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Marcus_Aurelius last won the day on August 11

Marcus_Aurelius had the most liked content!


About Marcus_Aurelius

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  • Interests
    Ancient Philosophy, Normative Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Modern Philosophy
  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
  • Program
    Ancient Philosophy Ph.D.

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  1. One piece of advice, though: Don't feel a need to have as many footnotes as most published articles do. Adcomms want to see knowledge of and engagement with scholarship, but they're looking for your argumentation and potential as a philosopher, not for oblique references to papers that have little to do with your argument. Some footnotes and references to contemporary literature are great, and you can put stuff in your bibliography that isn't cited in the paper, but footnotes should not be your focus.
  2. Yeah, as Olorin said, you're fine. Some adcoms care and some don't, but no one's going to raise an eyebrow at 3.8+, particularly if you've improved since freshman year. Polish your writing sample, that's what will make a difference.
  3. I don't know much about the specifics of this discussion, but I'd recommend against telling any program that you're only interested in one subfield. (North American) departments are looking for folks who will grow in their program, so you don't want to give the impression that you have everything figured out. Also, definitely agreed that looking through websites and faculty publications can be tedious. On the other hand, think of it as helping you get more familiar with major players in your field(s) of interest. That being said, comparing specific programs doesn't matter so much until you're accepted, and pre-application research has diminishing returns when time can be spent improving the writing sample and, to a lesser extent, statements of purpose.
  4. In addition to Hector's important advice, cf. this thread from last year:
  5. Also take funding into account in your calculation. My impression is that many shorter programs also don't have as-good funding as many North American programs do, though I imagine it varies widely, so you can comoare the odds of getting good funding at the individual programs you're interested in.
  6. I was advised to use language in the SoP like "I want to explore x further" and "I could envision pursuing a long-term research project on y" rather than saying I knew I wanted to work on anything in particular. To my knowledge, American programs don't want you to come in with a dissertation idea worked out. As others have noted, your interests might change in ways big or small. And to address your point about professors, just expressing interest about their work or their niche should be sufficient. (But note that opinions do differ re: emailing faculty members before being accepted; I'm not sure what the consensus is, but seems like it doesn't help one's chances much in most cases unless one has really important stuff to say. But I invite others to correct me if I'm mistaken.)
  7. Yeah, this seems more plausible/clear than what I said before, that joint programs with Classics are more likely to care about hard evidence of Greek than Philosophy depts alone are (even those with strong Ancient programs). But OP also mentioned trying to pass an exam, and that does seem like it'd be sufficient to show profficiency. Ultimately it probably depends highly on the program (caveat again that I'm not so familiar with European programs).
  8. I admittedly know little about European Master's programs, so maybe it doesn't make a big difference for those, but in general, a course on one's transcript is a clearer indication of a certain level of proficiency than a line in a letter is (though letters are, on the whole, more important than transcript). If I were on an adcom and I saw someone who wanted to do ancient but didn't have Greek on their transcript and didn't explain extenuating circumstances, I'd be very confused. If you're relatively sure you want to do ancient, it seems to me that, as long as you've taken a decent number of philosophy courses, nothing is more important than learning Greek (and Latin, or at least whichever is more important for your interests), at least if you hope to end up in a strong PhD program.
  9. Frankly, although I wish you much luck, I'd be surprised if you have much application success without well-documented intermediate-advanced Greek. As others noted, you should have recommenders mention it, but if you can take Greek courses for credit, I'd highly recommend it. (Latin too. Sadly other languages probably won't count for anything, except German, French, and Italian might a bit.)
  10. Unless your AoI requires significant expertise in math/logic, and maybe even not in that case, retaking the GRE seems like it'd be a waste of time with those scores. Based on everything I've seen on this forum, I doubt those scores are what held you back (there could be a bunch of reasons, including just bad luck, but I'll repeat the writing sample mantra).
  11. I don't have any particular expertise, but 20 sounds like more than would be particularly helpful, and 10 sounds like rather few to get foundations in a variety of subtopics. Is it possible to minor in something else and take several philosphy courses more than needed? If your philosophy interests would be benefited by a specific double major (e.g. philosophy of physics, bioethics, ancient), a double major could be a game-changer, but otherwise it probably won't matter much. I defer to others, though, since I'm definitely not an expert.
  12. Major GPA is more important than overall GPA. Ideally, in your SoP you'd explain why your bio/overall GPA is lower, which is often easier if your grades have improved over the course of undergrad.
  13. Often, Aristotle's Poetics is more commonly worked on by classicists rather than philosophers. Ditto for Plato's Symposium. Crito and Charmides seem fine, though it's a lot about method and how you think, more than the exact text. That being said, you're right that there's a lot of discussion on some works, so just make sure to key into relevant (preferably recent) literature.
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