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About venusofwillendork

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  • Application Season
    2020 Fall
  • Program
    Art History Ph.D.

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  1. Hi! I second what @CHINESEGOLD has expressed: go for it. A 3.0 is a little low, but not appallingly so. If you have a clear picture of what you want from the program and how you are an effective candidate, that will go much further than your GPA. Plus, if you can highlight the ways that you have turned your academic struggles into successes or strengths, you could demonstrate your tenacity and capacity to pivot, which are both good personal qualities.
  2. Hi! I know you just messaged me, but to answer this specific question publicly -- yes, reaching out to faculty is super important. You need to stand out from 100-300 applications to be not only academically in the top 10, but personally someone the faculty want to work with. Think of this like a job application. If you just send off the application and let it go, you might be awesome, but you will not do as well as the person who has used their networking connections, or done an informational interview. They might be bothered, so you should always be polite. But it's their job to work with new students, so it's a fair thing to ask. Yesss... this is a challenging and time-consuming one. I don't actually know how worth it it is, but it was gratifying for me to see. Basically, I went to each program's page. They usually have a list of current grad students. Those students often list their BA and MA institutions. If they list a BA and not an MA, they almost certainly didn't get their MA before coming to the program. And some programs will offer an MA-along-the-way, so if it matches where you're looking, they also probably only had a BA when they entered!
  3. Hi @paulab! Glad to help I also thought a lot about funding when I was applying, although I've realized that the cost of living is very different -- so the difference between a 36k stipend at UC Berkeley and a 28k one in New Haven might not be as wide as it appears. Is your specific interest mod/con Latin American art? You might look at Ana Maria Reyes at Boston University -- that's where I'm headed this fall and am happy to answer any questions you have. Thanks!!
  4. Hi @paulab! Here are a few criteria I used to narrow down my focus. Like you, I wanted a school in the Northeast and my area is in modern art. Beyond the faculty I already knew about, or who were already recommended to me as potential POIs, I wanted to assess some other schools and to look at their faculty. I actually made up a little worksheet with some of the following criteria and used it to search each department's website. I used these criteria on the schools and people I already knew I wanted to work with, and worked to expand my list too. I started with CAA's directory of programs (https://www.collegeart.org/publications/directories) and narrowed my focus to the regions I wanted and if I wanted an MA or a PHD and started looking at some of these qualities: Preference for academia or curatorial path (some departments will advertise a strong curatorial program, if that's where you want to work after school) Undergrad and MA institutions for current students (I'm a BA-only candidate, so I wanted to see if many students got accepted without an MA, and if my R2 school was realistic) Number of and area of specialty for professors in my field of interest Names of current dissertations in progress (anything relevant to what I want to do?) Diversity, equity, and inclusion statements, and the program's emphasis on transatlantic, post-colonial lenses Placement of recent graduate students Focus on theory, visual analysis, material culture, interdisciplinary etc. (found this by looking at faculty) Presence of, and quality of Graduate Students Association, Graduate Student Unions Stipend amount (takes some creative googling) and number of years (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1RK4iDBMdcTm73NJV28gDE6D4_hcjXpohTCThO9lRrQE/edit?usp=sharing) Location relative to areas, museums, and archives of interest (and location relative to cost of living) How long has the program existed? What top faculty have worked there in the past? Once I had narrowed it down to a shorter list of schools, I also considered the following: Responses from faculty (do they respond, when do they respond, are they cordial, do they offer to meet?) Responses from grad students (what do they have to say? are they happy with the program?) Timeline to degree (do most people finish on time? what support is available? what is the placement like) Support for alt-ac futures, professional development Do they actually hold to their DEI statements? Are they actually as interdisciplinary as they claim to be? I know your question was about what makes a "top school" and there are probably answers to this. However, I think you're really looking for a way to narrow your search down. What makes a "Top school" top doesn't matter as much as your ability to succeed in the program and to find work afterwards. I hope these questions help!
