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As a linguist - can I make myself competitive for UCLA and USC?


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So I posted something similar in the Linguistics forum because my MA is in Linguistics, and someone suggested I check out UCLA's anthropology department, which upon closer inspection, fits my interest SO much more closely, specifically with the work that Paul Kroskrity, Norma Mendoza-Denton, and Kyeyoung Park do; likewise, at USC Tok Thompson's work with pop culture and Lanita Jacob's work with Language, Identity and Culture are right up my alley, so I'm considering applying to them.  That being said, my academic background is not in linguistics.  My stats: 

My research interests are language, culture and identity (and as a part of this, code-switching); Korean linguistics; Korean dialectal variety between the North and South, and borrowed languages in Korean pop culture (specifically Spanish). 

My stats are: 

Undergrad: International Relations, 3.4 GPA 

Grad School: MA in Linguistics with a 4.0. I wrote my capstone on the hypothesis that music and language involved from a common musical, proto-linguistic faculty, and that the necessary intonation in polar interrogatives in Korean are fossilizations of that. 

Bilingual Spanish speaker, Korean speaker at somewhere between B1-B2. 

Original research presented twice at the grad school symposium, as well as the Language, Interaction, and Social Order conference where I wrote about language and the internet (specifically the construction of communities and the validation of feminist identities among One Direction fans on Twitter)

Was a graduate assistant three semesters in a row at grad school, in addition to winning a merit scholarship for tuition and in addition to winning a research travel scholarship to the conference (both competitive). 

Five years experience teaching at the college level, two additional years teaching adults topics in linguistics

GRE: Haven't taken the real thing yet, but my diagnostic scores on the test were 160V, 155Q, 6W, so I'm hoping to raise the V and Q scores by about 5 points each after studying for the test I'll take in July. 

I can count on good letters of rec, and I can count on someone coaching me through a good SoP.  My question is - how can I make this application stronger, as a non-anthropologist? 

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If you have a Linguistics background, I would suggest you consider Penn and working with Asif Agha. He has taken many students with diverse backgrounds (he himself has one, as well) and currently has (at least?) two former Linguistics students. As someone who got a 3.3 as an undergrad and is now at an Ivy, I can confirm that getting into a program has much more to do with the quality of your proposal and your relationship with your potential adviser/admissions committee. Get Skype meetings lined up and get them invested in you early. These conversations will hopefully give you insight as to what they're looking for from a proposal. Each application should be as tailored to the program as possible.

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How is a linguistics MA not background in linguistics? It sounds like one to me! People with linguistics BAs, or MAs, or training in ESL, are probably the single biggest source for linguistic anthropology PhDs—although BAs no more than people who pick up some linguistics post college—so you've got a relatively normal background already. UCLA and Penn are both obviously strong places for that combination of language and anthropology. I also think of Miyako Inoue and Barbra  Meek, and that joint program in Anthropology and Linguistics at Arizona. I also want to note that anthropology sure seems to be the field that's hands-down most comfortable with applicants falling backwards into it once they graduate and realize it answers their questions better than anything else. Sorry I can't give you any more names—that's about the extent of my Intro to Linguistic Anthropology knowledge. You sound like you're on track to me, though!

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