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Found 120 results

  1. Hi all! Apologies if this has already been asked and answered, but I am wondering if anybody knows how common it is for departments to automatically consider rejected PhD applicants for their masters programs. I came across this while perusing Boston College's English PhD program, but I can't find other institutions that share this practice (or at least publicize it). Is this often done at other universities? If so, where would one look to find out this information? Short of directly emailing program directors, I can't think of a quick way to know whether or not an institution does this. Is there a list out there of programs that automatically consider 'promising' PhD rejects for an MA in the same department? Thanks in advance for reading
  2. · 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 § I personally used a “rule of three”—if a program had three professors with significant research overlap with my interests, I would consider it. § 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.
  3. Minerva1917

    Switching from English to History

    Hey all--I recently graduated with a master's in English and am trying to switch disciplines and apply for a PhD in history instead. After graduating from my MA program, I audited 3 graduate history seminars and quickly realized that history is the right discipline for me. I really want to apply to a PhD program but I'm not sure I can really get anywhere because I have no history courses on my transcript. I double-majored in English as an undergrad, and then again as a master's student. Does anyone have any suggestions about what I can do to strengthen my history PhD applications before december? Would you recommend paying to take some courses in a continuing education department? I saw Columbia offers this, but it is REALLY expensive, so I want to make sure it's worth it before doing it. Thanks in advance for your help with this!
  4. Next week, I have to interview faculty interested in serving as either an advisor or second reader to my thesis (MA English Lit. btw). (1) What questions should I ask them to ensure that we will work well together? (2) What other advice do you have for this process? Thanks
  5. Hi Grad Cafe, I've been selected as a top 3 candidate for full time position in an English department at a community college. I have a final interview with the college president and the dean in a few weeks. Any tips on how to prepare for this? They didn't provide any extra info. I did a teaching demonstration and 60 minutes worth of question and answers in the initial interview. Like many people in the field, I'm feeling a bit desperate for this. It's my only successful application, and I'm terrified of my future if I don't get the job. Thanks for any help!
  6. I am new to this forum so please let me know if I am being redundant or if these questions have already been answered in another thread! I'm having trouble narrowing down my list of English PhD programs to apply to, and am wonder if others who've done this before might have any insight or techniques in doing so. My advising professor told me to choose numerous backups (dependent, of course, upon fit), but her suggestion of applying to 20+ schools is not monetarily feasible for me. I want to be deliberate and smart about which programs I apply to, and while I'm tempted to apply to numerous 'reach' schools (i.e. top 15 programs), I'm not sure if it'll be worth it considering their low acceptance rates. I'm really just unsure of how competitive of an applicant I am, so any advice on where to start would be greatly appreciated. My current list includes a few American Studies and Performance Studies programs in addition to traditional English programs. I am still figuring out my project, but I'm fascinated by Afro-American and Asian American literature and autobiography (contemporary archives/repertoire are especially interesting to me, think Tina Campt). I will likely be applying to some of the bigger names in Black Studies; still determining if Asian American Studies is right for me. My questions, then, are as follows: - Is it worth it to apply to the top 15-20 programs when they have only a handful of spots? Of course, I will only apply to programs that are relevant to my research interests, but I'm not sure if it's worth spending so much time/money if I'm extremely unlikely to be admitted, especially since I don't have an MA and I would assume many (more qualified) applicants do. - How many 'reach' and 'backup' programs do most people apply to? To what extent does program 'pedigree' matter in overall PhD experience and eventual job placement? Some background about me: - Graduated a few years ago with a BA in English (minors in Creative Writing and Black Studies) from a small liberal arts school. - Undergraduate GPA was ~3.87; I wrote a thesis. I have a few profs who know me well and will (hopefully) write decent letters of rec. - My GRE general test scores are horrendous to middling at best (~311 combined score, 164V, 147Q, 4.5 writing, will probably retake) - I have yet to take the GRE Lit Subject test, so that may improve my overall competitiveness, though I know that might not matter much. - No conferences or publications under my belt. Thank you!
