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Found 48 results

  1. Hey there! So, I'm starting to prepare for the emotional turmoil that is applying to PhD programs and would love some general advice or tips from application veterans. A little about my academic background: I received my BA from the American University in Cairo in English and Comparative Literature and in Sociology. I then immediately entered an MFA program at Columbia in Creative Writing and graduated this past spring. I can speak, read, and write fluently in three languages--Arabic, English, and Italian--and have some basic educational background in French. I hope to be able to focus my research on North African literature (specifically modern or contemporary North African). Things that freak me out about applying to PhD programs: 1) GRE scores: I'm notoriously bad at standardized tests and the scores tend not to reflect my abilities. I took the GRE when applying to MA/MFA and got a pretty weak score and ended up only applying to programs that did not require GRE so as not to hurt my chances. I've gotten some responses from another post that I should aim to be in the 90th percentile for funding purposes. Is this people's experience typically? 2) Should I be contacting professor's from the departments that I hope to apply to? If so, what is the etiquette of going about that? Is it something that would actually be beneficial or is it a waste of both our time? 3) Statement of purpose: Do you include theory in your statement? Or should I leave all my mad theory skills for my writing sample? How hard should I sell my multilingual abilities? 4) Does it hurt that I haven't had essays or papers published? Should I be aiming to get stuff out there before submitting applications? 5) I have no teaching experience. Again, is that something that will hurt my application? Sorry for all the seemingly obvious and neurotic questions but this seems like the right place to unload.
  2. Ok so, I'm starting to very seriously consider applying to PhD programs in comparative literature. However, I'm terrified of the whole application process. I just finished an MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia and remember how intense and nerve-wracking that whole application process was. One of my most irrational fears is of the GRE. I took the GRE a few years ago and my scores were not all that. So, what score should I be aiming to get? Also, what--in your opinion--are the most important things that I should focus on in the app. Should I email professors at the schools I'll be applying to? If so, what's the etiquette of those emails? Basically, I just need to know what I'm doing because I'm very confused and irrationally nervous to even start the process.
  3. MA or another BA?

    Hi guys, I am in the middle of a crisis. I just finished my degree in journalism in London, but actually I want to study literature: I got a place for a master's degree in comparative literature at UCL, so a very good uni, but I am now thinking of refusing that and go to Lausanne and start another bachelor, in Italian, French and Spanish literature. Ultimately, I want to become a lecturer at university level. So my question is: can I still get into teaching (after a PhD), even if my bachelor is not in literature, or do I really need that qualification? Is it really worth changing? Thanks people, help in this situation is much appreciated. Peace!
  4. Hi friends, Just curious, but what is the teaching load required for funding at your school? Obv. this varies from package to package, and if you don't want to share which school you go do, that's super cool. Where I'm coming from: I was offered a package where I would teach my own class right of the bat this upcoming fall, and if I had testicles, they'd have climbed up between my lungs for comfort. Is this normal? Not my imaginary testicles thing, but conducting your own class first thing?
  5. Hello! I am currently in the process of sorting out what I would like to go to graduate school for. (I know, I know.) I would like to go back for some combination of literature, media, the environment, dystopia, and possibly internet subcultures but am not totally sure what cohesive form all of those would take (and, moreover, if all of them will make the final cut). One thing I *do* know is that I would like my ultimate focus to be on the written word. I was an English undergrad (and absolutely loved it!) but am wondering if my desire to stray beyond specific literature periods and into more digital materials means I should look into less formal programs.
