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Anyone Applying for Middle Eastern History PhDs?


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Hey! I have also applied for Middle East History PhD Programs for 2020! I have applied to UCLA (received offer), UCSB, NYU, Cornell, Duke (rejected), and an ethnic studies program at Berkeley. 

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Congrats donuts! If you are comfortable doing so, go ahead and share more about yourself so we can have insights as to why you're doing so well. 

I've applied to four schools (Colum, UVA, Harv, Yale). I am a non-traditional candidate (have a MAPSS degree concentrating on HIST, and a JD), looking to specialize in legal and intellectual history. I have fluent Arabic, had over a 3.9 in the master's, and a 3.7 undergrad (which wasn't in history). I am of Arab ancestry/cultural background, but it's "just" on the maternal line so no idea if that means anything for admissions purposes. 

Edited by DennisGreenFan
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I'm currently applying for a PhD in history studying the modern middle east. I applied to three places (duke, notre dame, and harvard). I have a 3.9 GPA with a 4.0 in my major (history) as well as a few publications (only one on the middle east), two years of research assistantships, a year of teaching assistantships, and two years of working for an academic journal. I got rejected at Duke (but from what I understand they weren't taking any new students this year). I got really strong letters of recommendation from a couple of really well known/respected scholars. My language skills are OK. I'm also Arab, but never learned the language growing up and only studied it during undergrad. I can read and write but my spoken arabic is terrible.

I got recruited a decent bit from Notre Dame and contacted a faculty member I *really* want to study under. I'm also looking into studying intellectual history. I haven't heard anything in a few weeks from my POI at Notre Dame and I never got an email back whenever I tried to email my POI at Harvard. It looks like a few folks already got invited to interviews at Notre Dame but I didn't, so I'm not really that confident right now. If I get rejected, I'll probably just wait again till next cycle. (I'll have two publications and three conferences on M.E. History at that point so maybe I'll look like a stronger candidate. The book I'm currently working on with my advisor at my current university should also be finished and likely published by then as well.)

Best of luck with applications! I think over the next few weeks the majority of acceptances and rejections will come in. 

TL;DR, I'm not that confident with how things are right now. If I get into ND or Harvard, great, but if I don't, I've kind of come to terms that its time to go back to being a broke line-cook.

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Thanks for sharing Thomasunra. You sound like you have great qualifications for a PhD and I wish you well. 

I will probably also give next cycle a chance if this one doesn't work out. (I'm working in the Arab world in a decent paying job so I can just continue that for a year.) 
 

Edited by DennisGreenFan
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  • 1 month later...

I think you will have a great shot Thomasunra! Good luck. Have you heard back from schools DennisGreenFan?

 

About me: I graduated undergrad from a public state school (political science, summa cum laude) but went on to do my MA at the American University in Cairo in Mideast studies. I have fluent arabic, background is Arab and am studying Modern Egyptian history. I have been out of academia for a couple of years. I have presented at major conferences like MESA. But I think the thing that makes a difference is that professors have been really excited by my project.

I went to UCLA visit day and really loved it- California is such a beautiful place and the department there was so warm and welcoming and seemed non-pretentious. They also have great scholars of radical histories. But I would feel bad rejecting two Ivy Leagues to go there (UPenn and Cornell). All three have great professors I would want to work with but only Penn has a professor working on Egypt specifically, although a different time period but similar theme. What would you do in my situation? 

 

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22 hours ago, Donuts99 said:

I think you will have a great shot Thomasunra! Good luck. Have you heard back from schools DennisGreenFan?

 

About me: I graduated undergrad from a public state school (political science, summa cum laude) but went on to do my MA at the American University in Cairo in Mideast studies. I have fluent arabic, background is Arab and am studying Modern Egyptian history. I have been out of academia for a couple of years. I have presented at major conferences like MESA. But I think the thing that makes a difference is that professors have been really excited by my project.

I went to UCLA visit day and really loved it- California is such a beautiful place and the department there was so warm and welcoming and seemed non-pretentious. They also have great scholars of radical histories. But I would feel bad rejecting two Ivy Leagues to go there (UPenn and Cornell). All three have great professors I would want to work with but only Penn has a professor working on Egypt specifically, although a different time period but similar theme. What would you do in my situation? 

 

Hi, congrats for UCLA! Was that for nelc or history? That’s a tough position to be in, have you compared the funding offers? 

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