. There are other issues as well. Why is Washington State Pullman listed? They have no grad program in philosophy at all. American U. is listed as a "strongly recommended" MA program, but Georgia State is merely "recommended". American doesn't even have a standalone philosophy department per se; it has a Religion & Philosophy department. A cursory look suggest that the department has maybe four TT phil faculty. Everyone else does religion or is a lecturer of some kind. Furthermore, there's no placement page, and the program doesn't appear to offer funding. GSU, on the other hand, has notable Nietzsche and Hegel scholars, and is fully funded with a strong placement history of getting students into continental PhD programs to boot. LSU and Cal State LA are not mentioned in the MA list at all, despite having TT continental scholars. UW Milwaukee isn't either, though they have someone who works on Hegel and Nietzsche.
  4. Keep in mind the PGR is a reputational survey, and the subfield rankings roughly reflect things like how many people are working in a particular subfield at a given department, and things like faculty research output. I'm not in metaphysics, but Cody Gilmore is, to my knowledge, a well-known metaphysician. The only dedicated metaphysician at Madison is Alan Sidelle from the looks of things. I'm sure he's a fine scholar as well, but if you look at both their publication histories, Gilmore's is more extensive/has more prestigious pubs/etc. This is probably the reason why Davis is ranked for metaphysics and Madison isn't. Madison is ranked higher overall because they have a ton of ethics people and history people that Davis doesn't have. Both have good people working on various areas of phil of sci, but Madison is ranked higher in the subfield rankings for general phil of sci as well, which contributes to its higher ranking overall. As for which one is harder to get into, it's hard to say definitively. Highly ranked programs are extremely competitive, and higher-ranked programs are generally more competitive, but this doesn't necessarily mean that just because Program X is ranked higher than P.Y, that X will necessarily be harder for you to get into. So much comes down to individual fit, if you wow the people on the ad com with your writing sample, how many applicants to a program want to work in your area, and how many good apps a given program is getting overall, which isn't always perfectly tracked by ranking (location, etc. can affect how many apps a program gets). I got plenty of rejections from programs that were lower-ranked than the one I'm attending. This is not uncommon. It's also hard to say which one is "better" for you. Overall rankings and subfield rankings are useful, and a good place to start, but it's a good idea to see what individual faculty work on and if they'd be a good fit. If you're really into metaphysics and feel like faculty at both institutions would fit your particular interests in metaphysics, then you can always apply to both and see what happens.
  5. I applied there in the past, and I know someone there. I don't know all the in's and out's of the program, but I'd say that it's a good program depending on area of interest. I'd say it's strongest for certain areas of continental philosophy (Hegel, Nietzsche, I think there's someone who does French phenomenology, etc.) and logic/phil. of math, but there are also a bunch of ethics people and a well-known philosopher of mind. They used to be great for pragmatism as well, but their senior scholar in this area (John McDermott) recently passed away. From what I understand, many students at this program work primarily in the continental tradition, though this is by no means universal. The downsides of the program that I'm aware of would be: placement, funding, location, and the second master's requirement. Placement isn't great, the stipend is small (about $13k) taking into account the cost-of-living for the area, and some people might find the area to be unexciting (College Station is a college town, kind of isolated from major urban areas, , summers are hot and humid, etc). The location wasn't a big deal for me personally, but if you get in, it's something worth thinking about. A&M also requires that students do a master's in an area outside of philosophy. This is obviously a bunch of extra coursework, could potentially greatly extend your time-to-degree, and when I looked into options for degrees related to my philosophical interests, there weren't really good options. For example, there's no linguistics, German, or psych master's offered at the university. That being said, my understanding is that the students who are doing continental/historical work take care of the requirement with coursework in Early Modern Studies or English. You might also not care so much about the extra time if you haven't yet gotten a master's. For me, though, the better part of two years of extra coursework was not appealing, especially since I had just spent two years getting an MA. In any case, definitely keep that requirement in mind, especially taking into account satisfying it in a way that works with your area of interest. My two cents: I would've gone there and dealt with the drawbacks since there are good people there to work with in my areas of interest, but I ended up going with another program that I felt was a better fit for me and had better placement. But if it fits your areas of interest, by all means, apply.
  6. More recent data from ETS say people intending to study philosophy who take the GRE have a mean verbal score of 159 and quantitative score of 154. What we can infer from that about people who actually apply to grad programs is a different question. A few programs have average scores of accepted applicants on their websites. e.g., Notre Dame, UCSD, Mizzou, and Chicago, to name a few, though it's hard to know how up-to-date this info is. My two cents to @Prob and anyone else: don't sweat the quant score too much. If it's in at least the 50th-60th percentile range, that's sufficient. I certainly wouldn't spend a whole lot of time trying to improve a score in that range. Your time will be better served focusing on your sample. This is assuming that you're not trying to do particularly formal or logic-focused work in grad school. Then you may want to have a higher quant score.
