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Everything posted by Tigla

  1. Tigla

    To outline or not

    Yes, I think outlines are a must. In my undergrad, I was able to wing it and write from my head fairly easily. My first grad paper, I tried to follow my typical routine and fell flat on my face. Since then, I have written a basic outline with the questions and some bullet points to remind myself what exactly I'm trying to demonstrate. By doing this little exercise before I write, I noticed that my arguments have become more refined and polished. In the end, it is up to you and you need to find the way(s) in which you write best and most effectively.
  2. Of course, but I'm assuming the OP is meaning language. It might be a difference between Europe and the US, but I have been able to resubmit papers in a foreign language if I can demonstrate that language was my issue, not content.
  3. I don't see a problem with that. In academia, it is expected that you will continue to edit and proofread your own work, especially as a graduate student.
  4. In your CV, you should make a section with publications and a subheader with groups (book reviews, academic articles, book chapters, etc). As fuzzylogician said, make it clear, but give yourself credit.
  5. If I remember correctly, the American Historical Association publishes this type of information in their yearly book. I would check with your institution and see if they carry a copy of the book. If not, then maybe the chairman/woman or a professor may have a copy of the book. If that fails, then I would start google searching some prominent professors and authors in your field of interest and looking at the footnotes in some articles you have read previously. Another way to find potential professors is to ask a couple professors at your institution. Also, you might get some help here. What are your interests? Any specific region or timeframe? Methodology or theories?
  6. For history programs, I have been told to mention the advisor I made contact with and maybe a secondary advisor. You really need to mention your main advisor and somehow tie them to your work and progression within your academic career. The advisor should already know you are going to mention them, so it is mostly to notify the committee of your intentions and contact within the department. Your SOP really needs to be about you, though. The professor aspect should be near the end and minimalistic.
  7. The most helpful advice I received from fellow graduate students and professors is to be yourself during meetings with professors and advisors. Meeting with professors is stressful for students and can be awkward. If you walk into a meeting and try to ask all the perfect questions and have an in depth conversation, you could miss out on the little things which build relationships. I suggest bringing 2 or 3 questions that you really want to ask then let the conversation flow. You may not ask all your questions (for numerous reasons), but it is more important to start building relationships in your MA.
  8. @samman1994 The resource aspect depends on the country in which you want to study. https://www.findamasters.com/ is a good site for schools in the UK, Ireland, and English programs on the continent (but they rarely appear). If you are looking in Germany, https://www.daad.de/en/ is a good starting point. Ultimately, it comes down to the country and language, so I would start by googling "international graduate programs in France" (substitute France for whatever country you want to search). From there, then you should be able to find a bunch of websites that are dedicated to programs in that specific country. As for financing yourself, scholarships are hard to come by for North American students (at least in Germany). However, if you study on the continent, then you have a major skill which is easily monetized - native English speaker. Over the past year, I have been an English freelancer. Essentially, I grade, edit and proofread English papers, teach English classes, babysit children, and give tours around Berlin (granted I am B2 German so I do both). This is enough to cover my rent and health insurance costs for the month, but not enough to cover the food side of things. The cost side is a fairly daunting one. I was lucky enough to have saved enough money during my undergraduate career to live off of savings and the odd-jobs I do on the weekends. However, Berlin is currently the cheapest West European capital to live in; and European in general, but a few Balkan cities are extremely cheap. In general, this means you need to have a lifeline back in the USA. In order to get a visa, most students need to demonstrate that they have help from a relative if the student does not have a scholarship or loan package. Do not get discouraged, though. It is hard to do a Master's program and even harder in another language. If you are up for a challenge and adventure, then I say go for it. Of course, do your research and plan it beforehand, but a Master's program abroad looks great on a future CV; plus you will get plenty of time to take a weekend trip to other European and even North African cities.
  9. @infovore I would suggest looking abroad then. I agree with @TMP that a Master's degree would be very useful in formulating your ideas and expanding your horizons within the field of history. Going abroad may sound daunting, but my undergraduate advisor really pushed me to make the leap (in the end he was right). The jump across the pond has given me the opportunity to change my research interests, grasp a foreign language, and prove to PhD programs that I am prepared to take on a PhD project (hopefully). If you do look for foreign universities, you can find plenty of programs in English and with very low costs or guaranteed funding. Also, there has been a fairly recent shift to studying North America in Europe which gives the opportunity to study with some energetic and thought-provoking professors. I would not close the door on PhD programs, though. The American system requires applications to be in by January 15ish with responses coming in March. If you are rejected, the European system opens applications in February and closes in May and June. Therefore, you could realistically play out both options and see what happens.