  7. Hello all. I need a bit of help deciding between Mills College and Wake Forest for their English MA programs. I've spoken with both schools and will be visiting shortly. They both assure me that they place students very well into top doctoral programs and - at least for Mills - into positions outside of universities (publishing, journalism, private high schools, community colleges, and so on). But neither program seems to have or to want to cough up hard data regarding their past placements. Is this something to be concerned about? Or maybe, more pertinently, does anyone have insight into the standing and success rates of these two schools?
  8. I have been accepted to both U of T and McGill's English M.A. programs, and I really love both!! I have done my undergraduate degree in English at McGill, and if I return for the two-year thesis program, I have been offered a $1500 RAship w/ a supervisor of my choosing. Because I have spent the past four years here, I have strong connections with my professors and am familiar with the expectations of the program. However, U of T has some really appealing options. It is a one-year non-thesis program, which potentially might make me a less enticing PhD candidate (although I do have an undergraduate thesis, so I wouldn't be devoid of research experience), but the courses expect papers of about 20 pages, which is the typical writing sample size for PhD programs. What is most appealing to me is the English community at U of T, as from QS rankings (especially the subject specific ones, which place McGill at 31st for English worldwide and U of T at 12th) it seems that U of T might challenge me more. It's a bigger program, however, and from what I hear it isn't very easy to get to know profs. What would you recommend? Asking for advice from anyone, but especially people familiar with either school and anyone with M.A. experience. I am really interested in doing a PhD program in the States, so that is also something I've been trying to take into consideration. Thank you!!
  9. Hey everyone! I could really use your help: I'm trying to decide on an English or Comparative Literature program and am curious as to whether any of you think that placement records are an important factor in deciding? If so, how do you determine what a good placement record is? Thirdly, why are some schools better at placing students than others? I'm finding this very confusing because strong placement records sometimes don't correspond to the school's level of prestige. For example, I noticed that at Brown's English department, only 7% of graduates in the last 4 years got tenure-track jobs. And at Rutgers, 68% of graduates went on to secure tenure-track jobs.
  10. Hello, I have been accepted to a partially funded MA at Boston College, a PhD at UConn with full funding, and a PhD at UOregon with full funding (all in English Literature). Would it make sense to take the MA as a way to up my chances at a better school for a PhD later? What do you think of the placement records of UConn and UOregon? How much do you think ranking matters in this process? I see the UO is ranked higher, but to me, it looks like UConn might have better placements. Any advice is greatly appreciated! thank you, Lindsey
  11. I'm feeling pretty discouraged about my chances this year (I'm already 3r/0a/3p), so I'm looking for some last minute schools that still take applications that I might have somehow missed. Any programs still accepting applications?
  12. Trying decide whether I want to complete my masters in English lit at Oxford or Cambridge– anyone have any feedback on either program, or on why you chose one over the other? I've read that Cambridge tends to take a more hands-on approach with the students, and emphasizes criticism/theory, whereas Oxford is more historicist? Is this true?
  13. Hi I am applying to english grad programs and have been accepted into two fully funded MA programs. In my statement of purpose I mentioned that I was interested in modernist, 20th century, and African American literature. However, after spending post submission time reading, and reviewing my undergrad work, I think I would be much better and off studying 19th century literature and late victorian literature. I know that MA programs do not expect perfect commitment from undergrads entering MA programs but this seems like a very dramatic shift, and honestly, I don't know even remember why I was ever so committed to modernism. I will be visiting the campuses that offered admissionship soon. Should I ask to speak with faculty aligning with this new research interest or will the faculty not like this? Should I just suck it up and stick with modernism? Will I ever be able to take a little time to really decide on what specific niche I would like to invest in?
  14. I guess I'm getting pretty desperate for information, but has anyone out in the wider Grad Cafe community heard of any PhD English acceptances to McGill? I'm still waiting on my application decision and am fully going crazy. Ugh I just want this to be over!!!! Good luck to all. May we come out of this sane.
  15. Which departments in the humanities are the best and worst for landing academic jobs? I got my master's in English literature, but have been thinking about getting my PhD in history or sociology. Three professors (in English and History) strongly advised me to go into English, which apparently is one of the best (albeit still extremely competitive) for academic jobs. They also said History is one of the most difficult. How true is this? Is there any way to validate these claims?
