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Found 49 results

  1. Hi Guys, I'm going to apply in an European MA program in Continental Philosophy. Someone can show me some examples of WS and PS (SoP) related to this area? Thanks for the replies, Stefano
  2. 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"?
  3. Writing Sample Q

    Hi! So some of the programs I'm applying to are asking for a writing sample. I'm pretty bad at writing, so the two options I have are an article submission (accepted, not yet published) and my honors thesis proposal. I would rather share the article but I'm the second author on it. Can I still submit it as a writing sample and just point out which parts are mine?
  4. Cutting out the literature review?

    Hi everyone! I'm new to this forum. I'm currently in the process of applying for PhD programs in political science. I'm in my senior year. My senior honors thesis will not be complete by the time I have graduate applications due. Howeer, I do have a paper that was published in an undergraduate politics journal that is pretty good. I have polished it up, and I think it will communicate my ability to write well and carry out research in the field. However, it's about 5-7 pages too long for most programs. So, I'm thinking I will have to cut it down. I was thinking of taking out the literature review section (4 pages), in addition to overall cutting. My thinking is that such a section's function is to provide context for the research. I imagine most graduate committee members will be just fine reading the paper without the literature review. Any thoughts on this? Advice? Thank you for the help!
  5. Word/page count guidelines - SOP, Writing Sample

    Hello, I have a question regarding word and page count guidelines. Some Statement of Purpose guidelines say to keep it under 500 words, but people on this forum have indicated that it is not necessary to strictly adhere to these restrictions. Some program websites have also gone out of their way to say it is not a strict cutoff, while others don't specify. The same applies for word/page counts on writing samples. If this is the case, what would you say the limit is? For example, for a 500 limit, is 600 too far over the threshold? 700? 800? I typically follow the rules provided, so I automatically don't feel extremely comfortable submitting anything over 500 in this case. My current letter as stands is ~700 words and I am not eager to cut any of it down any further, but I am also hesitant to submit something ~40% larger than requested. Thanks!
  6. Successful Writing Samples

    I've been researching/gathering data from this forum and elsewhere on what exactly makes for a successful writing sample, since most agree that if there is a single most important part of the application, it is the writing sample. I'd like to give my thoughts and see what others think, especially from people who have been through the process, and especially especially from those who have had success. They are in no particular order and are far from exhaustive. First observation, it seems to me many of the "successful samples" interact in some way with a unique, modern philosophical issue. Many of the less successful examples do not have this quality. That isn't to say that one can't write on Hume or Aristotle and be successful (quite the contrary), but it seems that those who do also relate their work to something with contemporary relevance. Secondly, successful samples are by and large decidedly analytic. Many unsuccessful samples are musing, setting up vague (but maybe still plausible) premises and meandering their way through different possibilities to a conclusion. None of it is exactly clearly the case. That is to say, its hard to make any pronouncements one way or another about the validity of the arguments within, since they are perhaps plausibly true but not clearly true. Sorry continental friends, but to be fair, I am not continental myself and am not looking at many samples from schools with continental specialties. Though I don't think this is simply related to the analytic-continental distinction; many papers, even from the "analytic tradition," suffer from vague ruminations about esoteric topics. Thirdly, and related to the last point, successful samples are by and large negative. That is to say, they argue against rather than for. I think this is simply due to how much easier it is to prove something is false than prove it is true. Lastly, and this is definitely subjective, but successful samples are interesting. And by interesting, I do not mean novel, unorthodox, or about popular topics. I mean they grip the reader by making them invested in the arguments success, which presupposes that the reader thinks the argument even can be successful (or that there is an argument at all, don't take this for granted). So I suppose my main take away is that common denominators of successful papers are that they clearly set out realistic goals, are hyper focused, and make arguments that can easily be shown to be objectively (not empirically, obviously) true or false given their validity. If true, it seems helpful, because it gives us good advice that, without the preceding background information, is not immediately obvious. For example, it seems one would be more likely to succeed with a paper (and don't read too much into these examples, I certainly haven't put enough thought into them to be worth it) critiquing reductionism with Kripke than a paper trying to synthesize Aristotle's and Leibniz's ideas about a First Cause. The main exception to this would be departmental fit/specialty, but I'm simply trying to be as general as possible. Thoughts?
  7. Hey, I've seen some threads on bibliographies and writing samples. Most of my schools do not specify the inclusion of a bilblio. Literally one mentions it in the form of "20-25 double-spaced pages, including any bibliography or notes." My question is, for shorter writing samples what's the deal?? I have a school with a 12-15 page limit and my biblio is 5 pages. With the 20 page samples, I feel okay doing my full biblio, but not with this one. Any suggestions/similar concerns?
  8. Hello everyone ! I am an international student, applying to PhD program in Biological and biomedical sciences in USA. I would like to ask about " Writing samples", what are they? I have a master degree thesis, is it suitable to post? Should I post" the introduction, aim of the work, materials and methods, results and discussion" parts? Should i include references or not? Also, can anyone provide me with "samples" of relevant "writing samples" ? Thanks a lot
  9. Hi everyone, For some of the programs I'm applying to, a "diversity statement" or "personal statement" is required in addition to the standard Statement of Purpose. However, for schools that only ask for the Statement of Purpose, there is a field where I can attach additional documents. Would it be wise to provide a diversity statement to a school that isn't asking for it? Similarly, if a school is not asking for a writing sample, what are your opinions on providing one in the space to upload supplemental files? Basically, long question short is: to what extent should you/should you not upload supplemental files not specifically requested? Could it ever hurt to provide more? Thanks!
  10. Advice on Editing MA Report

