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2021 Application Thread


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Hi everyone. I am reapplying to graduate programs this year. Really sad about Brown not accepting new doctoral students this  year, it was one of my top choices. Anyway... I was wondering how to phrase emails to professors who I have corresponded with last year. They have all replied, their answers ranging from very positive to neutral. I tried to get the answer from Google but all the guides refer to first time applying, introducing yourself, etc., which I feel would just look weird, as we have already corresponded. To this I have to add that English is not my first language so I'm extra nervous. Would appreciate your input.

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Just a reminder to everyone who is applying this year. You had a difficult first half of 2020. We, faculty, did too. Grad students did too (many lost summer stipends, many doing international res

Hey folks, I have gotten a bunch of messages since posting my one acceptance, asking about my application process, etc. and I am happy to provide any feedback and answer questions whenever I can (as l

Hey there, I imagine that you must be very disappointed right now. My suggestions are 1. Take some deep breathes. 2. Disconnect from social media/your phone/the internet for a while. 3. Do something t

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On 10/6/2020 at 11:53 AM, HRL said:

Hello all, 

I applied to PhD programs as an Americanist 2 years ago, was admitted to MA programs only, and proceeded with the UChicago MA. I just finished the MA program this fall and am looking to re-apply to PhDs this cycle, COVID notwithstanding. 

I've just been lurking on this thread thusfar but am joining in the conversation now in the hopes of finding out if anyone has an ear to the ground on UT or Northwestern's plans to admit a cohort or not this year. 

For UT, their admissions page for the History PhD program says the following:

**Given the current uncertainties of the pandemic, the Department of History is considering suspending or limiting admission for Fall 2021. No applications can be submitted at this time. An update will be posted here by early October 2020.**

For Northwestern, they have evidently not updated their admissions page since last year (all the dates noted on the page are for last year's cycle). So I reached out to the grad coordinator last week to ask if they are taking people this cycle. The response I got was the following:

"Thank you for your email. We will be providing an update on admissions for Fall 2021 in the next few weeks. Please check our website for updates."

Any insight/vague rumors anyone has on either school that they would be willing to share would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

UT just updated their page: 

*Update, October 9, 2020: The Department of History is now accepting applications for Fall 2021 admission to its graduate program. The GRE will not be required for this year's application.
Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, we expect to admit a smaller number of students than in a typical year. We strongly recommend that all applicants reach out to faculty members in their prospective field before submitting an application.
The submission deadline is December 8, 2020.*

__

Several other PhD programs at Northwestern have announced in the past week that they will not be accepting a cohort. Have not heard anything definitive, but things don't seem promising...

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Is there any information regarding the impact of COVID-19 (and Brexit) on funding in British universities? I mean, it was scarce to begin with, but I assume it's worse now. Last year I was accepted to two PhD programs I was really interested in, but only won a small scholarship that isn't nearly enough for the exorbitant overseas fees. Now that those same insane fees apply to EU students as well, I assume the competition for funding is going to be even tougher. 

Edited by Manana
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@Manana, been there done that!  NBD.  Just say hello, remind them of who you are, offer any update on your progress since last year, and let them know you're interested in re-applying and ask how admissions will be handled. It's also worth emailing the DGS to inquire about re-using your transcripts and GRE scores so you don't have to shell out unnecessary amount of money for another set.

Somewhat good news from Ohio State: It looks like we will have a very small cohort for Fall 2021 after all. but it will be amazingly selective so be in touch with your POIs there about applying.  Any questions, feel free to be in touch with me too!

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Hi everyone! I've lurked on this site for quite some time, but this is my first time posting. I sent out emails to a handful of POI about a month ago. I heard back from most with either neutral or very encouraging responses. There is one that I haven't heard back from (University of Minnesota). If the POI hasn't responded, is it worth it to still apply? Or is that a good indication that they are not taking grad students or not interested in my work? Any insight would be greatly appreciated since I'd rather not take the time to go through the process if it is almost certainly a dead end. Thank you!!

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18 minutes ago, kchistory said:

Hi everyone! I've lurked on this site for quite some time, but this is my first time posting. I sent out emails to a handful of POI about a month ago. I heard back from most with either neutral or very encouraging responses. There is one that I haven't heard back from (University of Minnesota). If the POI hasn't responded, is it worth it to still apply? Or is that a good indication that they are not taking grad students or not interested in my work? Any insight would be greatly appreciated since I'd rather not take the time to go through the process if it is almost certainly a dead end. Thank you!!

@kchistory, the only response that would make me change my plans would be if a POI were to indicate that she's not taking students or is going to retire/change jobs.

