Jump to content
usintheworld

Applying to History Ph.D.'s. Question about MSc backup.

Recommended Posts

I am applying to History and American Studies Ph.D. programs for Fall 2020 in the United States.
My interests (FWIW) are twentieth century transnational history and transnationalizing the U.S. and the Levant.

As a backup, I am applying to two Masters programs. One of which is a MSc in refugee and Forced Migrations Studies at Oxford University. It's a 9-month program, which is very appealing to me--both financially and temporally–as I would be able to then apply for Ph.D. programs in the next cycle (Fall 2021).

My question is: would History Ph.D. programs/admissions committees which are research-based view a MSc unfavorably? Would I be better off entering a two-year MA program?

Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does the MSc require a thesis for graduation?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you want to work specifically on refugees and migration? If you need to write a thesis and that is your topic, then I don't see a problem with the program as long as you can "justify" it to people outside of your area of study.

Edited by Tigla

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, AP said:

Does the MSc require a thesis for graduation?

FWIW, the following is from the program's webpage.

"In the third term, you will write a 10,000- to 15,000-word thesis. This is typically a desk-based study, since there is little time to undertake individual fieldwork within the nine months of the course. Although you may attend other options courses, you will only be examined on the core courses, your two chosen option courses and the thesis."

17 hours ago, usintheworld said:

My question is: would History Ph.D. programs/admissions committees which are research-based view a MSc unfavorably? Would I be better off entering a two-year MA program?

If the thesis you produce is too far afield of the generally accepted practices for academic historians (e.g. references), a MSc in that discipline may not serve you as well as a master's in history (with a thesis/report option).

A way to square potentially the circle, write two version of your MSc thesis. One for your committee and a version that will resonate among historians. This option sees you writing for historians and then editing it to the standards of the discipline.

A second challenge you may face will center around perceptions (assumptions) of  (about) the MSc program and its participants. You may need to demonstrate that your commitment to scholarship is orders of magnitude higher than your dedication to the global problem of forced migration.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/13/2019 at 10:22 AM, Tigla said:

Do you want to work specifically on refugees and migration? If you need to write a thesis and that is your topic, then I don't see a problem with the program as long as you can "justify" it to people outside of your area of study.

One of my research areas is critical refugee studies; so yes. However the programs I applied to are International/Global History Programs and American History Programs.

I wrote an undergraduate thesis at a top liberal arts college so most of my writing samples are covered from that. This would be something to pursue in the mean-time as well as work on languages.

I suppose my main question though is whether a MSc is frowned on compared to an MA. 

Thanks!

Edited by usintheworld

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t think it’s frown upon as if anybody would say “sh*t, we can’t admit this person be they have a MSc”. I would definitely think of using the MSc as an opportunity to talk about your interests in the SOP for doctoral programs. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/12/2019 at 4:42 PM, usintheworld said:

Would I be better off entering a two-year MA program?

A factor to keep in mind. Even if you already have a master's degree in hand, upon starting a doctoral program, a department is likely to require you to do the work to qualify for a master's degree. This can happen even if your master's degree is in history and even if it was earned at a higher ranked program.

In my experience, this sensibility may mean that you have to start from scratch in terms of fulfilling departmental requirements for numbers and types of courses you take. And, depending upon the rigor of one's new department and the vigilance of the faculty and staff, opportunities to re purpose/recycle  what you learned and did before may approach zero.  In terms of one's personal development and professional training, starting from (almost) scratch can be beneficial. But any such benefit is going to come at the expense of time.

(The possibility/likelihood of having to start over is a key reason why I never have recommended to aspiring doctoral students the path of getting a terminal masters first for seasoning and experience.) 

 

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

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

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