    So 1 of my programs asks for the entire MA thesis while another asks for the abstract and one or more chapters. I was planning to use my dissertation as the basis of all my writing samples, but two of the samples require much shorter lengths. One requires 15-20 pages and the other "no more than 30." My MA report is 154 pages (including references and appendices; probably ~100 pages of actual report content) at 1.5x spacing. Any ideas on how to reduce it down? Should I include a link to the full report as part of my submission? The report sections are: Abstract Introduction Contextual Information Research Design and Methodology Findings and Insights (longest section at 34 pages) Deliverable Design and Presentation Reflections
  11. So - a few questions regarding the writing sample: should I include an abstract? Currently I am using APA style, with end notes -- keep?
  12. Font Size on WS Opinions

    The standard at my college was size 12 font for any paper, unless otherwise specified. None of my applications specify font size, though it is obvious they want a reasonable size. I was wondering if it would be unreasonable to change the font size to 11? My WS is about 20 pages over the average limit, and changing the font size gets me to about 10 pages over the average limit. Edit: Using Times New Roman.
  13. I’m currently applying to Ph.D. programs and I’m seeking advice regarding writing samples. For context: About half of the programs to which I’ll be applying are Philosophy Ph.D. programs and the remainder of which are either English Ph.D. programs or some combination of the two (e.g., Ph.D. in Cultural Studies at Ohio State Uni). My background is a Bachelor’s in English Literature with a minor in Philosophy and a Master’s degree in Critical and Cultural Theory. My question is: for literature program applications, if my Master’s work focused predominantly on media studies and involved virtually no material from a specific literary epoch or period but rather focused on philosophical and theoretical works, would it be better to submit as my writing sample an undergraduate essay focused primarily on literature (to display my abilities in this field), a Master's level essay that hints toward the literary application but does not engage in close readings, or a Master's level work that better represents my intended areas of study at the Ph.D. level but does not emphasize my abilities in traditional literary study? (Another issue is that my best literary works composed during my undergraduate career were independent research projects or for graduate courses and are much longer than max. writing sample lengths and may perhaps be the most difficult to reduce to any succinct excerpt.) I’m struggling to decide if my best Master’s essay on Critical Theory, which is also my starting point for my intended Ph.D. dissertation topic, would be overlooked by English programs due to the lack of traditional literary engagement even though the English programs to which I am applying are fairly open-minded regarding the definition of “literature.” Thank you in advance for any advice you can provide!
  14. I'm slogging through my W.S. rewrite and have realized that my usual tricks aren't getting me where I'd like to go - so, instead of moping around, I figured I'd shoot a message out to you all. Are there any useful techniques you use when re-approaching work? Any weird habits that work really well? I'm struggling with revising without starting something new - I've had the wonderful (but also horrible) experience of discovering work written on the stuff I'm working on that was written AFTER I'd produced this paper. As such, I'd like to reorient and incorporate this scholarship, but I also don't want to end up writing an entirely new paper in response to it. I'm also focusing too much on details; instead of moving forward with larger revisions (like paragraph argument-flow & sentence-level corrections ), I'm trapped by single words. It's probably procrastination manifesting as a dogged pursuit of a synonym for the word "aim," but it's been 3 days and I gotta move past the "ew, ugh, why did I write tHiS, I canNOT lEt tHiS mONstRosity ExIsT?!" feeling and just get on with it. Me and my stitched-together monster of a paper would appreciate any and all tricks y'all have. and thanks in advance!
  15. Hello all! I'm new here, so apologies if there are already too many discussions on this topic. It appears I've fallen down the rabbit hole and have read (dozens?) of everyone's posts and replies, but I still have questions. Everyone seems very friendly and helpful, so thanks in advance for that! To be honest, I'm freaking out a bit about applying for English PhD programs for Fall 2018... I've wanted to apply to these programs for some time now, but finally got the courage to do something about it after being out of college for two years. It's not being in the actual programs or even job prospects that worries me but getting in as I'm sure it worries everyone else... I will also apply to a few Masters programs as "backup." So for those who have been accepted into such programs or anyone with knowledge on the subject, what do you feel was/is the greatest factor in acceptance? GRE? Writing sample? Combination of both? I'm basically treating my studies for the GRE as a full-time job right now so I can ace it and will worry more about the writing sample closer to application season. I know most programs say they look at your application holistically (and especially the SOP and WS), but I'm just looking for some honest feedback from people who have actually experienced this. It appears even though schools may say the GRE is never the sole factor that it is an extremely important one since the average scores are pretty high. Thoughts? Thank you all in advance! I look forward to becoming active on here.