  6. Hello folks. How did you pick your area of interest? What areas of interest are getting attention? Which areas are being neglected? I'm wondering what areas of interest exist in English literature studies. I know of some; for instance, I know most people choose to focus on an author, a period, or a location. For those, I am interested in American Southern literature, especially Southern modernist. However, I don't think I am particularly interested in focusing on the more popular contemporary topics of race, class, and gender. If I focus on something outside of those areas, am I less likely to be published or find tenure track positions? Furthermore, in addition to southern literature, I am also interested in studying contemporary literature in order to identify how modern art and culture are moving beyond the postmodern era and to work toward defining how we might view the new era. Are these areas of interest comparable? Not that I think postcolonial, race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. studies are unworthy of study, but I personally am not interested in making them the focus of my academic career. However, when I read faculty research interests, these seem to be ubiquitous. Is it possible to carve out a space for myself in lit studies without dealing exclusively with these issues?
  7. New Program in the Humanities

    Hello everyone, I would like to raise awareness to a new graduate program in the Humanities with the Global Center for Advanced Studies (GCAS). The program features courses with world-class faculty (including Alain Badiou and Jean-luc Nancy), opportunities to publish, and an ever-growing community of researchers. You can study full-time or part-time, either in person in the beautiful Maribor, Slovenia, from a distance using the online classroom, or a mixture of the two. In addition to the regular courses, there are short week-long intensive courses that are offered at various locations throughout the year. For example, a course on the Cuban revolution in Havana, or a course with Luce Irigaray in Paris. The Global Center for Advanced Studies offers both a MA (2 years) and a PhD (3 years) in partnership with Alma Mater Europaea. With the goal of GCAS as being able to provide debt-free education, the yearly tuition is 5,000 Euros, with scholarships available to bring tuition down to 3,500 Euros. Here is the link to the homepage of the school: The Global Center for Advanced Studies is also hosting a summer institute focusing on the theme "Practicing Intellectual Resistance" this summer (June 28th - July 7th) to which all are invited to come and experience GCAS.
  8. How do I make myself the most competitive English PhD candidate possible? I'm currently pursuing an MFA, but I'm considering getting my PhD in either Lit or Rhet/Comp in order to better my job prospects. Of course, all the writing I've been doing for the past two years has been creative, and I only have poetry publications to my name. I plan to take off a few years between the MFA and the (potential) PhD. What could I do in that time to improve my application? Publish scholarly papers? Audit a literature class?
  9. Reading List for 2017

    Since I will be out of school until the Fall of 2017, I decided to make my New Year's Resolution to read more frequently. I have always regretted not reading as much of the classics as I would like. I will be studying psychology, so I may want to avoid books on that subject, but I love anything educational and enhancing. If you have a list or recommendations for must-reads, please share them! I'm currently focusing on The Classics according to Good Reads.
  10. Has anyone received waitlist status or a rejection from UCSC's lit program? Any sort of speculation on why this program is taking such an excruciatingly long time to release rejections? I'm assuming since it has been this long that it doesn't mean good news, but my god, having students wait this long (to hear about a rejection) is painful. Why are they doing this !
  11. On Campus Interviews

    So this is half questions and half venting tbh. The literature program I applied to invites a short lists of candidates to campus and admits people based off the interviews (and I'm assuming casual interactions) from that visit. So despite it being rather late, they haven't sent out any invitations. Any advice on how to make a specific literary topic applicable to many professors? I talked about learning a minority language (that maybe two professors could help me with) in my statement of purpose, but I'm worried other professors will find it too niche. This is a comparative literature program btw. Do you think it should suggest doing another language as well as the minority language I discussed or would that look too flaky? I also just got an email from the school inviting me to a Diversity day recruitment. It honestly made me so anxious, though, because it led with a "congratulations on your acceptance," but I haven't been accepted. It got me so riled up, and now I'm nervous about my interviews. No responses needed on that really, I'm just upset that the generic email got my hopes up.
  12. Does anyone know if Penn or Temple are starting to notify of acceptances / rejections for their programs? I've seen smatterings of updates thus far, but nothing too substantial. Hope everyone is doing alright during the waiting process!
