Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

1 Follower

About AnUglyBoringNerd

  • Rank
    Double Shot

Profile Information

  • Location
    New York
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    East Asian History

Recent Profile Visitors

3,000 profile views
  1. 1. Many do accept applications, but some professors will be interested in the history courses you have taken. I switched to history from international politics and public policy. While I don't think anyone can tell you about the "general chances of success" since it's not about a rate or anything like that, in my field (East Asian history), some people do get in top programs without having previously earned a degree in history. A few people who used to study PolSci with me are doing a PhD in history in top US programs now. 2. When I applied I already had two Master's degrees, adequate language training, a bunch of rejection notifications from PhD programs in PolSci, and knew what my research interests were/are, so I didn't think of getting another Master's degree in history, especially given that the PhD program normally entails coursework requirements which will train you and result in an MA in history. Plus, MA programs can be very expensive in the US.
  2. I want to echo this and suggest that the OP spend some time finding out the nature of different EALC departments and what they offer. Sometimes historians are also listed as the faculty of EALC departments even though the EALC departments do not offer a PhD program in history. I am in Japanese history and technically speaking registered at an EALC department. While some EALC departments are language and literature based in the field of Japanese studies, such as that of U Chicago, others do have a strong emphasis on history. To my knowledge, this applies to the joint PhD program "History- East Asia" of Columbia between its History and EALAC Departments and the HEAL program of Harvard. Also, in the case of Columbia, the degree you get from the joint program is a PhD in history (not in EALAC). In addition... this is not the right thread, but in my interviews the question of why applying to a History Dept/EALC Dept instead of the other came up twice. (I applied to the Hist. Dept of UCSB where one of my supervisor is primarily an EALC prof, and I applied to the East Asian Studies Dept. of Princeton instead of the Hist. Dept) So, whichever department the OP decides to apply to, I recommend thinking carefully about your rationale, in case you need to discuss it with potential POIs. In my case, I prioritize the competitiveness (=placement records) a disciplinary PhD will give me over an interdisciplinary degree. Meanwhile, I also am attracted by the well-funded and multidisciplinary experience specific PhD programs would allow me to have. (And of course, the rejection notifications helped a lot with narrowing my options down...) Hope this helps~
  3. The context: I am in my second year as a PhD student in history and I got two A- for this semester (and two As). This is the first time I ever got anything but an A and I am totally freaking out and readying myself for a serious conversation with my supervisor, even though more advanced students in my program told me that it should be Ok. Both of the A- were given by professors from different disciplines and one professor (from STEM) told me that an A- is a very strong grade by their standards. Nevertheless, I am still very very upset and scared and think that I totally screwed up. In this light and in relation to the comments given by others on your evolving research interests, I wonder if the grades functioned as a factor that makes you feel like to consider pursuing a career outside the academia or changing your research interests, @historygeek? If that is the case, I would recommend having a discussion with a trusted and supportive professor(your supervisor maybe?) who knows your strengths and interests well and see their take on the matter. I used to think about the "other paths" as a coping mechanism when I was not feeling confident... Just my personal piece of thought.
  4. Hi there~ I never attended UNU, but I used to work non-profit and know several people who work at the UN. I don't know how familiar you are with UN's recruiting system, e.g. the YPP track where you take the exam and the more usual track where you are more than often asked to have some solid work experience (likely more than 5 years to begin with and in related fields). If your goal is to work at UN, you'd want to know the system. (also the usual length of contract for people with your background) I previously focused on human rights and SDGs, and most people I know (from UNDP, UN Women, etc.) have a degree from research universities (not necessarily PhD, but lots of people have a degree in law) and years of related experience working for NGOs or governments. Regarding its reputation, to be honest with you, I wouldn't know that it existed if I had never studied in Tokyo and happened to have walked by the building for a few times. If you are interested in studying at a prestigious institution for a PhD in (sustainable) development studies, (also I probably should point out that most people I know who do development studies/advocacy do not have a PhD in development studies but a MPP, or they have a JD or a PhD in e.g. economics or political science) you might be interested in Columbia's SIPA (PhD in development studies) or Princeton's WWS (PhD in public affairs)? Since I myself do not have first-hand experience with UNU, I'd also recommend that you contact them directly and ask who their graduate students are, the kind of jobs they take after graduation, and to what extent their experience studying at UNU helped or worked against their career. And, to what extent are they a think tank, and to what extent an education institution. Anyways, good luck!
