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  1. · A few weeks ago, I was asked to talk to first-year M.A. students about the Ph.D. application process. I prepared a list of what I figure to be key elements, and I figure it might be useful to many on GC who are preparing to go down this path as well. I'm quite certain that some of these points are purely subjective and open to discussion / debate, but having gone through the process a couple of times now, these items ring true based on my experiences and observations. ---------------- Others have surely told you about the state of the industry, so I’m just going to assume that you already know the “there are no jobs” spiel. · Others have also surely told you about how relatively difficult it is to get into a Ph.D. program—I have yet to hear of a program that admits over 10% of applicants. o Because of this, if you are committed to applying to Ph.D. programs, I strongly recommend considering applying to at least ten. Even though merit is a critical part of determining who gets in, there is a very real element of “luck of the draw” which pure numbers will help to mitigate. · With that in mind, NOW is a good time to get started on your program research · Your first consideration when entering the process should be to determine what era you would like to study, and ideally a general sense of methodologies you want to employ. These elements will be reflected in the two most important components of your application: the Statement of Purpose (or SoP), and your Writing Sample (WS). · Some basics: o The SoP and WS should ideally work together o When thinking about potential areas of study, avoid proposing transatlantic or transhistorical concepts: admissions committees are still very much set up by period, and your application should be easily sorted into a field group (i.e. you’re clearly a Romanticist, or you’re clearly a 20th century Americanist). o GRE scores, GPA, and other elements are important, but remember that the things you can control the most at this stage are the WS and SoP. o Given the importance of these two documents, you will want to get as many eyes on them as possible as soon as possible. § My SoP and WS were read and commented on by at least five professors and several fellow students, and ultimately went through at least six rounds of revision each—several of them top-to-bottom revisions. · There are multiple factors to consider when looking at programs. Some of the most important include: o Are there multiple professors actively working in your chosen field § By “active” I mean that you should be able to find publication credits from within the past five years—they need to be in touch with current scholarship. o What level of financial support do they offer—not just the annual funding, but whether they fund in summer, and how many years of funding are guaranteed o What courses have they offered in the past? What courses are they offering in the fall? o What is the teaching load like, and how do they prepare you for that load? o So-called rankings matter to a certain extent, but remember that those rankings are almost completely arbitrary. USNews rankings are helpful as a list of all programs offering Ph.D.s in English…and a very, very general sense of the strong programs vs. the less strong. But FIT with your interests trumps all. § (E.g. the Strode program at U of A is highly regarded, even though U of A itself is somewhat less so) o Location and cost of living. A 20k stipend will get you a lot further in Lincoln, Nebraska than in New York. And elements like small town vs. large city, cold vs. warm climate etc. are all perfectly valid factors when looking at programs. You’ll have to live in this place for 4-6 years, after all! · A few quick and random tips: o It can be helpful to contact professors ahead of time to determine research fit etc., but it can also be quite valuable to contact current grad students to get a sense of the program and the environment. o Remember that an important part of professionalization in a Ph.D. program is publication. More than anything, this means that before you go down the road toward application, give some serious thought to whether or not your writing and research inclinations have that kind of potential. And whether or not that’s something you really want to deal with at all. o Also remember that teaching is a huge part of your job, and always will be. If you don’t enjoy teaching (or the prospect of teaching), you’d better really love the other components of your position, because there’s not going to be any getting away from it for many, many years. o It might go without saying, but be very courteous in all of your communications with professors and other graduate students. And that courtesy should be sincere! o Consider the total cost of applications: application fees average about $75, sending GRE scores is $27 (more if you need the subject test), and if you have multiple transcripts, that can tack on another $10. In other words, each application will likely be upward of $100. Given that I recommend applying to at least ten programs, you’re looking at a commitment of over $1000. There ARE fee waivers you can find, however. o Forums like GradCafe are a good way to socialize with fellow applicants, and commiserate with people in the same situation. Just remember to take all advice you see on those forums with a grain of salt. o Finally, there are NO SAFETY SCHOOLS. Just to reiterate, rankings are arbitrary, and almost every program gets ten times as many applicants as they can admit (let alone fund). As a result, you want to look at the best overall fit for you.