  13. Hi all, I have posted here before on other issues (thank you so much for all of your comments, by the way!) so some may remember me–I'm an undergrad junior in the middle of a leap from medicine to English literature. One of my chief concerns is my GPA... I'm majoring in the sciences, as it had been drilled into me by my parents–since middle school, if not earlier–that I must become a doctor. Now, however, I'm realizing all too late that medicine is not at all where my passions lie, and I would rather pursue a graduate degree in English lit. Here's the thing, though: I performed decently well in my first year, but in my second year of undergrad I got involved in a lot of extracurriculars, my science classes suddenly became much more challenging, and I suffered from my time management issues quite terribly (GPA was 2.62 in the first semester and 3.08 in the second). This was due entirely to my poor performance in courses like Calculus or Orgo or Neuroscience. Since that year, I've gotten over my time management failures and improved drastically (3.84 GPA last semester, looking to be similar this semester as well). I've spoken to some of my advisors but keep getting different input – some say since the low GPA is due to my science courses and thus won't be weighed as heavily by admission committees, others say it looks too bad nevertheless, and my chances at a top PhD program are slim. I had some hope in the beginning, for I have always done well in my English courses and rationalized the low GPA as, to some degree, irrelevant to these subjects... and I planned to also pursue an MA first, to give me more experience (since I wasn't an English major) and dilute my poor undergrad performance with my grad experience... but now after following several threads here and seeing the admission statistics, I'm losing hope completely... Students are applying with GPAs in the 3.90s and being rejected... I guess I'm just looking for some input. Would the MA really not be enough to give me a little push upward? To help counter that one awful year of undergrad? Should I just give up hope for any shot at one of the top PhD programs? I can't even express how much I regret that one year... I know this sounds incredibly melodramatic, but it truly feels like it's beginning to ruin my life (apologies for the extra long post)
  14. Hello, all, Forgive me for the likely numerous crimes against etiquette I'm committing—I'm new here!—but I thought you folks seemed awfully keen and was hopeful you may lend me some advice. I've been trying to decide on a PhD program which may be the right fit for me. But it's hard deciding. I've been given advice that the toppiest of top programs is where it's at and anything else is an utter waste of time; I've also been told to find my "fit." Because my degree was in the humanities, because I have little time to prepare for the GRE(s), and because I don't have a strong second language, I feel I am going to have trouble getting accepted in any of the top universities. What I do have is an MFA, a few publications (poetry), in-field job experience (bookstores and editing), and a whole lotta ambition. I want to get the absolute most out of a PhD program and continue towards becoming one of those uber-generalists like Joseph Campbell or Ezra Pound who didn't do things traditionally but had some success and learned oodles and oodles on the way. And I want to go through a PhD program with the mindset of learning as much as I can and improving my writing craft, publishing connections, and knowledge. So, I'm at your mercy: how do I decide where will be the "right fit" for me? And as I describe my aims, do any universities you know of leap to mind? Should I focus on Literature or should I focus entirely on a creative writing PhD? Is it alright to choose a college which may not be so highly ranked, but would offer the student chances to diversify their study widely and pursue their own vision?—and if so, which colleges are these? I have found it difficult to tell on my jaunts through website after website. Thank you for any and all help with my endless questions. I really appreciate it.
  15. Hi, everyone. I know its a little late in the game, but I am still struggling to figure out if my research interests are too narrow for a PhD program. I would really like to do something that combines literature and psychoanalysis; maybe an in-depth textual exploration of specific psychoanalytic concepts across different literary periods. My MA dissertation focuses on a similar thing, but in the realm of poetry, and at a much smaller scale. Looking at the faculty of different universities, I believe that SUNY, Duke, UC Davis and a few others will be the best fit for me. However, I read somewhere that admission committees prefer candidates with more traditional research interests. Is this true? If not, does anyone have any suggestions regarding mid-tier PhD programs with a focus on psychoanalysis? I could really use some help, especially since I am international student (from India).
