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1-2 gap years between MA and PhD application: how to spend it best?

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I'm about to graduate  in May and move to Gainesville, FL in September. I want to get into a top PhD program when I do apply, either for Fall 2019 or for Fall 2020 (hopefully Fall 2019). I'm trying to figure out how to spend these years best. With grad debt coming crashing down in November, the idea of enrolling in another graduate program is appealing, but does anyone know of 1 year certificate programs in theory, philosophy, psychoanalysis, interdisciplinary studies, or language acquisition (Latin) and a teaching element (English)? I can defer if I go to UF and if I get into a Philosophy MA there, but I have no idea what the program is like -- not being in-the-know or in the discipline (but want to be) and don't want to find myself tied into a program at a school that may not be very good or a constructive use of my time. Or would a philosophy degree really bolster and diversify me as a candidate to a PhD program, given that I incorporate what I'll learn into my research, as I have with my other philosophy coursework/independent study and my undergraduate thesis/MA thesis/publications? 


I'm also interested -- mainly interested in staying in academia -- in Freud, psychoanalysis, interdisciplinary studies and critical theory. Anyone know of any particularly good programs or certificates, even, in these areas + philosophy or another literary area that isn't an MA program? I'm working on a book -- critical biography that requires sweeping knowledge of Freud, Nietzsche, Hegel; critical theory, especially poststructuralism and psychoanalytic; literature, if there are certificates offered in areas that would supplement my MA well (no digital humanities unfortunately); and/or good philosophy MFA programs that are either low-residence or that I could complete before Fall 2019........I know these are all long shots......also psychoanalysis. I can only bolster my education in these two years and before my PhD, and in the past I've had successes with research grants and so forth to advance my education and independent study, but I'm now looking for the security and funding that a program may have to offer. I also need to acquire a language....but don't know if that ever could become a certificate since I'm starting at the beginner's level.


Obviously all advice or insights are welcome! Just trying to figure out what to do, leaving academia but not wanting to leave the intellectual work, the research, and the writing behind...and wanting to use this time wisely to be a better applicant to my #1 PhD choice in terms of understanding critical/theoretical/philosophical/psychoanalytic concepts to bring to the table (thinking about a dissertation on the uncanny/sublime) and/or a language that I can knock out in this time -- but in some sort of funded program capacity. Could potentially do 2 years if it was the right program. Would be especially grateful to hear about anything good at UF, as I know their funding is great but their programs seem limited and philosophy a little unclear though I know they're very strong..also interested in low-residency creative nonfiction MFA, really anything, love to write and critical thinking and cant leave it behind

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  • 4 weeks later...

I can't offer advice on any programs (just starting my M.A. myself), but I'm curious which resource grants you've been given and how you were able to apply without being a PhD student. I will be in a similar 1-year gap year situation myself and wanted to look into applying to grants for research this year for that time, but I'm having a had time coming across anything that doesn't require an institutional affiliation.

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The best bet for this kind of work would be to find a funded MA somewhere. While there are exceptions, if your goal is to beef up your profile so you can improve your PhD applications the best place to do this is in an academic setting. There's very little you can do to help your PhD app in a gap year that can't be better accomplished in a funded MA program.

I'm not a financial adviser, but it seems like not such a good idea to enroll in a pricey masters program that you don't know anything about (by your own admission) in order to defer your student loan payments. I'm also confused why you would go for an MA in Philosophy, as that isn't likely to help you get in an English/Comp Lit program (unless you meant to post this on the Philosophy board); why not try and do it in English/Comp Lit.  If your goal is to get a PhD in English, you can find programs where you'll be allowed to write enough about Freud and Psychoanalysis to get a PhD in English (in fact, my understanding of philosophy programs is that Freud and poststructuralism aren't often well regarded objects of study).

Your book project actually sounds like it would be your dissertation proposal for a PhD program.  Also, why the rush for 2019?  Many MA programs will take you two years.



Edited by jrockford27
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