  5. For a PhD program, $0. If you get into a doctoral program and they do not offer funds, it's not worth it to accept the offer. I know that there are very limited MA programs with full funding, and that it's difficult to get into a doctoral program without an MA. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education-postsecondary/reports/2020/01/13/479220/graduate-school-debt/ < This article breaks it down in pretty specific detail. It talks about using a percentage of your income to decide how much of a loan you should take out. If you're looking at adjuncting, you might make between 20-25k/year for the next few years after your degree (https://hyperallergic.com/516702/how-much-does-an-adjunct-actually-make/). That's like a 20k loan to be able to take out -- 10% of your income over 10 years. With an MA program, you won't be able to get a TT position. You'll either need to continue in school (defer your loans), and still may need to adjunct for some time even with a PhD. But say you play your cards right. You take out some loans for your MA, defer them through your PhD (without taking a gap year in-between, otherwise you'll need to start paying after 6 months). You land a TT job. These start at 40-50k and seem to land in the 60-70k range on average (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1mWZL98MP01YNrPFmg9NOi4b1CmoPWh2r33nxjss40xI/edit?fbclid=IwAR0eINbPuxSnDJnc9r0cLmjCkwp3ylpCSorlPfPMiif9OJAh_yCg-CTGqck#gid=2015163110). That could put your loan limit as high as maybe 45k. But you would need to be very, very lucky for that to work in your favor. Maybe you don't want to be in academia. If you don't have an art history background, and your program doesn't require internships during the degree, you might not have the experience needed for it. You might need to jump around to temporary fellowships in the meantime. Fellowships I've seen that a qualified BA or MA student might get can make 14-20k. Curatorial Assistant positions (appropriate for an MA) make between 30-50k. They're very competitive. And if you want to be a curator (after getting your PhD), that's maybe 50k-80k depending on the size of the museum (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/14_cn3afoas7NhKvHWaFKqQGkaZS5rvL6DFxzGqXQa6o/edit?usp=sharing). A general timeline for paying off student loan debt is 10 years. With some of these lowest-paying positions, you're looking at a cap of around 20k. At the highest, 60-70k loan cap. I would personally be incredibly anxious about pushing the limit. With the state of our world (even before the pandemic, and even more so now), pushing the limit on how much you can take out is not a good choice. It's likely that there will be even more precarious employment in our futures, and having a massive debt will only put more pressure on you and on me, and will only make things more precarious.
  6. Hello! I'm looking for advice on places to live around Boston with decent/consistent parking availability, probably outside of Boston proper. Do you have any advice to share? Thanks!
  7. Hey @sophsan! I'd also add that you'll want to do the work in your statement of purpose of weaving in the connections between your BA major and your plans for your MA. Political Science and Theology could definitely have ideological underpinnings that relate to your planned work in art history. Use that to your advantage -- position yourself as particularly unique because you have this wider background. I'd also suggest emphasizing some of that added research experience you mentioned. Something your readers will be concerned about is that art history has a particular way of writing history -- visual analysis being the most obvious facet, but the discipline differs in many more subtle ways too. If you can prove that you are prepared to write and speak about art history as art historians do -- or that you are taking the steps towards gaining that experience either through courses or specific guided learning -- that will definitely cover you. An MA (even a very reputable one) is still meant to be training before the PhD, so it's the perfect step as you transition from another field. You don't need to apologize for the fact that you don't have a BA in Art History, because it may be to your credit to have a different perspective than many of your peers, even if your intended field is less so directly related to your undergrad majors. And those GRE scores are great -- also keep in mind the rest of your resume (writing experience, any internships or work experience, languages, travel, etc. can also help your application!) Other MAs to look at too -- Tufts, UPenn, and CUNY. Good luck!
  8. @theproblemseeker I think probably yes, it can play into the selection process. Since the programs are so small (at least in the US, where I am speaking from my own experience), any small thing could hinder your application. That said, if you have good research experience, strong recommendations, excellent writing skills, some language background, and maybe some conferences or papers under your belt, it would make up for a less well-known university. You will probably also want to spend some extra time networking, since your current faculty may not have the same amount and level of connections as faculty at a higher-ranked university (though I may be completely wrong on this instinct). Connections are extremely important, so taking the time to meet with your POIs, to meet with grad students, and so-on, will make a big difference in your application's success. Good luck!
  9. Hi @lellabee ! I'm not sure what @arthistorygc ending up finding, but I'm happy to put in my two cents. I agree with both these above comments! Bard is an excellent program if your focus is more so on decorative arts/craft and material culture more so than traditional art history, but it sounds like maybe you're more the traditional route? Jason Hill at UDelaware, possibly look at University of Southern California, Boston University - Kim Sichel for photography. CUNY has several modern and contemporary faculty - Claire Bishop jumps to mind. Possibly University of Minnesota and University of North Carolina - though I'm less familiar with their Europeanists. I've heard good and bad things about Stanford. If you're interested in an MA at all, Tufts and Williams have good reputations too. Feel free to message me! I have just been through the application cycle in American modern/contemporary, so I'd love to help if I can.
  10. @Yyah I agree about casting your net a little wider, but not necessarily about applying to more schools. Widening your net to find other programs, or ones you might not have originally considered is an excellent idea. But I'd keep your final list short and sweet. This will give you more time and space to make contacts at that program, to speak to current students and potential advisors and the director of graduate studies for your program. I believe that those connections will increase your chances of getting into a good program. I also think that the best people to answer whether or not you should apply will be the people in the programs where you are applying. They will know what their funding and admission status will be, and will be better able to advise you about how the process has changed. Plus, if they say that waiting is better, your contact now will only help your application later on, since they'll see that your interest has continued.
  11. @CHINESEGOLD Is there a phone number you can call? Or a grad program administrator you could get in touch with? Otherwise, I'd wait a little longer (this Wednesday at least, if not Friday) and send an additional email outlining the urgency of your situation and asking for an update.