  16. Hi, all – I apologize in advance if any of my questions are glaringly obvious, but I require gradcafe wisdom on submitting a multimedia essay to PhD programs in English literature and similar disciplines like cultural/media studies. As a point of reference, my essay examines the ideological edifice of two Steve Bannon documentaries, Torchbearer and Generation Zero, and draws on the theoretical framework of S. Žižek's The Sublime Object of Ideology. Such analysis requires that I embed clips from either film as textual evidence, and the platform I decided upon was WordPress, buying my own domain to give a little autonomy to the project. To start, how do different PhD programs deal with this type of submission? I'm sure disciplines like media studies have pretty clear-cut protocol for what I'm describing, but I'm not sure how English literature programs might differ, if at all, but they're my main point of interest here, so it'd help to receive as much knowledge as I can on the subject. Further, might there be an advantage to briefly describing relevant scenes in my essay, as Žižek so often does, in lieu of embedded clips? On the one hand, this move would streamline the complication by maintaining a purely textual essay; on the other hand, I can't possibly imagine paraphrasing a literary text, e.g. Ulysses, for an entire paper without losing rhetorical effect on some demonstrative level. (Good grief, I never thought I would ever align Joyce and Bannon in a metaphorical capacity – I think I may need an ice-cold shower, or perhaps a holy water blessing from Dr. Buck Mulligan himself.) If you're so inclined, I also have a few less-pressing questions: 1) Preferentially, is WordPress the best platform for a multimedia essay such as mine? 2) How does one formalize your page-count with embedded videos, or does this ultimately not matter as much as word-count when submitting to programs? 3) Submitted multimedia essays should preclude peripheral or paratextual content, like expository "About" tabs, right? Thanks everyone!
  17. Hi, all – I apologize in advance if any of my questions are glaringly obvious, but I require gradcafe wisdom on submitting a multimedia essay to PhD programs in English literature and similar disciplines like cultural/media studies. As a point of reference, my essay examines the ideological edifice of two Steve Bannon documentaries, Torchbearer and Generation Zero, and draws on the theoretical framework of S. Žižek's The Sublime Object of Ideology. Such analysis requires that I embed clips from either film as textual evidence, and the platform I decided upon was WordPress, buying my own domain to give a little autonomy to the project. To start, how do different PhD programs deal with this type of submission? I'm sure disciplines like media studies have pretty clear-cut protocol for what I'm describing, but I'm not sure how English literature programs might differ, if at all, but they're my main point of interest here, so it'd help to receive as much knowledge as I can on the subject. Further, might there be an advantage to briefly describing relevant scenes in my essay, as Žižek so often does, in lieu of embedded clips? On the one hand, this move would streamline the complication by maintaining a purely textual essay; on the other hand, I can't possibly imagine paraphrasing a literary text, e.g. Ulysses, for an entire paper without losing rhetorical effect on some demonstrative level. (Good grief, I never thought I would ever align Joyce and Bannon in a metaphorical capacity – I think I may need an ice-cold shower, or perhaps a holy water blessing from Dr. Buck Mulligan himself.) If you're so inclined, I also have a few less-pressing questions: 1) Preferentially, is WordPress the best platform for a multimedia essay such as mine? 2) How does one formalize your page-count with embedded videos, or does this ultimately not matter as much as word-count when submitting to programs? 3) Submitted multimedia essays should preclude peripheral or paratextual content, like expository "About" tabs, right? Thanks everyone!
  18. Hi all! Just registered here, so I"ll introduce myself. My name is Molly and I'm hoping to apply for general linguistics PhD programs this coming fall, 2017. I graduated from Williams in 2014 and did a sort of "create-your-own" major within the liberal arts curriculum. Williams lost its linguistics department right before I matriculated, so I ended up combining classes in cogsci, computer science, English lit, philosophy, German and Arabic to approximate a linguistics major. It was somewhat of a survey of theories of language across disciplines. I was able to take one introductory ling class at Williams (and actually became the TA for it) and then took a few masters-level ling classes when I studied abroad in Dublin. My GPA hovers around a 3.5, but is higher in junior/senior year and within my major. Now I'm hoping to study theoretical/generative linguistics, syntax, psycholinguistics and rhetoric. I've been aware for a while that I'll probably have to be ready to defend my readiness for a PhD given this self-designed major. This I plan to accomplish by preparing a killer statement of purpose and writing sample. My main concern is the writing sample. Coming from a liberal arts background, especially with no linguistics department, I had very little opportunity to do any serious research. My best papers from undergrad are theoretical explorations from English/philosophy, and don't have solid research underpinnings. I have a few linguistics papers from my time abroad, but they're nowhere near the quality of my papers done at my home school. I feel overwhelmed at the prospect of attempting a linguistics research paper on my own. Given my background, do you think it will be important for me to demonstrate my ability to do research by writing a new paper, or do you think it would be OK to rework a more theoretical paper I did in undergrad? Thanks so much!
  19. Submitting extract as a writing sample

