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lifeofpipi

Tufts vs. UW Milwaukee

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Hi all. I applied to philosophy MAs for Fall 2020 entry and was fortunate enough to have a few acceptances. Right now I am debating between Tufts and UW Milwaukee and would like to hear your advice. My AOI is political philosophy and ethics. My plan after the MA is to apply to PhD and JD programs. Job prospect is important to me and I know that the job market for philosophy PhD students is not great. Hence, my preliminary plan is that if I don't get into a top PhD program I will go to law school. 

Now I'm leaning towards Tufts due to its reputation and location, but it's not fully funded and living expense in the area is quite high. UWM also has a good reputation though it's less conveniently located, and it is offering me full tuition remission + TA-ship. My financial situation is not bad and I won't go into debts if I attend Tufts - I am working full time this year and have some savings, and my family is pretty supportive. But I prefer to be financially self-sufficient and not take too much money from my family, esp. considering that I may still need their financial support for law school (or PhD, if the program's funding is not generous)... is it worth it to go to Tufts instead of UWM ?

Any advice/input would be helpful. Thanks in advance.

P.S. I have declined offers/withdrawn from waitlists at places other than Tufts and UWM. I hope that helps someone out there.

Edited by lifeofpipi

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Long time lurker, first time poster...

I went to undergrad at Tufts, but it's been a while since I attended. I really loved the faculty, but my AOI was philosophy of mind. From my perspective it felt very much like the program was oriented around epistemology, mind, cognitive science, etc. There was only one professor who really focused on political philosophy, but he wasn't even in the department, Ioannis Evrigenis, and his only courses were cross-listed with the political science department. I would be skeptical of going there if that was your primary interest. Tufts does have a strong placement record and occasionally sends student to law schools, but it looks like most of its success has been with the core areas of philosophical study. Maybe current MA students would have more information...

Unfortunately I don't know anything about Milwaukee

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54 minutes ago, OneOfaNaturalKind said:

Long time lurker, first time poster...

I went to undergrad at Tufts, but it's been a while since I attended. I really loved the faculty, but my AOI was philosophy of mind. From my perspective it felt very much like the program was oriented around epistemology, mind, cognitive science, etc. There was only one professor who really focused on political philosophy, but he wasn't even in the department, Ioannis Evrigenis, and his only courses were cross-listed with the political science department. I would be skeptical of going there if that was your primary interest. Tufts does have a strong placement record and occasionally sends student to law schools, but it looks like most of its success has been with the core areas of philosophical study. Maybe current MA students would have more information...

Unfortunately I don't know anything about Milwaukee

I was actually in contact with Prof. Evrigenis before I applied because I was very interested in his works and the courses he runs. If I attend Tufts I will definitely make room in my schedule to take his class. Other than him, I'm also quite interested in working with Prof. Erin Kelly at Tufts.

It's true that there are more professors focusing on epistemology, mind, etc. than on political philosophy at Tufts, but I'm afraid that's also the case with UWM and most other philosophy departments in North America. For PhD I'm not sure if I want to apply to philosophy departments (and do political philsophy) or to poli sci departments (and do political theory). But I thought either way having some analytic training would be good. As far as I know Tufts's MA program requires a very intense logic course in the first semester, and that would benefit me even if I end up applying to law schools afterwards. 

Thanks for your reply!

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Though the job market may be difficult, it seems to largely be predicated on where one gets their pHD or law degree. Just looking at the two schools’ placement records, they seem quite similar, at least at the high end, and I even see that last year someone got into Harvard Law from Milwaukee. People always advise against paying for an MA when possible, and if Milwaukee can place you into such top level programs AND pay you to go there, then it seems like your best bet. Tufts was phenomenal for undergrad, but I imagine that this largely comes from my having put in a lot of effort, and I wonder if I would have had the same experience elsewhere. No matter where you go if you work hard you’re almost guaranteed a good outcome.

Still, the prestige of going to Tufts can be hard to ignore.

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I second this topic. I'm pretty much making the same decision + acceptances from some law schools.

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10 hours ago, Duns Eith said:

I am vehemently opposed to paying for an MA in the humanities. Pick a program that pays you, not costs you.

I'd agree, but it should be noted that some programs offer funding packages that are almost completely negligible when you look at living expenses, etc. You end up paying more (and experiencing more financial distress in general) than you would if you attended programs that, for example, offer in-state tuition rates soon or immediately upon arrival or have a robust student worker system and good labor conditions. Those are factors I didn't initially look into. It's very clear to me now that labor conditions at a university are really, really important to know about before you commit. Many of my friends from my undergrad who are already in (or recently completed) graduate programs did not consider those factors and have emphasized those to me. 

That funding doesn't look as attractive when you're living in a hovel with a ~30 minute commute to school in a city where food and gas are much more expensive than elsewhere in the country - oh, and then your funding runs out because it's going to take you longer to complete the degree for whatever unforeseen reason, but the state you're in doesn't consider you a resident and you're stuck paying full tuition. 

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Hey! I'm a masters student at UWM. 

With respect to political philosophy, UWM is actually pretty strong.

UWM has two professors working in political philosophy: Blain Neufeld and Stan Husi. This translates to what courses we can take as graduate students. Last semester, for example, there was a graduate class being offered on political freedom (with Husi), and this semester there's a class being offered on public reason (with Neufeld).

Your choice is a tough one! I've no idea what's going on political philosophy-wise at Tufts. Your interests might also change over the course of your time there. Still, I hope this helps !

 

 

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I'm in a similar quandary with regard to my MA applications. While I was initially of the mindset that I would rather pay for a more prestigious MA program (you can see my prior posts querying about Stanford, etc), from trawling these forums for information it's become more and more apparent that the best students from essentially any MA program will get into pHD programs of their choice. While that in itself doesn't obviate the appeal of prestige, the implications of coronavirus are now impacting my decision-making process. As we enter what could be an extended period of economic uncertainty, it seems more prudent than ever to take offers of funding very seriously, especially in this instance, where it is more the prestige of the pHD-granting institution that affects job prospects.

 

Thoughts on how this environment has altered anyone else's evaluation of offers?

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