  2. I am looking to apply for English PhD programs in the New England area (or around there) which are fully funded with professors studying 19th century British literature and feminist/gender theory. However, I am worried about my chances of getting into a fully funded program because I didn't go to a prestigious undergrad or master's program. Is there any hope for someone with this kind of background? University of Arizona BA in Creative Writing & Anthropology (Double Major) - 3.74 University of Southern Maine Stonecoast Creative Writing MFA - Pass (out of pass/fail) 4 academic paper presentations at conferences Study abroad for 6 months Work abroad (TEFL) for 6 months Master's academic work focuses on studying fairy tales and modern fantasy literature PhD prospective project to focus on the representation of women in 19th century fantastical literature Writing sample in relation is from a paper presented at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts and WorldCon Science Fiction Convention From what I've seen about the job market, you have to attend a prestigious university to have career prospects as a professor. I want to be a tenured professor studying and teaching and writing in this field more than anything in the world. Would just like to know whether that is a longshot.
  3. Hello everyone. This is a cross-post with a topic I made in the Humanities board. I'm currently a Junior in a BFA Creative Writing program; however, I studied English at my previous college. I need help deciding where to focus my academic efforts over the next 9 months so that I'm not applying to programs which are beyond my skill-set. I've considered pursing an MFA, but after speaking with my advisors I feel that a PhD program better suits my current interests. I'm much less interested in publishing creative work in literary journals than I am in understanding the rhetoric of artistic forms and the culture/experiences they encapsulate. I've been primarily looking into Comparative Literature graduate programs (the interdisciplinary potential excites me,) but I only have an intermediate level of French; I can read fluently and speak fairly fluidly, but my writing skills are comparatively poor. I'm very interested in Showa Era Japan, particularly post-war, and the cultural exports of Japan to the United States and France, but my Japanese is very rudimentary. My McNair advisor suggested I pursue the UCSC History of Consciousness program or another program rooted in Critical Theory. I really took to the whole 'liberal arts' thing and waded into every pool of the humanities (visual art, philosophy, identity, etc). My small college doesn't have much to offer me in this area so I'm researching this field on my own. I'd also be happy to focus on methodologies (Narrative and Rhetorical Theory, Marxism and Critical Social Theory, Writing Studies/Pedagogy, Cognitive Studies) so I'm open to English programs that allow me to focus on this aspect. My areas of academic knowledge are broad but very shallow. I'm not sure what level of experience in these areas I'm expected to have as an undergrad. I've only just started looking into some academic journals this year. My classes have focused more on theory and I've only written a couple of serious research papers. None of them have been in any of my areas of interest so far. The closest I've come was when I was translating Baudelaire, discussed its poetics, and mentioned its depiction in a manga/anime, Aku no Hana (this wasn't even a traditionally academic paper, more of a poetry/creative essay/academic hybrid.) Is it a bad idea to pursue academic research when I've been more trained to pursue an MFA? Would an MFA allow me to explore these academic areas without jumping ship into what's essentially another discipline? Is a bad idea to pursue interest areas in which I have only limited undergrad academic experience? Thank you for any feedback you can give me. I hope I have enough time between now and November to course-correct my time and studies towards a viable area of discipline.
  4. If anyone here has applied to Penn State for their Ph.D. in English program and you know about this, please clarify for me. I would really appreciate it. Thanks! So on the English department's website, it says that a SOP (1-3 double-spaced pages) is required. However, when I went to start the application, the portal says that part of the documentation required is a personal statement with the following prompt: "Why do you want to pursue a higher degree in English studies at a time when the Liberal Arts are often less valued than science and technology?" This doesn't sound like a SOP prompt either way, so I'm just confused. Do they want this in addition to the SOP? Also, it says that a CV is required when the website does not ask for one. I have already written my SOP, so it would really suck if I had to rewrite it based on this prompt or add a personal statement when it didn't even ask for one in the first place.
