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Kratzjj

CSULA vs SFSU MA Philosophy

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I was recently accepted to both philosophy programs. I am having a hard time deciding on which program would be best for me in the long run. My main interest is philosophy of mind (consciousness, explanatory gap, phenomenal character of experiences, nature of self, mind-body problem, panpsychism, etc) 

Which school is better!? I’m mostly curious about faculty and how they interact with students. 

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Kratzjj said:

I was recently accepted to both philosophy programs. I am having a hard time deciding on which program would be best for me in the long run. My main interest is philosophy of mind (consciousness, explanatory gap, phenomenal character of experiences, nature of self, mind-body problem, panpsychism, etc) 

Which school is better!? I’m mostly curious about faculty and how they interact with students. 

Congrats on your acceptances! I don't have personal experience with either program, so I can't speak to how well faculty work with students. However, a few thoughts:

1. I don't know if there's a difference in funding between the two for you, but even if SFSU is giving you more funding, cost-of-living in LA is going to be lower than SF (I'm assuming that you have funded offers from both. Is that the case?). LA is expensive, of course, but housing costs in SF are obscene. University-subsidized grad student housing can help, but is often not great in terms of quality of life.

2. SFSU is no longer listed on the the PGR's list of top MA's, though CSULA is (See link here). That's something to keep in mind in terms of assessing the comparative overall strength of the two programs.

3. With respect to placement, it's a bit hard to determine. SFSU only has 2019 placements listed. CSULA lists every student's placement by year, so it's a bit more transparent, but they haven't updated the website in several years. I'd email SFSU and ask for complete placement listed by year, and ask CSULA for the last few years' placements. That should give you a better idea of how their placements compare, which might help you make a decision.

4. Reach out to current students at both programs. SFSU has a grad student listing. Pick a few students, and email them. See what they think of the program/whether faculty are approachable/etc. In my experience, most people will be happy to help. It would be especially good if you could talk to some advisees of the faculty you hope to work with. Not all advisors are created equal. I didn't see a CSULA grad student directory, so you might have to email the department and ask for the emails of current students.

Hope this helps!

Edited by hector549

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4 hours ago, Kratzjj said:

Thank you! After further research into both schools, I chose CSULA!  

Congrats! I hope you love it there!

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Posted (edited)
On 6/5/2019 at 12:33 PM, hector549 said:

Congrats on your acceptances! I don't have personal experience with either program, so I can't speak to how well faculty work with students. However, a few thoughts:

1. I don't know if there's a difference in funding between the two for you, but even if SFSU is giving you more funding, cost-of-living in LA is going to be lower than SF (I'm assuming that you have funded offers from both. Is that the case?). LA is expensive, of course, but housing costs in SF are obscene. University-subsidized grad student housing can help, but is often not great in terms of quality of life.

2. SFSU is no longer listed on the the PGR's list of top MA's, though CSULA is (See link here). That's something to keep in mind in terms of assessing the comparative overall strength of the two programs.

3. With respect to placement, it's a bit hard to determine. SFSU only has 2019 placements listed. CSULA lists every student's placement by year, so it's a bit more transparent, but they haven't updated the website in several years. I'd email SFSU and ask for complete placement listed by year, and ask CSULA for the last few years' placements. That should give you a better idea of how their placements compare, which might help you make a decision.

4. Reach out to current students at both programs. SFSU has a grad student listing. Pick a few students, and email them. See what they think of the program/whether faculty are approachable/etc. In my experience, most people will be happy to help. It would be especially good if you could talk to some advisees of the faculty you hope to work with. Not all advisors are created equal. I didn't see a CSULA grad student directory, so you might have to email the department and ask for the emails of current students.

Hope this helps!

Just making a correction in case someone is assessing these schools and sees this thread in the future. I was wrong about #2. SFSU is still on the list of top MA's. In any case, congrats @Kratzjj on your choice.

Edited by hector549

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