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I've been taken off the waitlist at Indiana! Just received my formal offer today and I have to say that I'm relieved/emotional/over the moon. I'm going to get a PhD! I'm still on the waitlist at

quite a lot to unpack here. you assume that I’m not using this as a way to put a better application forward next year which is quite a big assumption to make. I’d like to recontextualize: I said I was

sorry but why do you feel the need to be such an asshole about this? the poster didn't get into a program they really wanted to and are upset about the way the rejection was dealt with. sounds perfect

4 hours ago, aaaddd said:

Does anyone know if it is okay to ask POI when the admission decisions will be announced? Thanks!

Unless they specifically told you to contact them around a certain time, refrain from emailing them. You will always be waiting for things: TA assignments, fellowship decisions, answer from your committee whether you passed your written exams, a decision from a conference, etc. etc.  Use this time to work on building your level of tolerance and patience from molten lava to steel.

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9 hours ago, Sigaba said:

Your POI is telling you that while you may be able to finish in five years, the department understands that it may take six years or longer.

Please keep in mind that when you enter a graduate program with a master's in hand, your new department is still going to want to "kick the tires."

 

Well, the admission counselor actually said that all students are expected to take 6y. Not sure why their website says differently!

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8 hours ago, Balleu said:

In my program, students entering with an MA can transfer 1 credit of coursework (of the 18 required for us). Schools will vary widely in their handling of previous coursework. 

Do you have a copy of the graduate handbook for the program you're considering?

Yes, I think that’s what I meant, that you can transfer some credits towards coursework. But it seems that UCLA doesn’t do that — despite what it says on their handbook, which is why I’m double checking if other schools do do that. 

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7 hours ago, AP said:

In previous program, people with MAs could get one course release. Of all the people I've known coming into my program with a MA, only one got this. The release was more dependent on advisors than program. Here is why: a MA and a PhD are very different graduate programs. They have different requirements, different expectations, different times.

Further, in the humanities you encounter less structure in MA and PhD programs, especially in the US. Not all MA students in the same cohort take the same courses. Thus, not even the students in the same cohort have encountered the same authors, read the same sources, undertaken the same research. In a doctoral program the difference is even greater. What I mean to say in all this is that no one can really quantify how the MA counts towards the PhD. If they do, make sure is a way that benefits you. If they are going to exempt you from a language exams, make sure it's because you know the language. If they are going to exempt you from a methods course, make sure you know the methods. A PhD coursework is the last chance you get to read about topics/regions that are not necessarily connected to your own interests. This is a gift, take advantage of it. I can assure you it won't hurt. 

Regarding time of completion with or without a MA: No, it has absolutely nothing to do. Maybe others can chime in here, but in my experience (both as student and faculty), I haven't seen a difference in time of completion. I didn't go in with a MA and it took me the same as some one with. I know people with MAs in their 9th years. I know people with MA that graduated in 6. So, no. 

Now, the question of why some programs run longer is a strange one. Typically, doctoral programs run for five years: 2 coursework, 1 for exams/developing prospectus, 1 for research, 1 for writing. However, the vast majority of graduate student do not finish in five years (it's not impossible, but I'd say I know two people who did). It usually takes 6 or more. The reasons for this vary enormously from person to person and from program to program. Besides personal reasons, some programs prefer to fund their students for another year if they didn't find a job. Some advisors can be hard to work with and maybe you just end up writing for more time than you thought. This is a very, very important question that you should check in the programs' websites and ask graduate students. It is a very valid question, so do ask when you visit! 

First, you get a feel of the department. I'm a firm advocate that the department is your workplace (as opposed as your buddies-space, which it can be, but it's not mostly that). So, when you travel and interact with everyone, you'll see how they get along, how they treat each other, how do they live, what worries them, etc. You'll see if most of them are younger, if they are married/with partners, if they are older, etc. You'll also see for yourself what's like to be in the city where you'll be. Do you see yourself here? Is it hard to move around? Is campus accessible? You will probably meet faculty outside your department and probably envision collaborating with some. I'm a Latin Americanist so our prospective students usually meet with faculty in Art History, Romance languages, and Sociology. You'll also meet your advisor and other faculty, and get a sense of their style. 