  10. Currently, I'm studying abroad in Berlin in an M.A. program. I would highly suggest looking at universities in Germany. A lot of natural science programs are primarily in English, there is no tuition fee (usually a semester fee for public transport and such), a lot of Germans speak fairly decent English, and it is a great place to visit the rest of Europe. The one catch is that you cannot really work in the EU as a student which means you have to rely on a scholarship or savings. As for the application process, it is fairly similar to the USA. Normally, you need a SOP, written reference letters, transcripts, and usually a special item that is dedicated to your field of study (for me it was a writing sample). The language aspect depends on the program. Some programs will require some sort of knowledge in the national language. However, if the program is primarily in English, then you will need to prove English competency which would not be an issue. The one big difference between the American system and European system is the combined M.A. and PhD. In Europe, most PhD programs require a Master's degree before you can apply. The system is a bit split here. Therefore, I would look at M.A. programs solely and test the waters abroad that way. Jumping straight into a PhD, in Europe, requires you to be personally able to complete PhD work within 3 years (some programs are 4 years). From my personal experience, I'm glad I went the M.A. then PhD route because it allowed me to travel Europe, become almost fluent in one language and start a second one, study in my specialization region, and allow me to develop my ideas for my PhD more thoroughly. It was a bit daunting and intimidating my first month in Germany, but after a little while you will get the hang of it and become acquainted with your colleagues. In all, a move abroad for a graduate degree will be challenging, but after a couple months you will find it very rewarding and helpful within your development as an academic.
  11. @webbks I personally think that is too broad. I have been drafting my own SOP and working with a couple colleagues with their own versions. The common critique we keep getting from our professors is that we are not citing enough theory and using it in our explanation of our intended topic. For instance, I kept describing development theory and the historiography surrounding the field, but I continuously failed to mention post-modernism, post-colonialism, modernization theory, institutional economic theory, or convention economic history. Without giving at least a passing remark to these theories, my topic seemed detached from the actual historiography, despite my depth of knowledge. In your paragraph, I would ask you the following questions (hopefully to help you tighten it up a bit). Have other historians attempted such a research project? If yes, why and how do you differ from them? Which theories and schools of thought will help you form your ideas? Can you fluently speak Italian and Russian? If not, are you learning the languages? Why are you choosing the twentieth century? Granted, you might not be able to answer all of the questions, but being able to answer some of them shows a level of understanding and competence which the SOP needs to demonstrate.
  12. Yes. I'm in the process of publishing an old paper after I saw a CfP on a listserv. I knew I had a paper that fit the description, and after a bit of tweaking and editing, it was accepted into the review process for publishing. I would keep all your papers handy and saved in some fashion, whether that be digital or paper is up to you. You never know when your old work will finally pay off.
  13. Hello all, This is my second time through the cycle, and as usual, I'm having some problems with the SOP. Right now, I think I will benefit most from someone reading it over and commenting on it. I can keep trying to edit it, but I don't see the point when I have tightened up the SOP and have what I want to say in it. So, if anyone is interested in doing a quick read through, please comment then I will PM you the document. Thank you in advance.
  14. I would agree with everyone here by saying that positions in academia are rough all over the world. Here in Germany, a lot of professors are being asked to take on larger workloads and increasing asked to fund their own research. However, there is a plus with the current way in which PhDs are taught. Most PhD programs make students take a major field and then either one or two minor fields. In addition, you have to learn at least 1 foreign language; although most need 2 languages. With these skills and expertise in several areas, applying outside academia is starting to become a common trend, at least in Europe. Recent PhD graduates have been employed by NGOs, supranational organizations, government organizations, and even companies which need translators, as well as expertise in specific regions. My suggestion is to keep yourself open to a position in any field. Academia is shrinking, but the private and government sectors are slightly opening to historians who can sell themselves, their work and their skills.
