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2 hours ago, Sigaba said:

If the comments and questions on the aforementioned symposium/video call are any indication, the decision making process may allow for a rebuild that helps in the long run. As an example, if return on investment (ROI) is increasingly determined by key performance indicators (KPI), professors who put their feet on their desks for decades may be asked to retire in favor of academics who publish, teach, mentor, and, most importantly, participate in the stalled project of making academic history more relevant to everyday life.

 

Yep, this is exactly the type of thing I'd hope for. Maybe this is an unpopular opinion around here (I seem to have a lot of them), but KPIs should be a part of tenure reform. Historical research is inherently different from scientific research, but the current structure serves as a disincentive to produce research. There are many scholars who never produce second monographs, or many articles after tenure. Once you're in, it's bloody difficult to be forced out.

To your last point, about making academic history relevant, I see many issues in contemporary politics that academic history could shed light on. Historians of science, for example, could explain why public trust in science has decreased so much since the end of the Cold War, or explicate the issues with the current structure of grant proposals and research funding.

 

3 hours ago, telkanuru said:

Sure, if you're not one of the tens of thousands of people caught in the blaze. 

But I'm staring down the barrel of the job market next year, looking at the hiring freezes, closures, and the like, thinking: I've gotten myself all worked up for the worst case scenario, that the system will break.

But what if something even worse happens: the system doesn't break?

I don't see a world in which the system doesn't begin to break over the next 10 years, though. I agree, if you're on the outside, it's a lot less fear-inducing than being on the inside. It's part of the reason why i left, after all. I tend to believe, though, that people in secure positions will be able to protect themselves (barring university closings), but everyone not already in a secure position is screwed.

If it doesn't, though, what happens? Do admins use this crisis to further justify contingent faculty/graduate student teaching? I'm concerned that yes, they will. Why bother replacing a tenure line when you can just hire someone contingently? After all, it's cheaper and allows you to free up money to pay for yet another admin.

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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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3 hours ago, psstein said:

Do admins use this crisis to further justify contingent faculty/graduate student teaching?

A completely unreported aspect of this, by the way, is that courts have steadily chipped away at the legal scaffolding for adjunct faculty unions. It's just a matter of time until they're taken out of the NLRA completely.
 

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On 4/27/2020 at 5:15 PM, AfricanusCrowther said:

A completely unreported aspect of this, by the way, is that courts have steadily chipped away at the legal scaffolding for adjunct faculty unions. It's just a matter of time until they're taken out of the NLRA completely.
 

Here's where, in years past, @TakeruK and I would renew our debate over the propriety of educators belonging to unions.

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Hello all.  I am looking to apply this fall for entrance in Fall 2021.  My interest is Early Modern European history.  I was wondering, given the financial needs of universities with the Covid crisis, if some schools would be open to accepting students who would be willing to pay their way?  I may be able to do so but I didn’t know if university history programs can even handle such a proposition?  It would seem a net positive for them if a largely self-directed student is adding tuition (and not taking funding from others) when the university needs it most.  If my stats, sample, and recommends are otherwise competitive, could it work?  Has it ever happened?

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1 hour ago, Carltonjacobs said:

Hello all.  I am looking to apply this fall for entrance in Fall 2021.  My interest is Early Modern European history.  I was wondering, given the financial needs of universities with the Covid crisis, if some schools would be open to accepting students who would be willing to pay their way?  I may be able to do so but I didn’t know if university history programs can even handle such a proposition?  It would seem a net positive for them if a largely self-directed student is adding tuition (and not taking funding from others) when the university needs it most.  If my stats, sample, and recommends are otherwise competitive, could it work?  Has it ever happened?