(As I mentioned, I didn't attend my visit but this is what people that ended up coming told me they enjoyed from our visit). 

Are you coming from abroad with nothing in the US? If you are, then valid questions include: Where do grad students typically live? Are there furnished apts? is there a roommate service? (usually yes to both of these). Can you get a car? Can you get a driver's license? What do you need to get insurance? What fees are not covered by the fellowship? etc. Do contact other students that came from abroad, trust me. They will be your biggest allies! 

 

Good luck!

Thank you for these great info. 

I understand the process of being exempted certain coursework that would be beneficial to you. My MA was very research-oriented (80 pages dissertation to write), but we had many courses that involved both our field and historical research as well (paleography training, archival course...). That’s why I think it’s important to know whether a program will consider releasing you of a coursework or language requirement (my field is Europe, and I’m fluent in three European languages). 

Ill definitely ask Graduate students when (if) I go to visit-day. Thank you very much for that. I’ll be coming from abroad with nothing in L.A (if I end up going there), but I’ve lived a couple of years in the US. 

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1 hour ago, Manana said:

Constantly waking up at night and checking your e-mail, since it is daytime in the US: The Foreign Applicant Experience™

I have an internal clock now for when the east and west coasts hit 9am-5pm 😅 the weekend was quite pleasant because I knew there was no possibility of receiving anything 

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9 hours ago, Marier said:

Thank you for these great info. 

I understand the process of being exempted certain coursework that would be beneficial to you. My MA was very research-oriented (80 pages dissertation to write), but we had many courses that involved both our field and historical research as well (paleography training, archival course...). That’s why I think it’s important to know whether a program will consider releasing you of a coursework or language requirement (my field is Europe, and I’m fluent in three European languages). 

Ill definitely ask Graduate students when (if) I go to visit-day. Thank you very much for that. I’ll be coming from abroad with nothing in L.A (if I end up going there), but I’ve lived a couple of years in the US. 

I am a bit lost here.  What are you looking to accomplish by going to the US for your PhD if you're looking to get more courses released?  The coursework is a very big and important component of achieving breadth and depth in training.  You will be asked to choose a minor field (or two, depending on the program) to complement your field in European history. Your exam committee members will likely give you new books to read for your exams in addition to what you have read at your current program.  Since you are fluent in three languages, i would not worry about the language proficiency exam at all- your adviser will likely check off boxes right away so you can focus on the coursework.

Moreover, coursework at your chosen PhD institution will give you an opportunity to get to know faculty members' areas of expertise and learn from them how they think about the questions they're asking and get feedback from other students with similar interests (well, for most part they will).  A course in German history with someone like Geoff Eley will be very different from a course in Germany history with, say, Dagmar Herzog. Likewise for French history between Alice Conklin and Mary Lou Roberts.   At the end, it is up to your potential adviser how *much* coursework you really need (and I wouldn't argue with them until you've passed your exams).

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17 hours ago, AP said:

First, you get a feel of the department. I'm a firm advocate that the department is your workplace (as opposed as your buddies-space, which it can be, but it's not mostly that). So, when you travel and interact with everyone, you'll see how they get along, how they treat each other, how do they live, what worries them, etc. You'll see if most of them are younger, if they are married/with partners, if they are older, etc. You'll also see for yourself what's like to be in the city where you'll be. Do you see yourself here? Is it hard to move around? Is campus accessible? You will probably meet faculty outside your department and probably envision collaborating with some. I'm a Latin Americanist so our prospective students usually meet with faculty in Art History, Romance languages, and Sociology. You'll also meet your advisor and other faculty, and get a sense of their style.

This is a great list of things to think about during the visit. I also very much agree that the department is where you work. Being a graduate student should not (ideally) be your entire identity. It should be something you consider part of your life, but not the entirety of it.

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10 minutes ago, TMP said:

 At the end, it is up to your potential adviser how *much* coursework you really need (and I wouldn't argue with them until you've passed your exams).

A bit of an addendum to your otherwise excellent points: some departments require you to have a certain number of coursework credits before you're eligible to take prelims/comps/whatever you may call them. Others require that you take coursework up until you submit a dissertation proposal, which can significantly delay your progress.

