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About IGoToWar

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  • Application Season
    2020 Fall
  • Program
    History PhD

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  1. You should look in to the UChicago MAPSS program. You can choose to concentrate in History. They give out aid ranging from 25% to 100%. A word of caution: the program is accelerated (one year), which means 9 courses (3xquarter) on top of a thesis for an expected graduation in June, though most graduate in August. Therefore, it is recommended to know generally what topic you can write a thesis-length paper on before beginning the program. If everything is timed well, you may also have the opportunity to apply for financial aid in the summer after the program to do intensive language study at Chicago's SLI, which can help boost your app if you still want to go on to the PhD.
  2. Like @FruitLover, I've had potential faculty advisors in one case ask directly about programs, and have in another case initiated the conversation myself. In one case, faculty at one school happened to praise the resources at another school I was considering, without me even bringing it up. Can't speak for others, but I've had a good experience with these frank discussions (so far). The sense I got was that they genuinely wanted me to make the best decision for myself, even if they hoped that I would accept their offer. Of course, it'd be best to gauge on a case-by-case basis: does this faculty member seem open to talking about other institutions? By having these discussions, you may learn some really valuable things about the other programs, as scholars in a certain sub-field tend to know each other. They will also know other things about an institution, such as the quality and types of archival/library resources available there. You can't find a lot of this kind of stuff online, and even current graduate students may not know as much as faculty at different institutions.
  3. Hey, shoot me a message with any specific q's you may have!
  4. I personally had a good experience in the University of Chicago's MAPSS Program. I'm not familiar with Mesopotamian history, but I can say they have a great history department in general. MAPSS has a history of providing good funding, often from 50% all the way to 100% tuition. For me, it has acted as a stepping stone to some great PhD offers this application cycle, so if you are interested in going on to the PhD but need more training, this is a good option to consider. However, you may want to work on improving the verbal component of the GRE before applying.
  5. Related to the questions above, and directed to currently attending grads/post-grads: For someone deciding between programs and about to undertake a PhD, would you say it is important to have a clear roadmap/plan/timeline for what grants and fellowships to target, conferences to attend, and people to meet before beginning the program? Or from your experience is it harder to plan/foresee opportunities without understanding your field and department more after being enrolled for a year or two? Also, both from online digging and from personal connections with other grad students, I notice a wide spectrum in terms of PhDs/scholars that one can find very little information about, and scholars who have meticulously maintained social media platforms and websites, which detail publications, conferences, and research interests. What are your thoughts on having a kind of public profile that makes you easily searchable and "connected" on the internet? Is it more practical to do so, both in terms of eventual job prospects (in/out of academia) and just for research networking? Is it a waste of time?
  6. Applied but heard nothing so far
  7. Question: Currently considering a program and am reaching out to faculty and current/past students. Trying to learn about movements within the department, and hear from current students that there will be a new F2020 hire in an area relevant to my own area. Job talks may have recently concluded, but unclear if this means someone has been selected. Would it be judicious to ask potential advisor for more information about the recent hire?
  8. Any chance that the person working on modern Taiwanese history who posted about Wisconsin is on this board? Would like to connect. Had a similar take on the difficulty of finding programs that fit, but several faculty/departments are definitely supportive.
  9. Really sorry to hear about this, OP. I was rejected from every program I applied to in 2017, which was a crushing experience. Was thrown a lifeline (MA referral) at a top 10, and went in with an all-or-nothing attitude. The experience helped me grow academically, and I also got some experience RAing and started learning a third language. I'm still waiting on a few schools, but am already satisfied with my options thus far. 1) Cannot speak re: a third cycle, but here's what I improved to make a successful second cycle. Of course, all the things you listed about having a better SOP, good LORs, and a very good fit with the faculty applied to. That said, I applied to 10 programs this cycle. Definitely not a perfect fit for every one, but I tried to make as good a case as possible for each in both my informal contacts/interview and the SOP (I work on a transnational topic, which in some ways might have helped). Connecting your research topic/interests to important events/trends in the present may also help your case. I emailed about 30 people in the Fall, scratched a few programs off the list, and heard back from about a dozen people, which helped me refine my SOP and list even further. I gleaned a few insights about how admissions worked at several schools, though nothing in too much detail. From my experience, sharing a particular vision about your field or topic is one of the most important things in determining which faculty will support your application in the committee. Echoing @TMP, it may be helpful to write to faculty inquiring about what could be improved in your application. If it is relevant to your sub-field, learning another language(s) in the interim 1-2 years might also be helpful, particularly if you spend time living abroad. Like the MA, it would show that you are dedicated to the craft and committed to improving yourself with each cycle. If you apply to work with some of the same faculty, this would not be lost on them. 2) There are plenty of think tanks, NGOs, museums and other educational/entertainment organizations that employ historians, with or without PhDs. Public history orgs are one way to do this kind of work. I worked at an educational history podcast as an undergrad and helped research segments for shows and blogs. It was a wonderful experience, I learned a lot (about stuff outside my sub-field), but was also able to employ the same historical skills. You might also get some publications this way. I hope you hear some good news during this cycle, there are still a few weeks for the majority of programs.
  10. No problem! Also, for what it's worth, faculty on leave still likely have a say in the admissions process. Given that pretty much the entire China field there is on leave, I couldn't imagine that they would have zero admits as a result.
  11. Not entirely sure -- not privy to the process myself. However, several other schools I've communicated with do not admit students under particular faculty. Faculty might nominate people, but those people have to ultimately be considered by the entire committee. I know one or two recent admits at Chicago who work with KP, but don't know if he specifically recruited anyone this year.
  12. I think JH might be retiring soon or otherwise not accepting students. And yes I have POI who are a pretty good fit, but would prefer not to name them.
  13. Sorry for the late reply! This cycle I applied to work with both China and Japan faculty for pretty much all schools, as my interests revolve around 20th C Taiwan and transnational East Asia.
  14. Would definitely like a tool for this! It would be particularly useful to help track changes across departments (ie, investing more or less in grad students and specific sub-fields over time). That is, if enough people use it.
  15. I had this playing when I received an acceptance e-mail late last night from one of my top choices. It gets pretty good around 3:50
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