  16. Hello there! I'm currently an undergrad (graduating in 2018) with the ultimate goal of pursuing a PhD in English lit (specifically my interests are Romantic & Victorian studies). Unfortunately, it so happens that I am not majoring in anything related to English, so I am looking to complete a master's degree first. I have some interest in studying in the UK, but I wonder if there is any significant difference between US & UK master's degrees in the field that could potentially harm my chances at later pursuing a PhD in the US? Ideally, I'd love to be able to get into one of the better programs, so to speak, though I know how insanely difficult that is. I am currently at a top 10 school for undergraduate, if that has any bearing, and specifically would like to pursue my master's at University of Edinburgh (I'm really interested in their Romantic & Victorian program). So I guess my questions are: does the name of the graduate institution matter a great deal in PhD applications? Would a UK degree put me at any disadvantage? Thanks in advance for your responses!
  17. Hello there! I'm currently a second-semester junior majoring in neuroscience, minoring in English. It's a tale as old as time: a student pushed toward one field by her family, realizing all-too-late that she has more interest in another. Long story short, I'm beginning to consider pursuing a graduate degree in English lit, but am growing more and more worried about whether it would really be possible to accomplish that, given that my undergraduate degree will be in an unrelated subject. I'm not sure how much the minor in English will really matter, but I suspect it won't be significant. I'm considering pursuing an MA in English before even attempting to apply for PhD, as that will give me much more experience and allow me to more fully expand the skills I already have, improving my chances for the PhD. My question is, though, most (if not all) PhD application deadlines here in the US close in the winter, and I will have only begun my MA by then. If I apply at that point, how will my undergrad transcript be weighed against the fact that I'm in the middle of my MA? Will I have any grades ready by then to show for my grad work? Would it be best to wait, finish the MA, and apply then? Additionally, my undergrad GPA suffered significantly during my sophomore year (particularly the fall semester), largely due to a heavy load of difficult science classes & my time management failures (it was quite bad; there was an F, a D, and a C). I really can't say I have any decent excuse; I was very young and very foolish, and it was entirely my fault. I've improved drastically since then, but I can't help but kick myself over those mistakes and how they will probably come back to bite me in my grad apps. How much do you think these one-time poor science grades affect my prospects? My English/lit grades have always been quite high... I apologize for the length of this post! Hopefully someone can answer some of these questions... Any additional advice is very much welcome
  18. I know that most comp lit PhD programs require around four languages, but I have a feeling that they also expect us to have a very solid background in every one of its literature. If I have more languages than expected when applying, will they consider me as not specialized enough? (Although I have undergraduate majors in 2 of the languages) Will it an advantage or a disadvantage? Will they think that I spread myself too thin, especially because it is impossible to write a dissertation that includes all of the languages and its literature?
  19. I'm having a tough time deciding between two directions for my PhD - English Literature or Film and Media. I have a Master's degree in English Literature and a Bachelor's degree in English with minors in Theatre and Film as well as Linguistics. I've always been drawn to interdisciplinary theories, such as structuralism, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, critical theory (the Frankfurt School), feminist theory, queer theory, postcolonialism, and deconstruction. My literary interests have been almost exclusively contemporary and postmodern, and I don't particularly value literature as a medium above popular culture (e.g. television shows), film, media (e.g. advertisements), etc. My master's thesis analyzed literature in conjunction with film and advertisements and my primary theoretical focus derived from film and media studies. However, I lack the background in the technological aspects of media and film (I don't know coding and I've never made my own movie or other digital project). I've been debating for a while about whether to switch from English Literature to a Film and Media direction, but I'm also concerned about the job opportunities available to Film/Media PhDs vs. English Literature PhDs. I've ruled out the possibility of going into Gender and Sexuality, Cultural Studies, or Critical Theory programs because of my concern that they are too specific for the post-PhD job hunt. However, from what I've noticed, many universities are strongly embracing the digital humanities and seem to be going in the direction of Media/Film studies. I also feel that Media and Film would offer me the opportunities to learn practical technological skills rather than only the theoretical foundation that PhDs typically offer. Just wanted to check out other peoples' opinions on this matter. Thanks in advance for the help! Clearly I'm not the most decisive person out there haha.