  12. Hi @avantgardner, congratulations on your graduation and on beginning your application process. I am one year ahead of where you're at -- I also took a gap year to apply to schools after undergrad, and am now heading to a PhD program in the fall. So, a few things to think about here. 1) I think a lower GPA will not necessarily be a red flag (and a 3.4 really isn't that low). Were you an art history major? Is your GPA better in your major? Many of the applications asked for a major-specific GPA, and that might be a good way to highlight your transcript strength. Also on your transcript, what is your range of art history or other applicable courses? Did you generally do well in those (B+ - A range?) That will help make up for any questions on your GPA. 2) Your professional experience in museums will be a big plus. And education and grantwriting will be supremely important as you seek relevant internships and work in the field. I would definitely highlight your curatorial research experience in your statements of purpose -- that's a valuable way to indicate that your experience goes beyond the classroom. 3) Other programs to consider really depends your area of interest. Is avant-garde what you're looking at? Where geographically? What methodologies/frameworks are you interested in studying? 4) I've heard great things about art history programs at University of Delaware and UNC Chapel Hill. You might also consider an MA at Tufts or Williams College, which have strong curatorial departments. 5) One more thing to consider: ask current grad students and potential advisors whether the program leans towards academia or curatorial. My goal is to remain in academia, so professors who have only ever been professors are the best career advisors for me. But that's probably not the case for you if you want to go into museums, so you'll need a program that is well prepared to support you in your job search, who will know what internships and fellowships are most important for you. Anyway, this is longer than I had intended! Best of luck with your applications <3
  13. Hi! So glad to help. I think talking things through, asking yourself these questions... it's the best way to narrow your focus! 1) Your undergrad courses and archaeological work will be super helpful! Definitely something to highlight in your SOP -- help them see that you have the skills you need to work and think in a different discipline. 2) If your goal includes curatorial work, my instinct is that Art History is a better option. However, I'm not as familiar with your period or work in the UK. If most of the people in the jobs you are interested in at the BM have degrees in Art History, or Archaeology, that would definitely indicate it's a good choice. When I started my PhD search last year, I thought it would be most important for me to be able to demonstrate clear thematic research interests. I also thought I needed to spend my time learning more factual information, doing more readings, etc. However, what I have learned in the past year is that when it comes to fit, the methodology and types of material are really more important. You know you have the skills -- you're a qualified MA student with clear research interests. I can't emphasize enough how valuable it has been for me to step back and assess what my approaches to art history are -- and then to find out what approaches my potential POIs use. It would have saved me a lot of time and application fees, as I did end up applying to some programs (like Stanford, for example) where the program and my POI's focus/methodology did not match my own lens for doing this work, even though we shared common themes and topics. Best of luck!!
  14. Hi @MtrlHstryGrl! This is a great question. I have a non-answer for you: look at both. There are some excellent art history programs who use historical lenses, anthropological and sociological lenses to study cultural artifacts and ideas. However, there are also a great many that emphasize visual analysis and theory over these lenses, which is probably not the right fit for you. I would look at both History & Art History -- prioritizing the mentors whose fields and methods/approaches match what you're most interested in studying yourself. Fit is probably the most important consideration for both of these fields (imo -- others may disagree). That said, three things. 1) As a History BA and a History MA, you may appear (in your applications) to lack some of the specific skills relevant to Art History, in doing visual analysis in particular. You will need to make it clear why art history is the right lens for your research goals (as opposed to history). You will also need to demonstrate your capacity to do visual and material analysis, and how you have developed that skill alongside (separate from/in addition to) your abilities to do textual and historical analysis. 2) What is your ultimate career goal? Museum work? Public history? Academia? If academia, what field do you want to teach in? How will the programs you are considering best prepare you for the field you want to move into next? It's important to be intentional now about what you want to do next. If you plan to be a professor of history, an art history degree may not be your best next step. If you want to work in museums, an art history degree might set you apart. 3) What is the material makeup of your research interests? Are you looking at specific artifacts or architecture? Archaeological records? Diaries, texts, and personal entries? Books of hours, madonnas, relics? Religious ephemera? Your thematic goals seem to fit either history or history, but if you have a clear research plan entailing a specific body of material, that might point you towards one or the other. As in: madonnas, relics, and books of hours might make you lean more firmly towards Art History. But archaeological records, texts, etc., might trend more so towards History. Maybe this makes more questions than it answers! Ultimately, focusing on the fit -- specifying not only your thematic interests, but also your materials and methodological approach --- will help you narrow down which program is the best place to grow and expand your research. Best of luck!! PS: I saw your other post about language exams, and asked the same thing here -- https://forum.thegradcafe.com/topic/122983-prep-for-language-exams/ -- in case the answers there are helpful. Feel free to PM to exchange ideas too :)
  15. @ncan360 No word on my end! They're also the last school I have not heard anything from.
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