  7. Duns Eith has good advice. To add a few thoughts: I think it can be hard sometimes for North American departments to evaluate universities that aren't in the world of Anglophone philosophy. That being said, don't be afraid to apply to a spread of programs. I knew folks from my MA department and at my current PhD program who didn't get their undergrad degree from Anglophone programs. If you're interested in phil of action, apply to FSU, Riverside, Cornell, etc., as well as some places in your sub-field ranked higher on the overall rankings. There are great people at lots of different places, and just because a place doesn't have a high rank doesn't mean that you can't do good work in your sub-field there, as long as there's someone good you can work with there. FSU, for example, outranks, say, Stanford for phil of action, even though the latter is in the top-ten and the former is in the 40s in the overall rankings. As far as MA programs are concerned, I think that fit matters much less than for PhD programs. Tufts and Brandeis are great programs, but notoriously expensive and underfunded. Simon Fraser is a good option, but don't be afraid to apply to some other MA programs that also have better funding than Tufts and Brandeis, even if they don't seem like the perfect fit for your AOI (e.g., GSU, NIU, UWM, Houston, West. Mich., etc.). I had the choice during my first app season between an MA and a PhD, and I opted to do the MA first. In the end, I think that was the right choice for me. I'm not saying that's what everyone should do, but an MA can do a lot for you in terms of professional development, putting together a better sample, etc.
  8. @Mahdi Ahmadi @CynicismJX I think you folks may want to use links to a Google doc rather than trying to attach files to your posts.
  9. This is important. These pay-to-play programs don't post placement because their purpose isn't to get students into good programs, their purpose is to make money. And their placement is undoubtedly poor as a result. I know several people who went to MAPH who got into PhD programs. This doesn't mean that going there is a good idea. For one thing, it is obscenely expensive. Check out the link; tuition for the one-year program is $60,300. Add another $15-20k to live in Chicago for a year, and you're looking at close to a six-figure investment for a program that doesn't even give you their complete placement history upfront. If you have a bunch of money and don't care about blowing it on a degree, at least go to Tufts or something, which has a tried-and-true placement record and will likely give you partial funding, even if it's limited. Though in my opinion also unnecessarily expensive and not worth it, compared to MAPH, Tufts almost looks like a bargain.
  10. A number of the top schools have terminal MA programs. However, these are by and large cash-cow programs. They're used to generate revenue for the department and keep seminar enrollments high. It's not a good idea to go to such programs because the PhD students at such departments get all the faculty attention and department funding. Seminars will also be designed with the training and experience of PhD students in mind. These programs get away with what is, to be candid, a predatory money grab because students will pay the exorbitant tuition, blinded by the Chicago/Stanford/etc. name, not realizing that they're being hoodwinked. In addition to the aforementioned programs, other egregious offenders include: Columbia, CUNY Grad Center, and NYU. Apply to funded MA programs. There are plenty of good ones out there.
  11. This board has been getting quieter every year for at least the last few years that I've been using it. I'm not sure exactly why, other than maybe people have been using FB in lieu of these kinds of forum sites. That being said, people inevitably start joining later in the app season when they start stressing about apps, and it'll probably pick up then. Also, a few of us who are more seasoned have stuck around to answer questions, like @Duns Eith@Marcus_Aurelius@maxhgns@Glasperlenspieler etc.
  12. It's not unusual to have some second thoughts about grad school. I think most grad students have some doubts from time to time. Wait at least until your first year is over if you can before you tell your department. Half a semester isn't long enough to sort out how you feel about what you're doing, nor to settle into a new town/department/etc. It's also not unusual for students to change their minds and leave PhD programs with an MA, so don't feel like it's unethical or that you'll be burning bridges by doing so.
  13. I've heard of people making the jump to philosophy with a religion MA. It can be done. That being said: have you taken a reasonable number of philosophy courses? Philosophy-adjacent courses like theology or English aren't necessarily going to mean much to philosophers. Admissions committees are going to want to see some exposure to higher-level courses in philosophy in some breadth, particularly if you're aiming for PhD programs rather than an MA. Relatedly, can you get letters from philosophers? You'll want to do so in order to be most competitive (again, MA programs are a bit more flexible in this regard, in my experience, though you'll still want to get as many letters from philosophers as you can). The danger that you'll also need to be wary of in your situation is that you don't want to come across as having interests that are all over the place or too idiosyncratic, so you'll want to take care when producing a WS and crafting a SOP that you're making a case for why you're a good fit for the departments to which you're applying. You'll also want to explain succinctly in your SOP how your interests have moved you towards academic philosophy, and in a way that is organic and makes sense. Also consider a mix of MA's and PhD programs. A good, funded MA can help you make the jump a bit more easily into academic philosophy if you have a non-standard background.
  14. One thing to keep in mind with respect to your undergrad transcript is breadth. It sounds like you've already taken plenty of courses in your primary interest (ethics/moral philosophy) and perhaps fewer in other areas, so it might make sense to keep branching out a bit and take another course in an area that is unfamiliar to you (language or perception). This has the advantage of making you more a more well-rounded applicant, and--who knows--you might discover a new interest. Having more options for letter-writers and writing samples is also always good, and in that respect a seminar on language or perception would probably also be the more useful option.
  15. 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.
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