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4 hours ago, kchistory said:

Hi everyone! I've lurked on this site for quite some time, but this is my first time posting. I sent out emails to a handful of POI about a month ago. I heard back from most with either neutral or very encouraging responses. There is one that I haven't heard back from (University of Minnesota). If the POI hasn't responded, is it worth it to still apply? Or is that a good indication that they are not taking grad students or not interested in my work? Any insight would be greatly appreciated since I'd rather not take the time to go through the process if it is almost certainly a dead end. Thank you!!

Really sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but UMN decided to shutter admissions this cycle: https://cla.umn.edu/history/graduate/how-apply

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6 hours ago, kchistory said:

Hi everyone! I've lurked on this site for quite some time, but this is my first time posting. I sent out emails to a handful of POI about a month ago. I heard back from most with either neutral or very encouraging responses. There is one that I haven't heard back from (University of Minnesota). If the POI hasn't responded, is it worth it to still apply? Or is that a good indication that they are not taking grad students or not interested in my work? Any insight would be greatly appreciated since I'd rather not take the time to go through the process if it is almost certainly a dead end. Thank you!!

My advisor did not respond and is not great at replying to emails in general, but they are a great advisor. 

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On 10/10/2020 at 6:54 PM, kchistory said:

Hi everyone! I've lurked on this site for quite some time, but this is my first time posting. I sent out emails to a handful of POI about a month ago. I heard back from most with either neutral or very encouraging responses. There is one that I haven't heard back from (University of Minnesota). If the POI hasn't responded, is it worth it to still apply? Or is that a good indication that they are not taking grad students or not interested in my work? Any insight would be greatly appreciated since I'd rather not take the time to go through the process if it is almost certainly a dead end. Thank you!!

Re: Faculty and emails.

It may happen that the person you are contacting is, like @OHSP's advisor, just bad at responding promptly. 

Others may be on precious leave (or maybe not so precious, if it's medical).

Others might be waiting to hear back from their department what the policy is regarding admissions is. Admissions to programs are never decided by any one organism within the university.

 

So, be patient and it is absolutely fine to write a follow up email if you haven't heard anything in a week. (No one will decline your admission for being respectfully insistent). I don't know about you, but my email inbox has tripled with so many online/hybrid classes and less face-to-face talks with students, colleagues, and administrators.

While you should be patient, you should also protect your own interest. In the same way that you insist on a response now, you will be reminding this advisor to submit LORs in the future. 

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I just read an article about Harvard's endowment and it got me thinking in regards to funding: ''Harvard University's endowment gained 7.3% in June, improving from the previous year's 6.5% return despite pandemic-fueled market volatility. /.../ Some economists had posited that Harvard's endowment could shrink in 2020, but markets resurgence through the summer saved the fund from a yearly loss''. The article goes on to list a number of schools that have also seen positive economic results. Still, so many schools are cancelling PhD admissions in order to focus on their current students. Is it a result of other corona-related costs not related to the endowment, or uncertainty with regards to the future? 

 

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/harvard-university-endowment-gains-beats-rival-yale-coronavirus-volatility-narvekar-2020-9-1029632478#

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Hey all, just wondering if anyone is applying to Cambridge for Fall 2021, and if so, are you applying for Gates Cambridge funding? The deadline just passed, and I think it's one of the earliest, so I just thought I would see if anyone else is in the same boat! 

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16 hours ago, Sleepless in skellefteå said:

I just read an article about Harvard's endowment and it got me thinking in regards to funding: ''Harvard University's endowment gained 7.3% in June, improving from the previous year's 6.5% return despite pandemic-fueled market volatility. /.../ Some economists had posited that Harvard's endowment could shrink in 2020, but markets resurgence through the summer saved the fund from a yearly loss''. The article goes on to list a number of schools that have also seen positive economic results. Still, so many schools are cancelling PhD admissions in order to focus on their current students. Is it a result of other corona-related costs not related to the endowment, or uncertainty with regards to the future? 

 

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/harvard-university-endowment-gains-beats-rival-yale-coronavirus-volatility-narvekar-2020-9-1029632478#

Yes.  The endowment is very complex. There are a lot of regulations and conditions tied to maintaining it. The real question is, how much liquidity is there for immediate use? What universities don't want to do is spend more than necessary. It is required by law that universities must use at least 5% of their endowment every year.  Princeton increased its spending from 6% to 7%.  While 1% doesn't sound a lot, one has to consider the expenditures that Princeton has, which go into billions of dollars and it will be years before Princeton can get their 1% back into the endowment in addition to natural growth.

 Part of the reason why endowments are so huge is because they've been built up over the past decades, not five years.  Yet, the morbidity of this whole argument is that universities have been expanding their budgets in such a way that it makes touching endowments even more unbearable. Just because Harvard and Princeton has multi-billion dollar endowment doesn't mean that their operations don't cost that much. They do for a huge variety of reasons. My university's endowment may be substantial for a public R1 but its operation costs actually exceeds it, if I remember correctly. And that's friggin' scary.