  5. I'm not that sure about HiLi, but if the admission notification you are responding to is standard and official rather than a personal email from your POI/DGS, in the online application system there is supposed to be something you click on to officially decline the offer. I remember attempting to decline my Columbia MA offer via email then the administration staff responded with something along the lines of "please log onto the application portal and blah blah blah". If you want to let your POIs know that you appreciate their consideration, then the email you've written looks very formal to me. Are you trying to decline the offer by sending this response or are you trying to let your POIs know about it? I remember the emails I wrote to my POIs are a lot more..mhm... personal? I wrote first to my POIs and told them I'd be attending another (my current) program, thanked them for the advice they'd offered during the application process, and let them know I look forward to meeting them in the future etc. Then I declined offers via the application portals. In short, to decline an offer, you want to follow instructions via the application portal to make it official, so the response you wrote may not count as an action to formally decline the offer. Meanwhile, to share your decision with professors, mhm....your response doesn't look like a personalized email?
  6. And even with a master's degree or master's degrees, PhD students in US programs sometimes still need to do the course work and get another MA (then a MPhil) on their way towards passing the comprehensive exam, which will make me a serial Master's degree collector... Also, while schools may not care that much about your course load, some (great) programs do care about the kind of courses you've taken. When I was applying for the first time (spoiler alert: I didn't succeed), one of the reasons for my top program to reject me was that I didn't take any courses related to pre-20th century Japanese history (my focus was 20th century Japanese history back then).
  7. Is it possible to visit some Hili faculty in person and talk with some current students to get more information about this program? Columbia MA programs are indeed really expensive, but there might also be internal funding opportunities out there. (I'm in a different field and doing a PhD, and there are a number of internal funding opportunities for both MA and PhD students, and in the case of PhD students, these internal funding opportunities come on top of the stipend we get) Also, if you already officially accepted the other offer, you might want to think twice before you turn it down for an only partially funded Columbia offer. My impression is that the field is really small and we don't want to burn bridges too early in our career, or ever in our career, unless absolutely necessary...
  8. Mhm...I don't know about this. I feel what happens is that if the committee/professors at that specific school don't see us as a perfect match, we get rejected. This surely is more or less subjective, but does not necessarily mean that those professors are wrong. After all, it's more about what they think of us, not what we think of them. This might be sub-field specific, but my POIs from Harvard and Columbia both mentioned that they reviewed all the applications to my sub-field carefully. So, I no longer think the decision making in my sub-field is that random and arbitrary. Also, at least one of my POIs mentioned (figuratively) that someone whose style matches that of Harvard may not match the style of Columbia. So, I second historygeek, 5 is about right. After all, it's about getting in the program you want to get into, and then get a job after you are out of it....it's not really about getting into any school. And like what others have said for so many times, it's rather unlikely that there could be as many as 10 elite programs given our supposed-to-be flexible but somewhat refined research interests. *elite= good funding and resources + good placement records + good advising + many other factors Yes. I wouldn't worry about this "lack of connections".
  9. Totally with you on this! I wrote an email to my Harvard POI (I was rejected from Harvard), who very kindly replied with further advice on how to improve my profile. Then the second time I applied to PhD programs, I got in. (although I didn't apply to Harvard this time also based on that POI's advice) The field is really really small, and in my sub-field all established historians seem to know each other. And I actually met with two of my POIs last semester when they came to give talks at my current school, both are from programs that rejected me. In my experience, our relationships with any of our POIs won't end just because we are rejected from their programs.