I don't know if you're looking for the MA or the PhD, but do not under any circumstances pay for the PhD.  You WILL be valued less by the faculty (and fellowship and search committees down the road) than those on funding packages. Universities are getting hit but your money is just as good as any college president choosing to give 10% of his salary, which is mere $80K out of $800K (plus plenty of benefits like housing). If you want to help, get on the train to pressure administrators to cut their own salary even deeper than 10%, grant more financial aid to undergraduate students, extend a semester's worth of funding to ALL graduate students, and not lay off contingent faculty (including adjuncts).  Go on the Chronicle of Higher Education to get the latest news on COVID-19 on campus (those articles are free).

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Hello, everyone! I am a current Master's student in European History, and will be applying to Religious Studies and History programs next year.

My broad area of interest is the devotional lives of women in late antique to central medieval Europe. I am interested in how women participated in religion, particularly the cult of saints, and how they formed identities around their religious lives. In this, I am interested in an anthropological study and using an examination of the uses of religious art, object, and space. I will likely focus on the nobility and questions of religious access and performity (i.e.,  questions of true belief versus performing religion for social/political reasons). To a lesser extent, I am interested in the idea of continuity from the classical world that Peter Brown puts forth, thinking about (1) continuity in religious practice from paganism to Christianity and (2) issues of classical reception. I also hope to address issues of cultural exchange in religious practice. Much of the current historical discourse about the cult of saints is not specifically focused on women, so I hope to contribute to the historiography by placing this devotion specifically in a feminist history framework. 

I took the GRE and got a 160V/5.5AW. My undergrad GPA was a 3.5 and my grad GPA is, currently, 3.3 (which I hope to raise after this semester). In terms of languages, I have Italian (fluent), Latin (reading), French (reading), and will be taking an intensive German for research course this summer. I am also working on Ancient Greek and hope to take an Ancient Greek course in Spring 2021. My writing sample will be an article I recently published about gender, domestic service, and power in Renaissance Tuscany. I have published two articles total and two book reviews as blog posts for my program's blog. I am also in talks to publish a journalistic history article on a local site, though it does not relate to what I want to study. 

So far, I have gotten positive responses from:

  • Penn, Religious Studies (Durmaz, Schaefer) -- (talked on the phone, encouraged to apply)
  • Fordham, History (Bruce, Paul) -- (will talk on the phone next week, encouraged to apply)

And, unfortunately, negative responses from:

  • Loyola, History (Stabler Miller) 
  • Michigan, History (French) 
  • Northwestern (Elliott) 

I am still searching for places to apply, but the end of the semester has completely taken up my time! 

Edited by MtrlHstryGrl
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On 4/17/2020 at 2:05 AM, bibliophile0521 said:

For the upcoming application season I’m looking to apply to History MA programs. I’m not looking too much at joint or PhD programs as I do not have a definitive historical focus. My biggest issue at the moment is finding very universities that offer a terminal MA program. Most universities don't seem to offer them or if they do, there is no funding involved. I can't afford to take 50-100K in loans for an MA... Additionally, I don't even know where to apply (other than my undergrad institution) so I'm seeking recommendations for schools based on my stats or if one knows of historians in my areas of interest. TIA!

Villanova University offers a funded terminal Master's program.

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39 minutes ago, MtrlHstryGrl said:

Hello, everyone! I am a current Master's student in European History, and will be applying to Religious Studies and History programs next year.

My broad area of interest is the devotional lives of women in late antique to central medieval Europe. I am interested in how women participated in religion, particularly the cult of saints, and how they formed identities around their religious lives. In this, I am interested in an anthropological study and using an examination of the uses of religious art, object, and space. I will likely focus on the nobility and questions of religious access and performity (i.e.,  questions of true belief versus performing religion for social/political reasons). To a lesser extent, I am interested in the idea of continuity from the classical world that Peter Brown puts forth, thinking about (1) continuity in religious practice from paganism to Christianity and (2) issues of classical reception. I also hope to address issues of cultural exchange in religious practice. Much of the current historical discourse about the cult of saints is not specifically focused on women, so I hope to contribute to the historiography by placing this devotion specifically in a feminist history framework. 