  5. Hello, everyone! I'm currently in the process of writing my SOP. If anyone is able to review my SOP and offer suggestions/comments, please PM me. I'd appreciate it! Best, The Sailor Scholar
  6. Is there a list that can be shared of fully funded English PhD programs? Does anyone know which programs are fully funded? Any info would help! Thanks, The Maritime Scholar
  7. Hi, so here's the deal. I got accepted into UChicago's MAPH in Creative Writing with a scholarship of $12000 (of course, it isn't really much keeping in mind the total tuition for the program.) I've also been accepted into an MA in English program with a creative writing concentration at Texas Tech University, which offers me a teaching stipend. The program at Texas Tech is decent (plus cheaper) and I've spoken to a few current graduate students and honestly, I was mentally prepared that I'd be accepting their offer. However, I didn't really expect UChicago to accept me. Naturally, I'm quite star-struck, well, because... University of Chicago. I've seen several opinions about this program but I just want to know what people's thoughts are about it anyway. Is the short length of the program an advantage or disadvantage? Is a two-year MA from a somewhat less reputed university better or worse than a nine-month program from a well-reputed one? Is the insane cost of an MAPH worth it?
  8. It's best to get advice from faculty members on this front, but their time is limited, so I thought it might be useful for all of us gearing up for the 2021 cycle, or celebrating/healing from the 2020 cycle to talk about our apps and their weak spots. Here's a summary, I guess, of my app: Stats: GRE: V161 (88th percentile), Q151 (41st percentile), A5.5 (98th percentile) Undergrad GPA: 3.97 at a public research university Graduate GPA: 3.96 at a small, unranked rhet/comp program Teaching experience: worked as a TA (instructor of record) for two years, have adjuncted two junior-level courses, assisted our college's WPA in curriculum design Publications: a nonfiction essay for a smaller women's journal, and currently working on submitting an eco-critical lit theory piece to some journals Conferences: none, I was working full-time and teaching during my degree so I unfortunately left that on the back-burner. I have given several professional developments and spoken at some seminars at two universities, though Areas of focus: digital rhetoric, ecocriticism, and data mining/text mining as both a literature and a composition tool SOP: haven't drafted yet, but I plan to focus on how place and environment are inextricable in my understanding of the beauty of language, and that I think empirical methods (data mining, contextual analysis, etc) can be used to carve a path for its beauty to be understood more widely by more disciplines. I'm vying to be a part of a program that encourages interdisciplinary study, not because language/literature/rhetoric needs to be supplemented, but because it needs to be expanded. Only anecdote I plan on discussing is my time as a backpacker and how it inspired my first research project. LORs: one from graduate school chair, one from very well-published friend and professor, and one from a linguistics professor I absolutely adore Based on your own experience, or on advice given from your own mentors, what would you say can and needs to be improved?
  9. Just wanted to make a thread for people applying for an English MPhil or Ph.D. at Cambridge for the Fall. I applied for an MPhil in Criticism and Culture. I'm currently in the "under review by degree committee" phase on the portal. Apparently that's a good sign and my application got through the first stage, but I'm also not sure how positive a sign that is for the English program specifically. Anyone else in a similar boat?
  10. Hello Grad Cafe peeps! I'm interested in a very specific English M.A. or PhD program with an emphasis (or expertise) in graphic novel creation (or with image and textual analysis together). Does something like this exist in the U.S.? I haven't found anything in my research, but I'd love to know if any of you have come across programs like these.
  11. I just got an email from them requesting to know my availability for a skype interview, but also stating that they won’t interview everyone this email was sent to. I’m wondering if they sent this to all applicants or just a handful—what does this mean?