  10. I just love @gsc's advice, so this is not in anyway a counterargument but just another possibility, and obviously I can only speak from my own experience, so please do read this with a grain of salt. The first time I applied to PhD programs, I mainly applied to Political Science programs, and I was rejected everywhere, even by the school I am currently attending. The only offer I got is a two-year MA offer in Political Science without any word on funding. My supervisor suggested that I take the offer and use it as an opportunity to adjust to American academia and to access resources that would make me readier for the next round of PhD application, but I just didn't feel it. (it's not mainly about funding, though, bc I would have other sources of scholarship; it was more of an issue of opportunity cost in general) Instead, I reapplied, this time to PhD programs in history only, and got in half of the programs I applied to... Now I think about it, my supervisor was probably more stressed out and upset by the unhappy news than I was. And I am now very very happy in my current program. Of course, the change you have in mind is a lot less drastic than changing the discipline, but should this feeling about change follows you around....well, I definitely second gsc's wonderful comments regarding the self-doubt part, but this doesn't mean any decision you make while you are self-doubting is a bad decision. I certainly made the decision of changing discipline while I was stressed out, in a lot of pain, and self-doubting, but I knew Political Science wouldn't work for me, and applying to PhD programs in PolSci was more of a result of path dependence than that of self-reflection. I have only been in my program for a bit over an semester, but like @gsc described, the "on the edge" feeling is a daily experience. That being said, I also feel that I can and should be able to feel fulfilled and make rational decisions while I also self-doubt and feel stressed. In short, it's totally normal and legit to think about changing fields even if you are feeling stressed, some supervisors would even encourage you to rethink what you want to do once you are in the program. When I asked my supervisor what they expected me to do for my first year, they said they simply wanted me to explore and experience as many different things as I can and see what could excite me the most. Also, it's not over until you hear from every program, and it's not over even after you hear from every program. Fingers crossed that you hear good news soon!
  11. I was just talking with my supervisor, and they said all History Department acceptance letters are out and they are out all at once. > < Also, this year there is only one acceptance in the field of Japanese history.
  12. I applied to the History - East Asia program (joint program between the History department and EALAC) through EALAC, and I was notified by one of my POIs (who's coordinating the joint program last year) via a Skype call disguised as a third interview (they made an appointment with me via email to say they would like to talk a bit more, so...) before I got the notification to check the portal. Maybe the process is different for those who have a non-East Asia focus, but awwww I am soooo excited and I'm gonna ask my supervisor about it on Thursday! Congrats to those who already got Columbia acceptance!
  13. Re: the search function, it helps if you limit your search within the history forum and pair "interview" with other key words, e.g. “asked" (yeah, I know, sounds silly, but imagine in a scenario where people could have said "at my interview, I was asked this and that question"), "prepare", "project", etc.) Here is the result if you search "interview” AND "asked" only within the History forum: https://forum.thegradcafe.com/search/?&amp;q="interview" "asked" &amp;type=forums_topic&amp;nodes=38&amp;search_and_or=and&amp;sortby=relevancy Honestly, what I learned from my three interviews (with UPenn, UCSB, and Columbia) is, the most difficult question (in my case) is a seemingly mundane one: "tell us about you/how do you see yourself [as an aspiring historian]". The relatively easier one is the standard "tell us more about your project". Good luck with the interview!
  14. Re: Columbia stipend, it's supposed to increase by 3% every year, so the (GSAS) graduate stipend for 2019-2020 is a nine-month stipend of $30,232 plus the summer support of $3,884 for 2020 - just got an email from GSAS about this update two days ago. (tuition, insurance, and most of the fees are covered ofc). Also, there are a number of internal summer travel/research fellowships every year to support overseas archival research/language training on top of the nine-month stipend and the summer support. I second OHSP and paisleytree, living in NYC isn't a financial nightmare if you keep an eye on how you spend and budgeting, and being good at cooking never hurts. I'm also an international student~
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.