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KU Leuven


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Hi all,

Anyone have thoughts or experience with KU Leuven? My main options, as of now, are between them and GSU. Leuven is a better fit for my current interests (20th century French phil), and I should have enough savings to fund myself there for at least a year (though likely not 2). GSU, by contrast, has more funding (though not much more) and is a 2 year program. And living expenses should be roughly similar—possibly cheaper in Leuven than Atlanta. Both programs seem like good options. 

I'm aware that if I went to Leuven I would likely need to take a gap year before reapplying to phds, but I don't currently have a huge problem with that. 

Edited by lyellgeo
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Here's what I know about Leuven:

1. It's a one-year MA, with the limitations that go along with that. It sounds like you're aware that you'll have to wait a year to apply out, since otherwise you'd be asking for letters, etc, as soon as you started the program. Here's the thing, though--it's harder to apply when you're not in the same town as your previous institution. It's easier to talk to faculty about letters and get input on your writing sample while you're studying. It's harder after you move away. It's not impossible, of course, but just a further complication to consider.

2. Leuven's MA is a large program. I've heard second-hand that there are something like 100-200 master's students. I'd definitely find out from them exactly how many students they have. You don't want to be competing for faculty time/attention with that many people. I've also heard (this is second-hand as well, so take it for what it's worth) that most of the master's students aren't necessarily aiming for the PhD. At GSU, most students, like you, are aiming for the PhD

3. It's not funded. I know tuition is cheap, but you still have to pay for living expenses (you'll need to prove upwards of $15000 USD in the bank to qualify for a student visa, IIRC). GSU funds you, so I'd recommend it for that reason, if for no other. Also, many universities overseas have agreements with the US Dept of Education that allows you to take out US federal student loans. KU Leuven is not one of those universities, so if you did need to borrow funds, you'd have to take out a private loan (not a good idea).

My two cents--go to GSU. I know it's tempting to go to Europe, but even if GSU isn't a perfect fit for your interests, I'd still go there. Fit matters less in my opinion for a master's anyway. Feel free to ask other questions if you have them.


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