In short, it's worth knowing program requirements inside and out before accepting an offer. Some places allow a lot more leeway than others.

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On 1/26/2020 at 5:55 AM, Marier said:

Hello,

I have been lurking this thread for a while but didn't get the chance to properly post anything. Just wanted to say that this forum has been really helpful! It's good to know there's a graduate history community out there, that knows about this horrendous application process & the likely perspective of being a 30-y old unemployed dr. something, yet passionate about historical research.  

Quick note about me, I am a EU student, graduated from an American institution though, and completed my MA in History at Durham uni.

For those who have applied to UCLA, some answers may have been sent out. I received my offer of admission yesterday, and personal emails from my POIs. 

I am really happy as UCLA is one of my top choice and is fully funded, but I was wondering if it was acceptable to wait a couple of weeks before giving a final answer. I'd like to hear back from the other schools I applied to (mostly from NYU, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, and the scholarships app. from Leeds (UK) before making any decision. UCLA have 'visit day' mid-february and encourage us to attend. I am excited for this, however I am wondering if you're supposed to have accepted your offer before attending the open-days. I do not think that I'll have heard back from the other schools by then. I had an  informal interview for Columbia with my POIs and they told me I shouldn't hear back in a couple of weeks. They were, apparently, at stage 2 of the admission process (aka, candidacy being reviewed by ppl in your field). What are your thoughts on that? Is it okay to attend (and letting them pay for your flighhhht) while you haven't given a final confirmation? 

Good luck to anyone!!

 

 

 

 

 

Congrats on UCLA! 

You can accept if you're dead set on coming to UCLA, but it's perfectly acceptable to accept afterwards. It's really important to meet your potential advisors in person and see the campus for yourself. You're going to be spending many years here and the last thing you want is to hate the campus and/or your advisors! I didn't accept until after I visited, even though I was 90% sure I was going to choose UCLA. Let me know if you have any questions about UCLA!

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21 hours ago, Marier said:

I have a somewhat odd question. 

UCLA’s website indicates that “students entering the program with an MA are expected to graduate within 12 to 15 quarters (4-5y) instead of 18-21 quarters”. I’ve asked my POI and she said that the requirements on the website are to be taken with a grain of salt, and that students are expected to take at least 6y. 

I know that programs such as Princeton and Rutgers are based on a 5-y program (you received 5y of funding). At NYU for instance, you are given the option of making your master counts towards your doctorate (and thus receive -1y of funding).

I’ll be entering the Ph.D program with an MA, and it’d be important to know whether I’ll be spending an extra 1 or 2 years in this particular program. I do not know if I’d be willing to spend an extra 2y, for then it kills the purpose of having done an MA.

I am wondering, it not unusual for students entering with a master’s degree to complete their doctorate in 5y (aka, sooner than those entering with a b.a)? 

I am confused as to why some programs run longer than others. 

Any insights ?

Look at the graduate school requirements as well as department requirements. That may help you to determine how long it will (potentially) take you to complete the program.

The program I attend promotes a 5 year PhD, and they do not take students without an MA in hand. If I were to just meet the graduate school requirements I would only need to do one year of graduate level coursework, but the department has a different requirement. Instead I am scheduled to do 2 years of coursework, even though I have my MA. Look over the two requirements, the department is often more extensive than the graduate school itself. That said, you can sometimes speak to a DGS to get certain requirements waived. For example, I took a theory course during my MA. I sat down with my DGS and we compared the syllabus from my MA institution and my current program, in which he decided to waive that requirement. In doing so, I am still required to take the 2 years of coursework, but I was permitted to take an additional research focused course rather than a seminar. That swap gives me a jump on my own research, ideally helping me to complete the program in the 5 year timeline.

However, as with many programs, we have students in their 6th, 7th, even 8th years. Most programs will not have a firm timeline, but the minimum requirements vary.

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On 1/22/2020 at 9:45 PM, histori041512 said:

Wanted to share that I heard from a European history professor at UMichigan today that their committee met and did final reviews of applications yesterday and they have sent them on to the graduate committee for final decision-making there.

He did mention that they had only about 15 spots for the entire department for this application cycle and 5-6 open for European applicants. Some people might be getting decision letters earlier than the posted date on the Rackham website. 