  15. My experience (second time through the cycle) is to leave out anything that is irrelevant. You have about a page or two to explain your life/academic career and why a graduate degree is the next step for you. Personally, I would leave out anything from high school, unless it truly shaped you and changed your career path. If not, then it is fine to make a passing remark (no more than a sentence) and move into your time as an undergraduate. Ultimately, it is your decision and you need to tell your story in your own special and creative way.
  16. Thank you all for the advice. You are really making me think this over. The reason I'm having some trouble deciding, whether to take the GRE again or not, is because my professors here in Germany are telling me not to do it. I have several published articles and book reviews, I'm almost fluent in German and I'm working on Russian, too. The professors (they studied in the USA about 5 years ago) are saying that with those other qualifications and a two-year old GRE, the scores should be overlooked. Granted, this is coming from German professors, but they have me re-thinking about taking it again. It is one of those dilemmas, whether all the other supporting documents outweigh an old GRE score. Honestly, thank you though. I'll be reaching out to a professor in the States to get his take on the situation.
  17. The GRE is mostly a means to weed out unserious candidates (at least that is what I continuously hear from my professors). I would not worry too much because you have practical experience in the field which you want to study. That is a major plus for any application. The one thing I would watch out for is the TOEFL. Language seems to be the one thing that gets everyone, so I would focus on nailing the TOEFL and the other aspects of your application, rather than retaking the GRE. Best of luck in the cycle!
  18. Unfortunately, I cannot access the doc files. Can you PM me the text? I'll be happy to give you some help.
  19. Hi all, Verbal - 152 / Quantitative - 152 / Writing - 5 The question that is rattling around my head is whether I should re-take the GRE. I took the test two years ago and scored okay, but not the greatest. I'm planning on applying to PhD programs in history. I have been doing my Master's abroad in Germany and plan to complete it next summer. I think the test scores will not hurt me too much, but they will definitely not do me any favors when applying. Do any of you see a problem with using these scores or should I really consider re-taking the god awful GRE?
  20. Hi all, I'm making my go at PhDs this round. Last year, I got into a Master's program in Germany for Global History and I plan to finish by August 2018. I'll be making an attempt at getting into post-war Germany / Cold War history. I have a couple topics I am playing with, but they all revolve around the idea of "Germany in the World," institution based economic history and complicating both the theological and ideological driven history written about the Cold War. As for the universities, I have them sorta narrowed down based on whether it will be a national history or global history degree. My top universities in the USA (at the moment) are Columbia, UNC, and Vanderbilt. Meanwhile, I'm looking at University of Birmingham, Cambridge, and London School of Economics in the UK. I have about another 8 or so, but these will get further cut down as the process of reaching out to professors begins this summer/fall. Best of luck to everyone this cycle!
  21. Funding is a bit rough for Americans, at the moment. I have gone through the process with the DAAD and Deutschlandstipendium twice (both rejections), and several political parties. First, your German has to be almost fluent. You will have an interview about your application, research project, goals for studying in Germany, and future plans. Second, and unfortunately, the funding targets for the federal government has shifted towards Asia and Africa, which makes the limited scholarships designated for North America even more competitive. Finally, you can only work a maximum of 20 hours a week during the semester as a student in Germany. Despite the negatives, you have one massive plus. You are a native English speaker! Throughout my program, I have been teaching English and doing some English editing for fellow students. If you can carve out a niche, you will find plenty of work that can sustain you. Another bonus would be having some German skills (at least B1). If you have both language skills, then finding work will be easier, but still fairly difficult. Sorry if I sound a bit pessimistic, but the past couple years have jaded me a bit about funding for foreigners in Germany.
  22. Hi Sarah, Depending on your level of German, you may not have anywhere near enough time to work a full-time job plus study German through the DAAD. Most programs and courses through the DAAD are a full-time job (between 35 and 40 hours a week) worth of studying, memorizing, and practicing. However, depending on the scholarship you receive, the DAAD may fund you to move to Germany and study German before your coursework begins. As for the passing criteria, it again depends (I know I'm a broken record) on the scholarship, language of your program (English or German), level of program (BA, MA, PhD), etc. I recommend reaching out to the DAAD and asking them these questions. They will be able to help you more and will understand the intricacies of your scholarship.
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