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About Torontonian131

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  1. Hi, all. I've recently been accepted to a number of graduate schools in Ontario and Quebec and I'm trying to decide between my top three choices. I plan on doing an MA in History. 1. McGill - Offers a TAship of up to about $4800 if I apply for it. - Tuition plus rent and living expenses are around $12,000 for the year. 2. University of Toronto - Offered no funding to any MA students. - Tuition is about $8100 but I live in Toronto so I won't have to pay rent. 3. Queen's - Offered me a TAship and scholarship totalling more than $8000 in funding. - Tuition is about $6000 and rent will probably make it $10,000-11,000 in expenses. Now, I'm planning on applying to some American or European universities for my PhD, and I was considering McGill because it's supposed to have a high international reputation, in addition to being ranked the best in Canada for History. UofT is good and reputable but supposedly bloated, and I've heard they pay little attention to their Master's students. Queen's has been enthusiastic, offering me good funding and they invited me to a recruitment event so I could tour the campus and meet the faculty and students. They are also pretty good in terms of reputation and quality of teaching. I just heard it had more of an undergraduate focus, whereas McGill is a research university with an emphasis on graduate work. I'm also not so sure whether Queen's is well-known outside of Canada. I know your university's reputation isn't as important as your supervisor, your performance and your accomplishments, but I want to make a decision that can put me in the best possible position to get into a school like Stanford or maybe even Princeton. Does anyone with experience or knowledge of these schools have any advice to help me decide?
  2. Could it be possible to do my PhD later in life? I haven't heard of people taking a break between their MA and PhD, but it might work out if I can set some money aside. Maybe I could do it part time. I was thinking that if I work as a technical writer for 5-6 years and then start freelancing (which in tech-writing pays well if you can establish yourself beforehand, and I could work from home), I might be able to put myself through school. Since I'll have an MA, I'd like to write some history books and papers in my spare time, and maybe get published. Would my chances of being published be seriously hindered by not having a PhD?
  3. Hey, guys. I've recently applied to some MA programs here in Canada and I'm excited to start my research if I'm accepted. My plan has been to eventually do a PhD in history, but after reading all the statistics and sob-stories online (not here at grad cafe, just online) and speaking with some of the staff at my university, I'm starting to reconsider this. I'm very passionate about history and I want to build a career out of it, but I also want to have a job stable enough and salary high enough to start a family near my thirties (I'm 22). I was wondering if anybody could suggest some career paths for someone with my interests. My field is the history of democracy and republicanism, meaning I specialize in political and intellectual history. My MA research will involve the development of republican thought in early modern Europe, though I have also explored republicanism and democracy up to the present, as well as in the classical world. I think it's a very relevant and important field and was hoping to use my expertise to address modern issues in democratic statecraft, in both developed and developing countries. I have also looked into some areas of democracy promotion. It's admittedly a wishy-washy dream job, but I'm very interested in it. I was hoping that being a professor could allow me to inspire a new generation of students to better understand their representative governments, how the concepts they take for granted came to be, and how they can solve problems related to republican thought. I have plenty of transferable skills and experience: I have lived abroad for one year, have a good knowledge of nearly three additional languages, participated in my university's foreign affairs society and model UN, tutored students in academic writing, have been published in an undergraduate journal, and have received an award for one of my other essays. Unfortunately, the job market for History PhDs, especially those interested in intellectual history and European history, seems to be shrinking and shows no signs of picking up again. I've read stories about history scholars searching for many years for a permanent teaching position, making meagre pay, and shouldering large graduate school debts. By the way, I don't want to offend anybody on this forum who is pursuing a PhD or has already obtained one. If it's something you're passionate about, it's always worth it. But as I said, for my purposes, I want to live somewhere stable and raise a family, and this really concerns me. Therefore, I've looked at several more professional paths I could take after completing my MA. The first is pursuing a career in international law. I'm aware this would still mean some relocation, but it could allow me to play an active role in helping people around the world get access to democratic rights. Whether this is a viable path will depend on my LSAT score and performance if accepted, but that's another story. I've also considered some kind of government job, but I don't specialize in Canadian history specifically. I'm not entirely tethered to Europe; I've studied American political history as well as some Middle Eastern and Latin American history. I'm really just interested in the origins and development of modern democratic republics and how we can improve them. My third possible career path - and believe me, it was very hard to come to this - is technical writing. I have relevant experience and education, it generally pays well and it's a moderately secure career. But I wouldn't be doing what I enjoy most - this is really the fall-back position. If I end up doing this, I could study history on the side, as a hobby. I'm not sure if History MA's are generally able to publish books or articles, but it would be nice if I could still contribute to the historical community on the side. So, I really have a two questions: - If I were to go through with the PhD option, are there any ways I could significantly increase my chances of employment at a university? - Can you suggest any careers or organizations for someone with my particular interests (e.g. in democracy promotion, democratic law, politics, etc.)?
  4. Thanks for your advice and the links. I admit it's a very recent decision of mine since I wanted more than anything to be a Professor of History but had no idea about the dismal job market. Maybe I'll work for a year after my MA and save up some money, somewhere that will hopefully add a little strength to my application. That will give me more time to study for the LSAT, for which I'm planning to take a prep course. And you're definitely right about History and Rhetoric not being enough in themselves to survive in Law school, but I'll look into some other qualifications I might have, or be able to get, and see if it would really be worth it. I'm only 22, but now is the time to decide on the remainder of my education.