I took the GRE and got a 160V/5.5AW. My undergrad GPA was a 3.5 and my grad GPA is, currently, 3.3 (which I hope to raise after this semester). In terms of languages, I have Italian (fluent), Latin (reading), French (reading), and will be taking an intensive German for research course this summer. I am also working on Ancient Greek and hope to take an Ancient Greek course in Spring 2021. My writing sample will be an article I recently published about gender, domestic service, and power in Renaissance Tuscany. I have published two articles total and two book reviews as blog posts for my program's blog. I am also in talks to publish a journalistic history article on a local site, though it does not relate to what I want to study. 

So far, I have gotten positive responses from:

  • Penn, Religious Studies (Durmaz, Schaefer) -- (talked on the phone, encouraged to apply)
  • Fordham, History (Bruce, Paul) -- (will talk on the phone next week, encouraged to apply)

And, unfortunately, negative responses from:

  • Loyola, History (Stabler Miller) 
  • Michigan, History (French) 
  • Northwestern (Elliott) 

I am still searching for places to apply, but the end of the semester has completely taken up my time! 

Nicely done, @MtrlHstryGrl.

I recommend that you consider the benefits and challenges of reorganizing the paragraph in bold type. That is, lead with your thumbnail of the historiographical waters in which you want to swim. I urge you to define more clearly the time period and region of interest. I ask that you clarify what you mean by religious art, object, and space. I recommend that you find a way to state your position on the relationships among feminist history, the history of gender, religious history, and European history. (A way to start this process of refinement is to ask yourself "What classes would I teach were I hired at Happyland University?")

I suggest that you rework entirely the sentence that is in bold face and underlined. How can you give yourself more flexibility on your topic of research? (In my experience, words like "provisionally" work wonders.) I urge you not to take a binary approach to beliefs and social/political practice aspect of your work. Consider thinking about the interplay between belief and social/political practice as a spectrum along which religious practitioners ranged across during the course of their lives. Or consider thinking about a "constellation of motivational factors." Ultimately, you will need to indicate which of the two was more important most of the time, but if you phrase the debate in black and white terms you will expose yourself unnecessarily to withering criticism. 

I recommend that you take a deep dive in  @telkanuru's post as well as @Sparky's . Their research interests are not apples to apples to your oranges yet their historical sensibilities may offer insights into how to develop yours.

I suggest that you find a way to talk about your previous work in a way that is more about how that work has helped your understanding of the past and less about checking boxes.

Please keep in mind that if you pursue my recommendations, you will likely find that the way you describe your interests and aspirations will be different almost every time you put pen to paper. And that's okay. What you are seeking to do right now (IMO) is to refine your description so that the differences between versions are increasingly minor.

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19 minutes ago, Sigaba said:

Nicely done, @MtrlHstryGrl.

I recommend that you consider the benefits and challenges of reorganizing the paragraph in bold type. That is, lead with your thumbnail of the historiographical waters in which you want to swim. I urge you to define more clearly the time period and region of interest. I ask that you clarify what you mean by religious art, object, and space. I recommend that you find a way to state your position on the relationships among feminist history, the history of gender, religious history, and European history. (A way to start this process of refinement is to ask yourself "What classes would I teach were I hired at Happyland University?")

I suggest that you rework entirely the sentence that is in bold face and underlined. How can you give yourself more flexibility on your topic of research? (In my experience, words like "provisionally" work wonders.) I urge you not to take a binary approach to beliefs and social/political practice aspect of your work. Consider thinking about the interplay between belief and social/political practice as a spectrum along which religious practitioners ranged across during the course of their lives. Or consider thinking about a "constellation of motivational factors." Ultimately, you will need to indicate which of the two was more important most of the time, but if you phrase the debate in black and white terms you will expose yourself unnecessarily to withering criticism. 

I recommend that you take a deep dive in  @telkanuru's post as well as @Sparky's . Their research interests are not apples to apples to your oranges yet their historical sensibilities may offer insights into how to develop yours.