  16. Hi, I'm in my second semester as a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature. I know some people might think that it's too early for me to start worrying about what to do to get hired, others might be thinking that it's never too early, others might be saying "you're a comparative lit. major, there are no jobs" lol, but please just stick with me a moment. I'm looking for advice on how I can become a more competitive applicant when applying for assistant professor jobs (and similar jobs) after I finish my Ph.D. I'm technically first-generation college student (my parents dropped out of college, and my much older sister went to college later through a continuing studies program and received a masters online. However, she doesn't work in academia) so I'm pretty lost here about how all of this works and what's attractive to universities. I'm trying to figure out what I can do to stand out. I've been told that I should go to conferences, so I applied to two and got accepted. Are conferences helpful or do you feel like it doesn't make much of a difference? Should I try publishing more? Researching (you know, outside of my future dissertation work)? If so, how do I start approaching professors or institutions, in general, to start doing that? After graduation, should I apply to a post-doc program? If so, do you know of any stand out ones that I should aim for or even what people look for when hiring post-docs or do you just feel like post-docs are unnecessary? My fellowship requires me to teach one semester gratis. Should I attempt at teaching more? Older students in my department have suggested getting a masters in another department (i.e. English, French, Anthropology, Theatre, etc.) to further diversify myself and make more valuable connections, but I'm not sure if tagging on another year or two to finish another degree for the sake of networking is that beneficial especially when comparative literature programs require you to take courses outside of your department anyway. Should I start building more experiences outside of academia (In undergrad, I was an EIC of a publication for a year, I've also worked in publishing, tutoring, mentoring, and led a social justice/community service non-profit organization for a year, and I minored and worked in social media for a bit-- should I keep doing more things like that in grad school or is it time to refocus and just build on one or two things?) If I sound really young, lost, and a little overwhelmed, it's because I am. I graduated from a private university with a degree in English (writing) in three years and was accepted straight-way into this Ph.D. program when I was 20 going on 21 years old. My program requires 48-course credits, after this semester (I entered in Fall 2017 right now I'm in Spring 2018 semester) I would have 24 credits so I'm approaching that halfway mark with my coursework (I probably need to slow down a bit, but I can't hold a job on this fellowship minus departmental related research/internships relevant to my career so I don't have anything really going on at the moment). I'm required to take a minimum 9 credits Fall/Spring each and a minimum 6 credits in the summer so I'll be at 30 credits when the Fall 2018 semester commences. I'm not at a prestigious ivy league school; I'm in a very small program at a pretty large public university. I don't feel like me being young with a good fellowship is enough to really stand out. So if anyone knows about ways I can further build my CV and experiences to become a better applicant for future jobs, that info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
  17. A couple people I know were asked to interview for the UChicago English PhD program, and I wasn't emailed/invited to one. UChicago is one of my top schools and I'm wondering if this means that I've been unofficially rejected. Anybody else have experience with this? Does it come out in rounds or does that lack of an interview mean I'm no longer in consideration?
  18. I applied to Cambridge University's MPhil program for Modern and Contemporary Literature. I have been unable to find information online regarding the MPhil interview process, though I am fairly certain that one does occur. Does anyone have any knowledge regarding this application process? Is there an interview, and if so, at what point (roughly) does the university reach out to request one?
  19. Hi, all Since we've started the application process (I know some have already applied and many of us are likely preparing this week to begin), we are all (I assume) done with any and all WS/SOP major revisions and are focused now on polishing (that is, at least, where I am in this whole thing.) While I sometimes feel like my tweaking is good, I also have a sense that it is not really necessary - while my SOP and WS could, of course, be "better" and definitely different, they are what they are at this point and I'm largely proud of them, regardless of outcome. So, how do you all determine when "good enough is good enough"?
  20. Hello very helpful people! Hope you all are doing well. I've begun submitting my apps—about half way through and have done my top choice because it was due December 1. But on Saturday I found out I've been accepted into a conference for February— a whole other story is how I'm going to prepare for that... My question is: should I reach out to the schools I've submitted my applications to already? I'm going to update my resume and unsubmitted apps to reflect this upcoming conference.
  21. Bennenador