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"** We regret to inform you that we will not be admitting students into our MA program for the 2021-22 Academic Year **"

I have just see this from UCSC History department website. I know many universities not accpeting phd students because of funding. But why are they cutting down the self fund MA program? It doesn't make any sence to me

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Well, I have some more news y'all looking to apply to programs this year. My department is taking max 10 people, but there is a current move to not bring a new class this year because the current graduate students didn't receive any help from upper levels of admin since the beginning of the pandemic. In fact, a lot of current 6+ year candidates had their funding cut off by upper levels of admin, which means the department needs to find a way to support them for at least 2 years. In short, admissions are going to be ruthlessly cut in the coming year - and, probably, for the foreseeable future.

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Another update from Michigan. Looks like the department might only take students who are eligible for a specific fellowship that the graduate school splits with the History department. Usually that is around 4 students but this past cycle it was 6. 

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Hi everyone, hope you have been well. I had previously accepted a spot in a one year master's at an Ivy League in history. This program after scholarship has been applied comes with a 28k price tag.

After gaining employment at the University of Denver, I am now eligible for a tuition waiver. DU does not have a history program but does have a program in Library and Information Science (archive focus available.) After speaking with the program director, I could use my tuition waiver and basically attend this program for free.

Does anyone have any advice as to whether I should withdraw from Columbia? The price tag has been hanging over my head. Of course, I would withdraw from Columbia before applying and enrolling in the MLIS out of respect.

Anyone have experience getting an MLIS and then moving to the history PhD? Thanks everyone.

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5 hours ago, jocelynbymarcjacobs said:

Hi everyone, hope you have been well. I had previously accepted a spot in a one year master's at an Ivy League in history. This program after scholarship has been applied comes with a 28k price tag.

After gaining employment at the University of Denver, I am now eligible for a tuition waiver. DU does not have a history program but does have a program in Library and Information Science (archive focus available.) After speaking with the program director, I could use my tuition waiver and basically attend this program for free.

Does anyone have any advice as to whether I should withdraw from Columbia? The price tag has been hanging over my head. Of course, I would withdraw from Columbia before applying and enrolling in the MLIS out of respect.

Anyone have experience getting an MLIS and then moving to the history PhD? Thanks everyone.

Honestly, this is your personal choice.  What is your ultimate goal?

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50 minutes ago, TMP said:

Honestly, this is your personal choice.  What is your ultimate goal?

Hey there, thank you for responding. My ultimate goal, like many others, would be to teach history at the university level. However, I do recognize that this is becoming an increasingly difficult goal to meet, so I'm not sure if adding an additional 28k in student loans is a smart idea (I already have 20k from my undergrad.)

My thought is that it may be possible to complete the MLIS and then apply to only fully-funded PhD programs after. Of course, the Ivy League will probably look much better on any PhD program applications in the future, but on the other hand, I do get the sense that it is a cash cow program.

I do wish to stay in the Denver area after grad school, so I want to apply to CU Boulder primarily for my PhD, if they end up hiring another modern Europeanist.

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A couple things, in no real order:

Yes, you can absolutely get into a good PhD program off an MLS.

As someone who is on the job market with a PhD and likes being in archives, not having an MLS has hurt my job prospects.

Your sense about the master's program is spot on. 

Regardless of the graduate programs you attend, it is unlikely that you can both successfully pursue an academic or academic adjacent career and stay within the Denver area. 

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32 minutes ago, telkanuru said:

A couple things, in no real order:

Yes, you can absolutely get into a good PhD program off an MLS.

As someone who is on the job market with a PhD and likes being in archives, not having an MLS has hurt my job prospects.

Your sense about the master's program is spot on. 

Regardless of the graduate programs you attend, it is unlikely that you can both successfully pursue an academic or academic adjacent career and stay within the Denver area. 

Thank you, as always, for your excellent input.

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On 9/25/2020 at 8:06 AM, emhafe said:

My university told departments to spread 1 cohort across 2 years to prevent a full year without acceptances. This information won't be publicized and I suspect will be common. The philosophy department at the university filled up all their slots for this fall and won't be able to take anyone until fall 2022. 

@emhafeI'm not sure if this is gauche to ask -- if so, please disregard! -- but would it be possible to find out what university you're at that advised departments, presumably including History, to basically cut the cohort size in half? 

I'm assuming smaller cohort sizes is going to be the norm for most programs this year, but where I can more or less confirm it is the case for programs I am considering applying to, I'm trying to do so. It helps that some programs are overtly broadcasting this information (e.g. Rutgers, UT). 

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