I suggest that you find a way to talk about your previous work in a way that is more about how that work has helped your understanding of the past and less about checking boxes.

Please keep in mind that if you pursue my recommendations, you will likely find that the way you describe your interests and aspirations will be different almost every time you put pen to paper. And that's okay. What you are seeking to do right now (IMO) is to refine your description so that the differences between versions are increasingly minor.

Thank you so much! I really value your input as a general rule, and this is no exception. I will definitely use this in the refinement of my interest statement! 

Funny you should mention the classes that I would teach-- in the Penn program, the qualifying exam is designing and defending two courses. Your suggestion will be helpful in that and refining my interests! 

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8 hours ago, MtrlHstryGrl said:
  • Penn, Religious Studies (Durmaz, Schaefer) -- (talked on the phone, encouraged to apply)
  • Fordham, History (Bruce, Paul) -- (will talk on the phone next week, encouraged to apply)

I wouldn't necessarily encourage applications to either of these programs, particularly in this job market. Others whose work I would suggest, like Linda Coon, are also not at programs that I can recommend attending. 

There is Alison Moore and Isabelle Cochline at UToronto, Alison Beech at St. Andrews, Anne Lester at JHU, and Amy Remensnyder (my diss adviser) at Brown. RF Brown at Chicago is best avoided for reasons you should google. I'll think on it a bit more, and let you know if anything comes to me.

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13 hours ago, telkanuru said:

There is Alison Moore and Isabelle Cochline at UToronto, Alison Beech at St. Andrews, Anne Lester at JHU, and Amy Remensnyder (my diss adviser) at Brown. RF Brown at Chicago is best avoided for reasons you should google. I'll think on it a bit more, and let you know if anything comes to me.

Thank you-- this is very helpful! I am looking at higher ranked programs as well-- Notre Dame and Columbia specifically. 

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1 hour ago, MtrlHstryGrl said:

Thank you-- this is very helpful! I am looking at higher ranked programs as well-- Notre Dame and Columbia specifically. 

Adam Kosto is quite simply one of the best all-around humans in academia. He has been incredibly generous to me, personally, with his time and energy despite having no reason to do so. If you read the intro to Brown et al.'s Documentary Culture and the Laity, you will see that I am hardly an exception. The graduate school treats grad students like trash, though.

I didn't actually pay attention to whom, if anyone, ND got to replace Tom Noble, but definitely make sure you visit South Bend before deciding to live there for 5+ years.

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Oh, how could I forget Fiona Griffths at Stanford. And the other medievalist there, Rowan, is an old mentor whom I would also highly recommend.

Keep an eye on who is appointed from the search at Yale this past year, as Anders has left for greener pastures and I believe Paul has made noise about retiring.

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7 hours ago, telkanuru said:

Keep an eye on who is appointed from the search at Yale this past year, as Anders has left for greener pastures and I believe Paul has made noise about retiring.

I actually have been in contact with someone at Yale, albeit in Religious Studies, and will be applying to that program as well! 

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I just wanted to thank everyone who has written in this thread so far. I am not yet sure if I will apply to study religious history at a divinity school or try to get into a regular history program but these answers has helped me think about my direction in academia and what kind of narrative I want to craft about myself in general. Does anyone have any thoughts about how the Covid-crisis will affect admission rates for MA-programs? It seems to be clear that funding for PhD's will be harder to come across. However, I am from a Scandinavian country where you can get very favorable loans for living expenses while studying abroad and where there is a specific scholarship that covers half of your tuition costs if you get accepted to a reputable American university, so I feel that it would make sense to consider unfunded MA-offers if I would qualify for them. 

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On 4/20/2020 at 5:48 AM, automatic_peas said:

NYU could be another place to check out, because their Food Studies program could have nice crossover. I also know a couple food history scholars of America who got their PhD in Brown's American Studies department, as well as UNC Chapel Hill's program, so that could be worth looking into. 

DM me about nyu if you want. 