    Listing Freelance Work on Resume

    I'm applying for MA programs in composition and rhetoric. My academic and professional background reflects education and editing. (I currently work in technical writing. During undergrad, I student taught high school English and tutored in my university's writing center. I also spent a year copyediting the university newspaper.) I graduated with my BA in English in January 2016. Shortly thereafter, I landed my current job. In May of 2016, a history professor at my university contacted me and asked me to edit her book manuscript. She had asked one of my former English professors if he knew any good student editors, and he recommended me. Over the next three months or so, I edited a sizable chunk of this manuscript (three chapters and the introduction: about 240 pages in all). I deep-conditioned this manuscript at every level, from reordering paragraphs to fixing punctuation errors. I left comments in the documents explaining many of the changes I made and offering advice. During this process, the professor and I corresponded regularly via email. (I didn't meet her until the manuscript was finished, when we were both craving a few celebratory drinks.) Though I'm sure it goes without saying, she paid me for all this. This summer, she informed me the book had been accepted for publication by Cambridge University Press. It will be released in March of 2018, and I'm in the acknowledgements. My two questions are these: Is this experience worth listing on my graduate admissions résumé? If so, what's a good way to go about writing the entry for it? I've been Googling how to list freelance work on résumés, but none of the suggestions I got seemed transferable to a graduate school résumé. I can certainly come up with a list of bullet points for what the work entailed; that's not a problem. I guess I'm wondering what the heading would look like and where on the resume I would put this experience. Is it "work experience," or would it go better under a "related experience" header? Or even "publications"? It seems to blur the line between work and academics. This is what I've got so far. I tried to keep the formatting consistent with the rest of the document: Freelance editing May 2016 - July 2016 Doe, Jane. The Noble History of Socks. Cambridge University Press, forthcoming March 2018. Proofread and copyedited manuscript intended for publication Made global and sentence-level revisions Conferred with author regarding needs, concerns, and goals for manuscript Provided author with targeted feedback What do you think? Is any information missing? Does it look okay? Any suggestions for revision?
  22. Hi, I double majored in Dance and English at UCLA. I am wanting to use my dance theory background in literature. I am particularly interested in how site-specific dance work can be used a lens for characters in literature who propel the narrative with their physicality and inhuman capabilities. Especially plot impact when characters are held in some kind of captivity. For example: Puck and Ariel in Shakespeare and Catherine and Bertha from the Bronté sisters. I realize I'm doing some major genre-hopping so I also wonder about programs that would be more open to that. I'm also particularly interested in MA programs in the UK, but would be open to anywhere that would be a great fit. Thanks!
  23. a_sort_of_fractious_angel

    Sending Multiple GRE Scores?

    Can we send multiple GRE scores to English PhD programs? I can't find anything for or against it on department pages and I'm happy to email programs to ask, but I wanted to check here in case the group knows (and I've just been in the dark).
  24. I'm studying for the Literature Specific GRE exam. Does anyone have any helpful study guides they might be willing to share with me? I tried looking for a class specific to this subject, but no college in my area was hosting a course and the searching online did not bear much fruit.
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