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  1. IIRC, University of Illinois - UC has a graduate fellowship program, but I think it's extremely competitive. Otherwise, funding does not seem to be a popular thing in this field. I think the most effective 'back door' method of getting funding is finding work at a university or college that has a tuition-remission or tuition-assistance program. Not easy, and not quick, but it works. I work at an Ivy League that has a capped benefit and they reimburse my tuition every semester. The only problem is that I can only do one class at a time, but free is free I guess.
  2. Thank you all, this is great perspective. I've looked into taking a class or two where I work, but there's a lot of red tape around admins doing academic stuff. I'll do some more digging and see how that goes. Regarding letters, I'm definitely going to ask my undergrad advisor for a few reasons. The first is that he has written letters for me before, and evaluations of my work were always to the effect of "this person is brilliant and will make important contributions to the field..." so that's definitely a plus. He was constantly pushing me to pursue a philosophy PhD, and I remember it was a major disappointment when I didn't. I don't know how he'll feel about me picking it back up over a decade later, but I figure it doesn't hurt to ask. He got his PhD from the #1 school for philosophy of religion (at least according to PGR, which I realize is controversial), and he's tenured, so it's would be a major bonus to have him in my corner. FWIW, my grades in undergrad were pretty good in philosophy, but the overall GPA was dragged down because I went to a SLAC and was required to take a bunch of math and science classes that I bombed. The other letters will probably be one of the art historians and either one of my colleagues or a philosophy prof if I can take a class or two here. We'll see what happens, I'm not in a rush to apply next year, though I suppose I could if I got on top of it right now. One last question - does anybody here have anecdotal information about the state of women in the field now? When I first considered PhD programs 10 years ago, things were pretty abysmal and it was a contributing factor in why I decided not to go. Things seem a bit better now, especially since the APA is getting on board, but I haven't found a lot of positive information about what it's like for female grad students in the field.
  3. Letter writers might be a challenge but not impossible. I was thinking I could contact my undergrad advisor who is a philosopher, but I don't know if he'll do it. There are two art historians that I worked with in my MFA that were adamant that I get a PhD and I have no doubt that they would write for me. The problem is that they're not philosophers. And lastly, I work as an administrator in an Ivy League humanities department and some of the faculty I work with are privy to my work and academic abilities, but since they're not my profs, I don't know if it would be a great idea; more like a last resort.
  4. I'm wondering if anyone here has had success (or knows of anyone) who has gone back into the field after a long time away from the field. Some background: I got a BA in Philosophy (and photography) in 2006, ended up getting an MFA in Photography in 2013, and now that I'm working and have some $$ saved, I'm seriously thinking about going back for philosophy. It was always my first love, but I could never justify it because of the abysmal job market and the horror stories of what it's like to be a woman in the field. I realize that at this point, an MA is the way to go before I can start thinking about PhDs. My interests are in philosophy of religion and metaphysics. My undergrad GPA was really bad (2.9), MFA GPA was great (4.0), GRE 170 V 155 Q 5.5 AW. I'm hoping that since my BA was such a long time ago that it will matter less, particularly in light of my great GRE scores. I'm also a bit concerned about the writing sample. I have some great award winning papers that I wrote in college but I haven't done much since then. Could I use the old stuff or should I write something new? Any other advice in general? I know this is pretty atypical, and I'm just trying to feel out if this is a realistic goal or a pipe dream.
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