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Hi, everyone. 

I have been spending some time trying to refine and rework my interests a little, and wanted to get some thoughts, if possible. It ended up being a bit longer than my first go 'round, but I think it is a bit stronger!

  • My work aims to close two historiographical gaps. Scholarship about women’s religious lives has traditionally focused on cloistered women project, and much of the work done on the cult of saints is not centered on women. I am broadly interested in the devotional lives of lay women and the ways in which they formed their identites around and within religious life, particularly in the context of the cult of saints. Provincially, my project will focus on lay female nobility in particular, their roles in religion and ritual, and the relationship between noble women, power, and religion. This was expressed through patronage of religious art and charters of religious spaces, such as monasteries and churches; the public performance of religion, both as expressions of belief and of social standing; and access to shrines and saints' bodies. Further, women's use and/or ownership of religious art (particularly icons), objects (relics/reliquaries, jewelry), and space (social geography of churches, if that makes sense) is of particular interest. I intend to use an anthropological study, putting it at the intersection of religious history, gender history, and medieval history. I have secondary interests in Peter Brown's idea of continuity over change and classical reception and the influence of cultural exchange and communication on aesthetics and practice. 

 

I want to thank @telkanuru for suggesting Toronto. I spoke with Professors More and Cochelin today and it was a great talk, and their The Other Sister project is a very exciting initiative that I would love to work in. 

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7 hours ago, MtrlHstryGrl said:

Hi, everyone. 

I have been spending some time trying to refine and rework my interests a little, and wanted to get some thoughts, if possible. It ended up being a bit longer than my first go 'round, but I think it is a bit stronger!

  • My work aims to close two historiographical gaps. Scholarship about women’s religious lives has traditionally focused on cloistered women project, and much of the work done on the cult of saints is not centered on women. I am broadly interested in the devotional lives of lay women and the ways in which they formed their identites around and within religious life, particularly in the context of the cult of saints. Provisionally, my project will focus on lay female nobility in particular, their roles in religion and ritual, and the relationship between [among] noble women, power, and religion. This was expressed through patronage of religious art and charters of religious spaces, such as monasteries and churches; the public performance of religion, both as expressions of belief and of social standing; and access to shrines and saints' bodies. Further, women's use and/or ownership of religious art (particularly icons), objects (relics/reliquaries, jewelry), and space (social geography of churches, if that makes sense) is of particular interest. I intend to use an anthropological study, putting it at the intersection of religious history, gender history, and medieval history. I have secondary interests in Peter Brown's idea of continuity over change and classical reception and the influence of cultural exchange and communication on aesthetics and practice.  

@MtrlHstryGrl thank you for posting your revised statement of your historical interests. What you're doing is very difficult. I encourage you to keep working on it. What follow are a few comments. You will note that the comments are general. This approach is intentional as I want to avoid any grey areas related to academic integrity. 

  • I recommend that you consider the implications of your two sentences.
    • Your thumbnail implies a failure of an established approach. Is that a fair and accurate assessment?
    • If so, do you want to say it so directly in your SOP? I will recommend that you do not. 
    • "cloistered women project" strikes me as awkward and undefined (from a provincial Americanst's perspective).
  • The two gaps you intend to close aren't jumping out at me, so here's my read back.
    • Scholarship on women's religious lives focuses on cloistered women.
    • Scholarship on the cult of saints is not centered on women.
    • It's unclear to me how your work will close those two gaps.
  • The highlighted "this" is not attached to anything and can therefore refer to almost anything in the previous sentence.
    • The rest of the sentence could be clearer, if not broken into two complete sentences.
  • Your "anthropological" study is unclear as there are many types of anthropology. Which sub discipline do you intend to use? ("Cultural exchange" is more of a clue than a straightforward cue.) How the use of anthropology provide additional historical insight as opposed to the application of a different historical method? The sentence implies that an anthropological approach could resolve the tensions among religious, gender, and medieval history without indicating how.
  • The where and when of your interests could be refined.
  • Your current word count is 209.
    • As a rule of thumb, a double spaced page with one inch margins can hold about 250 words and it takes about two minutes to read a single page aloud.
      • Can you get the word count down to 125? 
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Hi everyone! 

