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psstein last won the day on September 15

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About psstein

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    History of Science

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  1. I think placement is a fair (though obviously not perfect) evaluation tool for training quality, resources, and program reputation. Likewise, I see attrition rate as an indicator of departmental culture and support.
  2. You know the full story, but this is a significant portion of why I left the PhD. I couldn't justify spending years (with a questionably supportive department) to obtain a degree, that, in all honesty, doesn't have a huge amount of application outside the academy. The "alt-ac" job push is a topic for another time, but I am not positive towards it. I think it's a ready made excuse to ignore structural problems of PhD training. I don't consider "rankings" the same as placement. Placement is, IMO, one of the few metrics that actually matters, if you want a TT career afterwards. I would submit that there are departments ranked in the top 20 on US News and World Report that are not in the top 30 in terms of placement. Moreover, if all 6 of your cohort found TT jobs, your placement ranks you much higher than the mid-40s, just IMO, of course.
  3. No, there isn't. You can make a strong argument that all things considered, 90% of programs shouldn't remain open in view of the market. It's also worth noting that quality of education is not the same everywhere. Before I left Wisconsin, we'd have a visiting scholar come in about once a month, maybe a little bit more frequently if there was a major conference in Chicago. Harvard and some of the other Ivies can bring in folks every week. I don't know about the English market. My understanding is that composition & rhetoric has a slightly less awful market than literary studies, but they're all bad. I do know that, in history, even out of somewhere like Harvard, you have about a 50% chance of a TT job. Obviously that varies a bit by sub-field, but outside of a few exceptions (e.g. Michigan State for African History), lower ranked programs are not worth the time investment.
  4. The GRE fits in the same category. Much like, for example, LoRs, GRE scores cannot make an application in and of themselves, but they can definitely break it. An adcom will likely throw an application with a 149 verbal GRE in the trash.
  5. I'm probably in the dwindling minority who thinks it does, but that's because Wisconsin has Nicole Nelson, who's a phenomenal STS scholar, but is the first to say she's not a historian.
  6. Not in history of science, but that's probably due to the field's history and contours.
  7. Usually, schools offer academic year-long stipend. Wisconsin, for example, pays a roughly $21,000 fellowship for first-year history students, disbursed over 9 months.
  8. Not necessarily, but if you want to attend somewhere like Harvard or Yale, it's in your interest to score over the 90th percentile on the verbal and analytical writing sections. The quantitative section is less important.
  9. If I had the chance to do it again, I'd apply to no more than 4 or 5. Realistically speaking, there are only 5 or 6 programs worth attending in any given sub-field.
  10. Bluntly, part of being successful in graduate school is the ability to receive, then respond to criticism in an appropriate and useful way. I had one professor whom I thought an absolute dick, but I listened to said professor's comments and integrated the feedback given. On a much more serious note, the academic job market for history is awful and it's not going to get any better any time soon. On that grounds alone, I wouldn't encourage it.
  11. Verbal: 90th percentile or higher Quantitative: As best you can. If you're doing history of mathematics or 20th century physics, 90th percentile or higher. Analytical Writing: 5 or higher.
  12. It would be inadvisable, unless you have a question that you cannot possibly answer from the website. Most graduate programs post their policies/regulations handbook, which usually has (some of) the answers.
  13. Well, my strategy devolved into overusing my TA office supplies, but that's not a feasible strategy for everyone. In your case, I would recommend keeping a paper notebook/legal pad/whatever, while using the following approach (an acronym IPSO): Issue: What is the research question? Position: What is the thesis? How does it interact with other literature? Support: What are the sources used? How does the author support his/her argument? Outcome: Future avenues for research, assuming the author's argument is correct?
  14. Yes, there are. I know several who work for the government and make a good salary. Scientists are, in general, awful at writing.
  15. I agree with some qualifications. The profession is currently in crisis, in part, because the model for training graduate students is broken. The current model depends upon taking intelligent, capable people, promising them the moon, and then exploiting them as cheap labor for 6-9 years. 6-9 years is on the low side, if any of these newly minted PhDs choose to become adjuncts. Given that the humanities are in retreat practically everywhere, even at the top R1s, it is completely irresponsible to encourage students to go to graduate school with the goal of becoming professors. Accordingly, it's also worth warning people with that goal of the brutal future of the profession and the current trends, which don't paint a good picture for any sub-field. When I was a junior in college, not all too long ago, I told my professors (at a very well-known East Coast college), that I wanted to go to grad school. With one exception, they all told me "don't do it."
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