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Hi, all. What are current thoughts on Kingston's CRMEP? I know that Kingston has been in a bit of financial trouble lately, and I have some doubts about the school overall due to this. Furthermore, Kingston's CRMEP is not ranked highly for continental philosophy programs—as opposed to Essex, Sussex, Warwick, etc.. Despite all that, CRMEP absolutely has the best faculty (Peter Osborne, Catherine Malabou, Howard Caygill, Peter Hallward, and Étienne Balibar) for my purposes compared to any English-speaking school I've seen in the US and internationally. I am tempted to pick an MA program for its faculty over its ranking, but I don't want to hurt my chances down the line when I apply to PhD programs. Anyway, what are thoughts generally on the benefit of attending "prestigious" MA programs, and does anyone know anything about CRMEP specifically that may help me make this decision? 

I appreciate any help you can give, and congratulations to everyone who has gotten or is getting acceptance letters around now.

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MA programs aren't governed by (nor are they subject to) the same prestige hierarchy as PhD programs. Partly, it's because they accomplish a different set of goals. Mostly, it's because they aren't really ranked.

You shouldn't have to pay for your degree. Beyond that, program choice doesn't matter a ton. Just attend a program with a respectable record of placing into the PhD programs you want to attend, which will give you the opportunity to develop your current interests, and which will challenge you to develop new ones. And one which will fund you, obviously.

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I wouldn't pay much attention to the Leiter ranks for continental programs, unless you plan on applying to a ranked (i.e. mostly analytic) program in the U.S afterwards. But I don't know anything about Kingston's program itself except that they have some very well known faculty. 

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I would also advise you to completely ignore rankings, especially Leiter's.

Instead, I would try to determine (from talking to current students at Kingston) how much you actually get to work with these big named people. Of course, if you have a letter of recommendation from someone like Balibar or Malabou, this could be very good for applying to programs in the tradition of continental philosophy, especially programs that emphasize the French tradition.

However, there's a growing number of programs that allow students to study with big name figures at a significant cost (such as the European Graduate School or the New School for Social Research) that can have some downsides when it comes to faculty availability, tuition rates, and the level of engagement/competition among your peers (I have heard there was a major controversy, which involved Ranciere and Badiou leaving the EGS). That's not to say that you can't go to one of these programs and succeed, nor is this to say that Kingston is like this (I have heard nothing to indicate this about Kingston). Just that sometimes programs that offer you a chance to study with the biggest names in philosophy sometimes are funded by the fact that people are *paying* for the opportunity to study under one of the greats, so you have to be careful.

But again, I heave heard nothing to indicate this about Kingston, and if you are excited about the faculty (I certainly would be), it might be a great choice. 

Edited by iunoionnis
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  • 4 months later...

I would encourage you to avoid Kingston by all means. 

There are many reasons why, first and foremost because it's a money making machine, feeding off you and other students. Kingston, the London Graduate School and the European Graduate School are basically the same group of academics making money of impressionable students from the US, through various forms. You want an MA they have a product for you, you want a summer school they got that too, are you star-struck and want to think you study with Zizek they 've got something for you too. 

The basic problem is that you will fork out 20k in british pounds for an one year masters which you are unlikely to ever recover from your academic career as a philosopher. Moreover, the people that are going to grab that money off you will treat you with disrespect and arrogangce and will never see you as an intellectual peer. 

Then there is the whole Middlesex business. When the CRMEP was kicked out of Middlesex Peter Osborne, Eric Alliez and the rest of the crew asked students to occupy the department in order to save the School. When some of them got an offer to move to KIngston they ditched the students, and some of their faculty and followed the money in Kingston. 

The whole "radical philosophy" thing is just a facade and most of the CRMEP people are conventional academics, detached from real movements, theoretical-only marxism and conservative inclinations.

The department is hierarchical AF and some of the relations there strike me as unprofessional. Peter Osborne and Stella Sandford run the department, they are also a couple and I think she used to be his phd student. Just doesn't scream nepotism-free place. 

Overall, don't feed the monst of commercialisation of philosophy and Higher Education. Go to France or Germany and do your MA for free. 

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  • 5 months later...

I'm well aware of the downsides of the European Graduate School and I'm not thrilled about the idea of forking out the money for such a short time (and what I would imagine is a more or less absent structure outside of the pricey summer camp in the mountains). 

If, theoretically, money were not a concern, would it still be unadvisable to pursue a master's at EGS? I am primarily a poet and creative writer with an MFA but I'm currently wanting to pursue a PhD in philosophy/critical theory with interest in language theory, digital studies, affect theory, blah blah all the good interesting stuff -- the problem is that I don't know exactly what I want to study, and sort of realized I probably need to get a Master's to *feel* prepared to apply to a reputable PhD program. Another thing to note is that I'd prefer to do my MA and PhD somewhere in Europe (like France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark or anywhere that will fund me that isn't the US). 

I have no idea if I could be successful in an application to a European PhD program with a MFA in Poetry -- any clue?!

Relevant personal detail re: EGS being a fit or not is that I recently moved to Kurdistan and I'd prefer to stay here until 2020, so the idea of finishing a Master's without having to relocate or start my MA in 2020....I'm getting fucking old. 

However, a concern is that the limited contact/time of EGS would not actually help me in my aim to focus my interests. That said, I have ample time in my current work/life situation to read/write/self-study (not a lot going on in the mountains of Kurdistan...at least these particular mountains). And I'd hope that being enrolled in an MA would help me focus and direct my efforts. 

I've already plumbed the limits of my friends and family who have some knowledge of academia, so I'm sorry to outsource my decision making inputs, but it's the modern way. I'd be super grateful for any input -- I'm a bit of a newb. 

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