    The program I'm applying to requires a writing sample of no more than 2000 words. However, the graduate website says that longer pieces are acceptable as long as a section of 2000 words is clearly highlighted. I'd like to go with the latter option - I have a 7000-word paper that I consider to be my strongest work.But I'm wondering what is the acceptable way to set apart an extract of the required length. Should it be in bold, or should I use a different font? Or would it be better simply to submit an extract with a cover note, rather than submit a longer work in its entirety? I'd be grateful for any advice!
  20. Writing sample format

    Might be obvious questions but I'm applying to PhD programs for political science and was wondering if the writings samples should be single or double spaced, or 1.5? Thanks in advance!
  21. Writing Sample Template

    Does anyone have a writing sample that they can share on the forum? Or a template that has worked well for you? Thanks! I'm applying for admission into an MA program in Religion Studies, Sept 2017. The application deadline is the 15th and the current sample I have isn't very "academic", so if you have an academic one you can share, I'd appreciate it so much!!! Thank you! Ps. I've been out of school for a few years and working full-time in startups. Going back to school now and am a little rusty with the academic style of writing.
  22. Writing Samples

    Hi Grad Cafe! I was hoping some of you could point me in the direction of writing samples that have been submitted with philosophy grad school applications. I'm curious about the quality of successful writing samples. I know what published work looks like, but I have no idea what high quality undergraduate work looks like.
  23. Alright guys, I'm just finishing up my application for a PhD program (at 5 am on December 1st, because I'm the worst), and I'm having a problem. So, three days ago I was on the application site and I saw that they want a writing sample that's 20-25 pages. I was kind of blindsided by this, because I had compiled a list of the programs I was applying to and all of their deadlines and application specifics. Well for this program, I had 15-20 pages down. My writing sample was only about 13 and a half pages, and I knew I'd have to buff it up. I was just planning on adding in a conclusion and fluffing out a few paragraphs. Suddenly, I had to 'fluff' 6 new pages. I wasn't able to do it. So, I am going to submit it with just the 15 (14 and a half). Do you think this is an automatic rejection? Should I email them and explain? (I think that's a bad idea, but if it helps, I'd consider it) Hope your applications are going well and you didn't screw up like I did.
  24. Hi all, I'm applying for Communication PhD programs and am well within the page limits for my writing sample. Should I add an abstract or cover page? I haven't seen other people do this, and wasn't planning on it because I thought I'd have a hard time staying within the limit. Thanks!
  25. One of the universities that I'm applying to says that the writing sample should be 15-20 pages but no longer than 5000 words. This makes no sense because 5000 words is approximately 15 pages and most of my MA papers are still between 15-20 pages but longer than 5000 words. Should I strictly adhere to the 5000 word requirement or allow myself to submit a longer paper as long as it is within the 15-20 page limit? I emailed the department asking for a clarification about this and received no reply so I'm looking to my fellow gradcafe people for advice. That same university says that BOTH MA students and PhD students should submit a 500 word Statement of Purpose, which once again makes no sense for a PhD when every other university asks for a 1000 word one. Finally, I had another question about length requirements for the writing sample: If the writing sample is supposed to be no more than 20 pages, does this include the Works Cited? Can I still submit a paper than is 20 pages in length but has a 2 page Works Cited (making the document 22 pages in total)? Thanks in advance for the help!