Wishing everyone luck!

A kinda belated question: does Michigan do interviews?

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10 minutes ago, KiraBerl said:

A kinda belated question: does Michigan do interviews?

My POI there didn't mention anything like that. I want to say it might depend of your POI as he let me know that he and the other European historians were quite enthusiastic about my application and hoping for good news. 

Then again, who knows because their website says they won't be sending decisions until March. There is definitely enough time between then and now to be called in to interview.

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4 hours ago, DanaJ said:

That said, you can sometimes speak to a DGS to get certain requirements waived.

My recommendation to those who are entering a doctoral program with a master's degree in history and balk at the notion of "starting over" or "losing time" is that you consider carefully the wisdom of departmental requirements before seeking waivers and/or exceptions.

If you do have a conversation with a DGS, please keep in mind that the Powers That Be are going to have a range of assumptions about what you know and also what you know about what you need to know. Negotiating your way out of a class centered around theory and/or historiography to do more research can, at first, look like a great idea. But if one ends up with thousands of pages of primary source materials without a finely wrought set of analytical tools, or as clear an understanding of the relevant historiography, to fuse the grains of carbon into lonsdaleite, one may have second thoughts.

Also, please do keep in mind that professors talk to each other about the personalities and temperaments of graduate students on a regular basis. Take risks, push limits, ask your questions, but don't be "that guy" who thinks he's smarter than everyone in the department and ends up with a PNG to go along with the Ph.D.

 

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35 minutes ago, Sigaba said:

My recommendation to those who are entering a doctoral program with a master's degree in history and balk at the notion of "starting over" or "losing time" is that you consider carefully the wisdom of departmental requirements before seeking waivers and/or exceptions.

 

I agree with that statement. I think that forward thinking is beneficial in any situation. My program is working hard to emphasize finishing in a timely manner, sixth year funding is gradually becoming very limited. I was also lucky and earned my MA from a university geographically close to my current institution. The faculty know each other and communicate often. Even then, my DGS and I had a meeting and examined the content for each course to ensure that necessarily skills were developed. I also needed a language course because I do not have the knowledge to test out, so my DGS and I made the determination together to waive one course.

Additionally, I would never recommend anyone do this immediately upon entering a program. I waited until Spring registration opened, after getting a feel for the department and the faculty. Waivers and/or exceptions should absolutely be considered on an individual basis. I was not the first person to be granted this exception, nor was I the only member of my cohort granted a waiver. That said, I do not think it hurts to share personal experience if it can help another student. I would not advise anyone to walk into a department and expect waivers or special treatment if they had already earned an MA, but individual situations may vary just like individual departments. 

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6 hours ago, histori041512 said:

How likely is it that Northwestern and Brown will send out decisions this week? I saw that last year they were both around Jan. 31st. 

I am feeling a little anxious as the day gets closer.

Northwestern spent early January in the later stages of an Assistant Professor search process, so it may be later than last year.

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7 hours ago, snackademic said:

Does anyone want to claim the UChicago offer? Would you be willing to share the initials of your POI?

Same question to the JHU posters!

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15 hours ago, psstein said:

A bit of an addendum to your otherwise excellent points: some departments require you to have a certain number of coursework credits before you're eligible to take prelims/comps/whatever you may call them. Others require that you take coursework up until you submit a dissertation proposal, which can significantly delay your progress.

In short, it's worth knowing program requirements inside and out before accepting an offer. Some places allow a lot more leeway than others.

Yes, that’s exactly what I was trying to say. Programs seem to really vary from one to another, and that’s what I’m trying to figure out. I have a friend up at Columbia who moved to what they call “advanced standing” during her second year, and was exempted to take certain courses because of the coursework she had done at her M.A. From what I have gathered so far, this isn’t a possibility at UCLA. But I’ll see what I end up doing. Hopefully I can go to the visit day, which will be really necessary! 

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Having a MA doesn't matter at UCLA. I came in with an MPhil and plenty of my cohort members have MAs, but we're still required to take courses and get an MA from UCLA. You can't use your MA credits to exempt out of courses here, which is not necessarily a bad thing because you'll have the opportunity to learn new things and build relationships with different professors.

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