  12. Hello everyone, As get closer&closer to graduating from my MA, I am starting to worry about my prospects for a Ph.d and would like to hear your opinions on whether I can get into a Ph.d programme in English that is worth doing with my terrible gpa. I got my BA from a university outside USA that is not particularly well know but hugely respected country-wide with a 3.37 gpa, and continued into an MA in the same university, of which I will be graduating with an even lower 3.26. The reason why my BA gpa was not very high was that I was only successful in courses that I was really interested in (and I was consistently successful in them) , but did not believe in the necessity of studying very hard (A level) for other core classes that were not my thing, and I cannot say I regret it very much. And later when started my MA, I came to realize that the programme' s structure and content did not fit my needs at all ,and thus being depressed I decided to do the minimal amount of coursework just to finish the degree and ended up receiving a few bad grades. However, one of the reasons why my gpa got even lower was that I attempted to take a completely irrelevant foreign language course with credit (because having a second language is important, right?) and finished it with a very low grade due to the great amount of coursework that it lay on me along with my other courses. To cut a very long story short, I got bad grades in my MA from courses that were not even in the area that I want to specialize in (which yet still fall into the category of "English" studies) and I do not really have other merits to compensate for this fact, either; I have not published yet (though I might), did not attend conferences (because I was not sure whether I finally wanted to do a phd) , yet I find that I am still hugely interested in the area I want to specialized in and I also know that I can be a good student when I want to. Do you think the the wrong path I took during my MA would completely bar me from a Ph.d that is worth doing ? I do not aim very high but I'd like to be in an institution where I could really flourish. And finally I'd like to add that while my MA dissertation is not (whose is?) brilliant, some people find it at least interesting. Any discouragement or encouragement is welcome, and thanks !
  13. I’m applying for an MA in English for spring entrance, and I have a question. The app says academic writing samples should be between 10 and 20 pages long. All my academic samples (lit analysis, not creative writing) are 8 pages at most. Should I submit two? Try and extend one? Or submit one as is and hope for the best? Any advice would be lovely!
  14. Does this exist? I felt like there should be a place where we can post on here (I know about the MFA draft facebook but that thing stresses me out.) So far I've been rejected by Ohio State and I still have pending: Michener, New Writers Project, Michigan, UMass Amherst, NYU, Brown, Houston. What about y'all?
  15. It looks like the program is fully funded, but I can't find any info on stipend amount, etc. I really wish some of these programs would improve their online presence! Anyway, any knowledge or insight would be appreciated!
  16. Haven't seen any threads on grad school applications to McMaster. Thought I would start one so we could get a sense of what's going on. Applied to the English & Cultural Studies Dept (PhD in English). Waitlisted, so waiting patiently to hear back from the Dept.
  17. Hi all, I'm new to this and only just learned about gradcafe today! I'm a 2nd year MA student currently working on my thesis and have applied for a PhD in English starting fall 2019 at 4 Canadian universities. I've already heard back from 1 of the universities (University of Ottawa) and am anxiously awaiting others (University of Toronto, Dalhousie, and Memorial University). I found an American thread and thought I would create one for people waiting to hear back from Canadian schools!