I will be applying to PhD Programs with a focus on American history, particularly 19th and 20th century American history. 

My stats: 3.7 GPA from top-20 US university, 3.93 History Major GPA, MA in Political Theory with 3.8 GPA. Honors thesis, 3 faculty awards, and no publications. 

My brief interests ( i can expand if anyone wants) : Carceral state development, influence of American liberalism and neoliberalism on the expansion of carceral state.

Schools interested in: Northwestern, Yale, Cornell, UMichigan, UW-Madison 

My questions: Are my stats too low? And also my GRE: I got a 164 Verbal but an abysmal 145 in Quant. Will this affect my chances? 

Are there any other programs with strong people in my field that you would recommend? 

 

Thank you guys!! I love this thread. I did a brief stint at PoliSci, hated the discipline's approach to scholarly questions, and now I"m back to history. Overall a much friendlier environment for sure. 

 

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26 minutes ago, shyareene said:

Hi everyone! 

I will be applying to PhD Programs with a focus on American history, particularly 19th and 20th century American history. 

My stats: 3.7 GPA from top-20 US university, 3.93 History Major GPA, MA in Political Theory with 3.8 GPA. Honors thesis, 3 faculty awards, and no publications. 

My brief interests ( i can expand if anyone wants) : Carceral state development, influence of American liberalism and neoliberalism on the expansion of carceral state.

Schools interested in: Northwestern, Yale, Cornell, UMichigan, UW-Madison 

My questions: Are my stats too low? And also my GRE: I got a 164 Verbal but an abysmal 145 in Quant. Will this affect my chances? 

Are there any other programs with strong people in my field that you would recommend? 

 

Thank you guys!! I love this thread. I did a brief stint at PoliSci, hated the discipline's approach to scholarly questions, and now I"m back to history. Overall a much friendlier environment for sure. 

 

All those programs are fine and I think there's another poster here who works on similar questions, but the name currently eludes me. Your GRE score and GPA are fine. Some programs are dumping the GRE and I suspect to see that trend increase over time.

I'd suggest worrying about the things you can control, like your writing sample and statement of purpose.

BTW, not to discourage anyone, but I suspect the economic fallout from COVID-19 will result in more grad school applicants, but also smaller intakes than usual. Expect this cycle to be very, very competitive.

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22 minutes ago, psstein said:

 

BTW, not to discourage anyone, but I suspect the economic fallout from COVID-19 will result in more grad school applicants, but also smaller intakes than usual. Expect this cycle to be very, very competitive.

Thanks so much for your feedback! I totally hear you and I think that's very true. It's scarier because of the already horrible job market. I"m a bit afraid of how this will impact future trends in academia. 

Im in the process of workshopping my SOP and I feel a bit overwhelmed- not sure how or where to start since history SOPs in some programs tend to shorter and others much longer. Do you have any tips or links to any tips on the most important things to keep in mind while writing a history SOP? 

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Just now, shyareene said:

Thanks so much for your feedback! I totally hear you and I think that's very true. It's scarier because of the already horrible job market. I"m a bit afraid of how this will impact future trends in academia. 

Im in the process of workshopping my SOP and I feel a bit overwhelmed- not sure how or where to start since history SOPs in some programs tend to shorter and others much longer. Do you have any tips or links to any tips on the most important things to keep in mind while writing a history SOP? 

I would go in with a very clear understanding that you're going to need to look at non-academic careers. I'm personally on leave from my program right now, but if I go back, I do not intend to seek an academic career. I would tailor my experience and work so that I'd track explicitly towards a non-academic career.

About SoPs: there's a lot to mention, but there are two important questions: what do you want to do and why can only you do it?

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