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UChicago Art History




I am a contemporary Chinese art historian (as far as what I want in my Masters / PhD studies).

I was wondering if anyone has heard anything about the Master of Arts Program in Humanities at UChicago? I would be focusing in art history since they have one amazing Chinese specialist and a second Chinese specialist. I want to get a Master's rather than a PhD (at least for now). The reason I would choose against applying to the PhD at UChicago is due to my lack of confidence in an acceptance.

In addition, I am a first-generation student. I am wondering if getting into grad school is as difficult as I think it will be? How weighted is GPA if everything else about my application (rigor, languages, prior research, AMAZING thesis and other writing, great recommendations)?

Two of my rec letters will be from Stanford PhD's, should I apply to Stanford to see? Will this give me an edge over other applicants?

Every school with a professor that interests me is retiring, should I apply to work with their contemporary specialist then, rather than their contemporary Chinese specialist?

Right now the schools I am interested in are Harvard, Cornell, NYU, Columbia, UChicago, Princeton, Williams College, BU, Stanford, OhioSU, UPitt. Harvard, NYU, Columbia are more because I want to do a masters and those schools offer that program, however, I feel like all of these schools are a long shot since I just do not have any clue what chances I have. I feel because I am a first-generation I do not feel like I belong in academia.

Thank you.

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Hey there,

Just take the plunge and apply to PhD programs. When my advisor first told me to also apply for PhDs in addition to MA degrees, I was like ??? But it was definitely a reaction she had seen before, so she kept pushing the case and here I am... ultimately attending my top choice PhD program. 

The issue with MA programs at 'top' schools is that you will have to pay for it... not worth it (although idk about art history -- perhaps there is a value added for potential curators?) The evaluation for your MA candidacy in programs at Chicago, NYU and Columbia is automatic if you are not admitted into the PhD program. (There may be other MA programs that at least waive tuition, some at very good schools too!) So go ahead, apply wherever you want for your PhD -- the worst that could happen is that you simply get into the MA program, or a no.

Don't be discouraged by being first-gen, poor, poc, whatever. That's how academia keeps us out -- push through it, believe in yourself, and it will happen.

As to whether the fact that your professors went to Stanford will affect your chances, I would say that it definitely helps sometimes (as long as people that they studied with are still at Stanford). As for your GPA, I would say your humanities GPA will be taken into serious consideration, and perhaps other fields if they are pertinent to your study (chemistry for conservation?) Your SOP, writing sample and recommendations matter a lot more than your GPA.

Edited by frenchlover
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Thank you for the reply! I did not know about the automatic MA consideration, that is great news. My mentor and professor told me to apply to Harvard, even after hearing my GPA (which simply is not Harvard quality lol) and I was blown away! I think I will take your advice and hopefully gear up for 7 years of hard work!

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