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Current English PhD students - Q&A

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12 minutes ago, Glasperlenspieler said:

Someone with a PhD from an elite private university which does quite well at placing students suggested that people from that program rarely, if ever, got interviews from smaller, public universities. There are also other factors, such as regional notoriety (some programs place quite well at universities in the same part of the country but don't have as strong of a national reputation) or religious affiliation (PhD programs at Catholic universities tend to place quite well at other Catholic colleges/universities, all else being equal).

I think this is really important to note. Equally important is that the college you graduate from determines your initial placement. Afterwards, it depends more on the reputation that you've built as a scholar and/or professor. It's often difficult to transition from a teaching-to-research school because the schools have different objectives they consider to be important. 

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14 hours ago, Glasperlenspieler said:

or religious affiliation

This is so funny to me. I am a staunch atheist and all my PhD options now are at religiously affiliated schools. I didn’t even think of religion as a factor when looking at where to apply, except for wondering how it might impede my research interests.  Weird to think that it might impede my job search...

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I'm looking at textbooks and wondering- in grad school is it absolutely necessary to buy the newest edition?  I always just bought the cheapest available option in undergrad and it was never a problem but I don't know if that will fly going forward.  

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8 minutes ago, kendalldinniene said:

I'm looking at textbooks and wondering- in grad school is it absolutely necessary to buy the newest edition?  I always just bought the cheapest available option in undergrad and it was never a problem but I don't know if that will fly going forward.  

I'd check in with your profs. Some of them will probably want their students to be reading the same edition so you can all easily talk about the same parts and not have people trying to figure out what page they need to be looking at.

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Just now, dilby said:

I'd check in with your profs. Some of them will probably want their students to be reading the same edition so you can all easily talk about the same parts and not have people trying to figure out what page they need to be looking at.

I guess I'm reticent to ask because the stipend is so big (comparatively) I'm worried I'll come across badly...but goddamn those texts add up.  I know several of my undergrad profs wanted me to buy the "correct" edition as well, for the reason you stated, but I always made it work.  Eventually I charmed them into not caring, haha.  But maybe it's unprofessional to do that in a graduate program.

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1 hour ago, kendalldinniene said:

I'm looking at textbooks and wondering- in grad school is it absolutely necessary to buy the newest edition?  I always just bought the cheapest available option in undergrad and it was never a problem but I don't know if that will fly going forward.  

In my experience, it can be a pain in the ass when not everyone has the same pagination (and you may be left behind in discussion if everyone else has the same pagination and you don't). That being said, there's almost always someone in class who has a different edition. This has been especially tricky, albeit somewhat unavoidable, in cross-listed courses where some students are reading the original and some are reading an English translation. If you choose to split the difference (buy some with the recommended edition and some the cheapest) then I'd definitely try to buy the recommended edition for anything that's been translated. 

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No professor that I have had has cared about the edition I use. Ultimately, it will be your problem if the pages are different and up to you to solve it.

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On 5/6/2019 at 4:50 PM, kendalldinniene said:

I guess I'm reticent to ask because the stipend is so big (comparatively) I'm worried I'll come across badly...but goddamn those texts add up.  I know several of my undergrad profs wanted me to buy the "correct" edition as well, for the reason you stated, but I always made it work.  Eventually I charmed them into not caring, haha.  But maybe it's unprofessional to do that in a graduate program.

I think any professor will be (or should be!) understanding of financial issues-- no matter how decent your stipend is, there are very few stipends that are good enough that no one needs to be mindful of money. In all the seminars I took, there was always (or almost always) a number of different editions present. Whether it was newer/older, or a different publisher of the classic, etc etc-- it was sometimes annoying, but no one thought it was a big deal. Also, I know a few people in my program who are really on top of checking things out of the library, either at the school, or from one of the city libraries. If they really like the text and/or think they might write on it, they buy it, but otherwise they save a lot of money (and space!) by not buying books they'll only read once. 

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