Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
DoodleBob

MA AOI and PhD Admissions

Recommended Posts

Dear again the grad cafe philosophy community, 

I am curious about your opinion of a masters area of interest and PhD admissions. I have heard (from a professor) that a masters AOI does not matter for PhD admissions. What matters is demonstrating your ability to produce quality work in philosophy. 

For example, your AOI and thesis is in X, but that does not matter towards your addmisions prospects for a program that specializes in Y. As I have lurked here on the gradcafe, I have read advice that this is not the case. 

What is your opinion on this? How much does an MA AOI matter for PhD admissions? 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

My thesis was on Schopenhauer. All three of my committee members thought it was very strong. I only applied to programs with strengths in 19th Century and continental. I had limited success, less than I was anticipating. The other parts of my application were competitive, at least as far as I know. I can’t help but think that if I’d submitted a sample on a more canonical figure with whom the people reviewing my application were more familiar, even limited to 19th Century German Philosophy (Nietzsche, Hegel, etc), I’d have had better luck.

Edited by nxr9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, DoodleBob said:

For example, your AOI and thesis is in X, but that does not matter towards your addmisions prospects for a program that specializes in Y. As I have lurked here on the gradcafe, I have read advice that this is not the case.

This was an excellent explication, 10/10.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Prose said:

This was an excellent explication, 10/10.

I have to say, I am unsure whether you are sincere or not. Either way, what is your opinion on MA AOI and PhD admissions, Prose? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think as long as you have a strong writing sample that is in Y then you should be good. 

Don't underestimate how important "fit" is for applications. Trying to apply for a department that's mainly doing continental with a sample in analytic philosophy of mind might not be the best even if your SOP clarifies your new interests. 

With that said, my master's AOI is different than my stated AOI on PhD applications and I was asked about this during an interview for one program. Granted it was a general question about whether I see any connections between them but still, I imagine some departments keep that in mind.. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, DoodleBob said:

Dear again the grad cafe philosophy community, 

I am curious about your opinion of a masters area of interest and PhD admissions. I have heard (from a professor) that a masters AOI does not matter for PhD admissions. What matters is demonstrating your ability to produce quality work in philosophy. 

For example, your AOI and thesis is in X, but that does not matter towards your addmisions prospects for a program that specializes in Y. As I have lurked here on the gradcafe, I have read advice that this is not the case. 

What is your opinion on this? How much does an MA AOI matter for PhD admissions? 

 

 

I think having a sample paper that matches your claimed AOI helps. But I don't think having a strong sample paper on X but the department specializes in Y is going to hurt you. Your fit in the department is pretty important. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I'm not sure whether one's MA AOI really matters–I don't have a strong intuition about this. I do, however, think that it would be weird to say in your SoP that your interest is in x while your sample paper is on ~x. It would be weird, also, to express a (primary) interest in in your SoP, or to use a sample paper in y, to apply to a program at which no one works on y

Edited by brookspn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I produced a writing sample in X and wrote in my SOP that my main interest was Y, and one department explicitly told me that was a major factor in denying me a place: apparently it was difficult to know who to assign to read my application. (They said they liked the application otherwise, and told me to reapply next year with a sample in my stated area of interest)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

FWIW I applied with a writing sample (evo debunking and math) that was somewhat tangential to, but not really in, my claimed AOIs (I stated Epist, Phil Lang, and Early Modern). I was told that, if I had higher confidence in this paper than others, to go with it. I didn't really have much of a choice - I think I would have been pulled towards doing a sample that was more securely in my AOIs if I had a paper I was more excited about/wasn't less than 7 pages long.

I have 2A/2W/4R in an application set of 7 top-10 schools and 1 top MA, if that gives you any signal on how that went for me. I get that this doesn't really help with your AOI decision, but perhaps I thought I'd offer a little counterexample with my very unorthodox application :)

Edited by Very Hungry Caterpillar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Very Hungry Caterpillar said:

I was told that, if I had higher confidence in this paper than others, to go with it.

Fwiw I was also told this and followed this strategy. When I specifically asked if my sample should be in my AOIs, I was told that it doesn't have to be, and that I should write my sample on whatever topic would produce the best-written paper. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.