  18. "Over the past two years, the number of shoppers in Central Plaza has been steadily decreasing while the popularity of skateboarding has increased dramatically. Many Central Plaza store owners believe that the decrease in their business is due to the number of skateboard users in the plaza. There has also been a dramatic increase in the amount of litter and vandalism throughout the plaza. Thus, we recommend that the city prohibit skateboarding in Central Plaza. If skateboarding is prohibited here, we predict that business in Central Plaza will return to its previously high levels." Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation is likely to have the predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation. The following argument is flawed for numerous reasons. Just because there has been an increase number of skateboarders does not mean that is why the sales of Central Plaza have decreased. There are many things that need to be taken in account in order to make this a valid argument. Things change greatly in the result of two years. The assumption that the number of shoppers has decreased in two years because of the skateboarders is too vague. What was the economy like two years ago? The economy might have been better two years ago than it is now, resulting in fewer shoppers. If the shoppers of Central Plaza are not making the same money they were two years ago will decrease their shopping. If, the argument states that the economy has not changed or has gotten better would give this argument more validity. The author made another vague statement discussing the increase of litter and vandalism throughout the plaza. With no evidence to back up this statement does not result in it being the fault of the skateboarders. If the customers are the ones that are littering or vandalizing the plaza, then that is not because of the skateboarders. Also, has the town that the Central Plaza is in, has had increased crime rates? If so, that would be a possible explanation to why there has been an increase in litter and vandalism. By making the assumption that the litter in the plaza is because of the skateboarders and that is resulting in decreased sales, weakens the argument. Also, how much has the number of skateboarders increased? With no statistical data, it does not show how ‘drastic’ the increase of the skateboarders was. If it turned out to not be that big of an increase it would further weaken the argument. Finally, another possibility to take into account is if the demographic has changed in the last two years. Has there been an increase in young residents in the area? If so, that could result in the plaza not having as much business. If the stores within the Central Plaza are not intriguing to the residents, they will not want to shop there. Also, another risk to take into account, is if there have been any new plazas built in the area. With that being said, may result in the shoppers at the Central Plaza to travel to the new shopping plaza. The authors assumption that the increased number of skateboarders is what has caused the decreased number of shoppers at the Central Plaza is too vague and does not provide any support.
  19. This one is for all my "literature & language" folks. I'm currently teaching two recitations for introduction to literary theory. We've gone through structuralism, deconstruction, and psychoanalysis thus far. In the next couple of weeks, we are tackling feminist and queer theory. I really want to get my students to engage--especially with a topic that is so important and prominent in our current lives. Does any one have any advice for how to approach this?
  20. Does anyone know when NYU will notify? I've been shut out from other schools. English PhD program.
  21. I was wondering if anyone that has been accepted to the English PhD program at Texas A&M received any information on fellowships nominations? I received an offer with stipend and all on Feb 4th, but I’ve received better offers and now I’m just waiting to see if they will offer a fellowship or not. This is a top choice for me because of location and faculty , but the stipend is half compared to another more prestigious offer I’ve received.
  22. Hello everyone! I've got quick question that you all may be able to help out with. I'm considering applying to Phd programs in English in the future. I have a B.A. in Religion, an M.A. in Business Management, and am finishing up an M.Div from a seminary/divinity school. Despite the fact that I do not have a degree specifically in English, would I have a chance at getting accepted into a Phd program if the school I apply to is known for their emphasis on literature and religious studies (e.g., University of Chicago, Baylor, University of Virginia, etc.)? Would this even be worth considering?
  23. Hey everyone! I am fall 2019 applicant for poetry MFA programs. I've seen that people have been getting acceptances back from Ohio State's program and I was just wondering... has anyone been rejected? I'm not sure how they do their send outs but I was just wondering why they wouldn't have sent out rejections if they're sending out acceptances! Thanks
  24. Hi all! I'm hoping to get some help here. I'm a first year masters student and I've begun looking into PhD programs to apply once I graduate. I know this might be somewhat early seeing as I'm not even close to finishing my degree yet, but I know that I'll have to apply by this time next year, so I might as well get a head start! My area of interest is 20th century American literature with an emphasis in feminist and ecocriticial analysis. I'm really interested/specialty in archival work. I've worked closely with texts that have been "forgotten" especially those written by women. I tend to lean more towards female writings and Native American writings of the West. So that's where I'm at with this. In terms of programs, ideally fully-funded and providing ample opportunities in either teaching or research. So far my list includes; UNL, University of Michigan, University of Texas Austin, Ohio State, University of Oregon. Does anyone have any other suggestions for me to look into? Thank you in advance!
  25. A friend of mine graduated from undergrad a few years back with her B.S. in Audio Engineering. Unfortunately, once she graduated, she realized she didn't want to work in her major field, and is considering going back to school. As an avid reader and someone who enjoys grammar and syntax, she's considering pursuing an MA in English, but unfortunately doesn't have the means to pay out of pocket for tuition. Are there any fully-funded MA English programs that accept students that don't already hold a BA in English?
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