  20. I am writing the GRE specific to the English Literature subject at McMaster University in less than two weeks and I still have not been informed about which room it is written in. The test is at 8:30 am and I am coming all the way from Toronto, so it is important for me to know the room ahead of time. Does anybody know where it is usually written or does the room change constantly? If so, how soon would I be expected to find out the room? Thanks in advance!
  21. Hey everyone, does anyone know how funding for Ph.d works in Canada and Austraila (or other English speaking countries)? Is it like in US (Masters & doctoral funding is integrated) or like UK (you have to do masters first in order to apply to phd courses)? I'm an international student with a UK degree.
  22. I am attending a masters program beginning in fall, but want to be clear about my objectives after the program. I received my BA in literature studies with a 3.4 GPA. I want to teach high school or English at the college level, and am afraid that after being in a high school teaching job for 10 years I will get awfully depressed that I didn't follow my dreams (PhD route). But I am not sure. I have read a lot of information on the advantages and disadvantages of both careers, and feel I am up to the challenge of both intense research and no pay while a PhD student, but also up to the hard challenge of engaging/dealing with high schoolers. If I am intending on going for the PhD, I can make certain choices during my MA to make this an easier transition. But PhD English acceptance rates (2%-5%) intimidate me. Say I have a very strong application... great writing sample, 4.0, great GRE scores, involvement in academic lit community, gave lectures at conferences, etc., what are the chances of a school like Northwestern accepting a MA grad that got a degree in Secondary Ed? I've also considered doing a PhD in Curriculum Studies, but my heart is in English/lit theory. Please don't judge my odds of being accepted by my half-assed writing here! Any insight or opinion on this will help me a lot. Above all, I want to share my love for literature in a classroom! So I look forward to being a student and teacher, no matter the cost! (Well, cost does matter. But you get what I mean.) Thanks
  23. I'm currently a junior in college and considering my options after graduation. I'd be interested in pursuing a Phd in the humanities (ideally, in comp lit, continental philosophy or religion). Ideally, I'd like to apply to a program that is in a major English-speaking city (New York, Boston, LA, Chicago, London, Toronto, Sydney, etc) and is somewhat interdisciplinary. How can I start to figure out which schools offer funded PhDs in these areas, admissions rates, which field are more/ less competitive, etc. Any guidance to help orient myself would be very much appreciated!
  24. Hi, all, I am finishing my MFA in Creative Writing this year and would like to start a Ph.D program in English in Fall 2017. Here's a little background info: I graduated with a 3.9 GPA in History from Florida State with a minor in English in 2009. As an undergraduate, I wrote an honors thesis in my field. After working a few years as an English tutor online, I decided to pursue an MFA at Eastern Oregon University, where I'm specializing in creative nonfiction. My ultimate goal is to write and teach. However, though an MFA is considered a terminal degree, I feel it is necessary for me to have a more established background in literary theory and literature. So, I'm thinking about applying to Ph.D programs. In particular, I am interested in CUNY, Colorado, and Oregon, but feel free to suggest others! I've been through the wringer--I've taken the GRE twice (and will take it again), written many SOPs, and submitted writing samples--but not so much the academic kind in the last few years. I don't want to submit a part of my undergraduate thesis. I know my thesis director/mentor will eagerly help me with the writing sample, and I have professors for LOR. What are some good examples of critical theory essays (in general, not necessary application ones)? Also, because I'll have my MFA and not an MA, I am anticipating having to get my MA and Ph.D. Am I correct in this assumption? Any help is appreciated! Also, it would help to know what others have experienced as well. Thank you very much! -Amy
  25. Spanish Literature Phd - 2016

    Hello everybody! Has anyone started to hear back from their applications yet? I applied to 17 programs and have only heard back from five thus far.