  5. Hi, I was wondering if anybody could tell me whether I might be a good candidate for a Canadian law school and maybe give me some advice on how to improve my chances of getting accepted. I was planning on doing a PhD in History after my MA and becoming a professor, but considering how difficult it is to both find and keep a job in that field, I'd like to become a lawyer or some kind of law academic. My percentage GPA right now is about 81%, which I think roughly equals an A- or 3.7 but feel free to correct me. As for the LSAT, I haven't begun studying yet but I'm thinking about ten to twelve months worth of studying might be good enough, since I'd like to enter law school in Fall 2013 if accepted. My BA will be a Joint Honours in History and English this spring. I can speak German, Latin, and some Italian, but I doubt that will have much effect on my application. I've also had a paper published in an undergraduate journal and won an award for another paper. My GPA is all that concerns me, since I think most who are accepted to law school in Canada hold a 3.9 GPA or above. I have a 3.9 if only my history and rhetoric courses are counted, especially in the last two years of of my BA, but I've heard that most law schools just look at your cumulative GPA. By the way, I know many people with BA's assume that law school is some kind of career "safety net", and that this is not necessarily the case, and that even if accepted law school itself is incredibly tough and competitive. I can handle the academic demands of law school since I do well in history and rhetoric, digesting large amounts of information and applying it in articulate and complex arguments in both written and spoken form. My point is that although there are plenty of unemployed law graduates, there are even more unemployed history graduates. Anyways, I was thinking York or UofT might be good schools to start looking into.
  6. I'll still try to get into the MPhil but it looks like applying there after for the PhD might be better since I'd have more money, a better idea of research, and a thesis to show off. Cambridge aside, here in Canada I'm seeing a lot of grad schools posting the honours BA in History as a requirement while other degrees "may be considered eligible." Does that mean I likely can't get in with a joint-honours that includes history? I don't know if it matters or not but I met the full requirements for an English honours and I have a high average in history.
  7. Thanks for the responses, guys. @crater21: I'm applying for the Gates Scholarship as well the Cambridge Trust Scholarship and a few others. I'll only be able to muster about $10,000 - $15,000 CAD (6-10 thousand pounds give or take) privately, so it all depends on whether I get a really good scholarship. I doubt that'll be the case, but like you said there's no harm in trying. The Prospectus says, under "Fees and Financial Support", that: "Applicants should ensure that they have adequate financial provisions in place not only to cover College and University fees, but also to cover the cost of any necessary travel for research purposes. Before an applicant's admission can be finally confirmed, he or she needs to prove the ability to meet University or College tuition fees and living expenses in Cambridge." Does this mean I *need* to be able to supply the 25,000 pounds privately in order to be considered for funding? It looks to me like they might really be asking: "should you be able to get the funding you require, can you prove that you'll have enough privately to cover the rest of the costs?" @barricades: Thanks for clarifying. Judging from what I've read, a lot on political thought seems to come from Cambridge, but also from places like Princeton so it looks like I wouldn't really be prejudiced if I were to get my education on European history outside of Europe. Chances are I'd be going on trips anyway to do some on-site research. @jogatoronto: Congrats on your degree! The competition does seem pretty tough but I have a good proposal in the works so hopefully that'll work to my benefit. I was actually about to contact some possible supervisors there but then read in the Prospectus that you shouldn't because the committee will find you a supervisor. I'll give LSE another good look.
  8. Hey all, I'm applying to graduate schools this fall and was wondering if I could get some advice on where to look. My main focus right now is applying to Cambridge for their MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History. I'm Canadian and my GPA for history should be around 84-85% or higher once I graduate. I'm currently doing the second of two additional semesters in my BA in order to complete two research seminars for my joint honours degree which I recently switched into (I was an English major and history minor for most of my degree, now it's joint honours English and History). Also, I'd like to know how Canadian grades are converted to the British grading system. Cambridge requires a minimum of an upper second-class undergrad degree or its equivalent in order to be considered for this MPhil course. I'd like very much to go to England for my master's since my interests are European history and the universities there offer many resources. My area of focus is Renaissance Political thought and specifically the history of the republic as a form of government and its development in Western political thought. Right now I'm also looking at Durham, UCL, and the London School of Economics and Political Science. In Canada, I'm looking at UofT (which would save major $$$), McMaster, McGill, Carleton, Western, and a few other places but I'm not sure where the hubs are for the study of history of political thought. Another reason I want to go to Europe is because I heard somewhere that if you get a degree in European history from an institution outside Europe, instead of traveling the locations in person and doing research and such accordingly, you won't be taken as seriously as an academic in the field. I'm sceptical about this, but I'm not sure if whether it's untrue. Say I wanted to teach at a European university- if I got my masters and PhD at Canadian universities, would I be very appealing as a professor to a European institution? The main obstacle for going to England are the staggering overseas fees (the 9-month course @ Cambridge will cost over $40,000 CAD minimum) so unless I'm offered considerable funding I won't likely be able to go there or to any other British universities. I've thought about going to Germany (where I spent my third year on exchange), but I'm not confident enough in my German skills and I can't find any institutions that seem to offer degrees focusing on the history of political thought. I'm a very ambitious person, but I only started buckling down and maxing out my history grades this last year (my 4th) so I hope potential grad schools will be impressed by my learning curve (my average grades in history floated around 80-82% in previous years and averaged at 86.5% for 4th year). Sorry if my post is a little disorganized. Anybody have any thoughts?
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