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7 hours ago, Sleepless in skellefteå said:

 I will also try to build a relationship strong enough for a LOR during the last quarter. We do not have any concept such as office-hours or undergrad-research at my institution, so I have found it hard earlier (I really enjoyed the opportunity to interact with professors more closely in the U.S), but I will be writing my senior thesis this quarter so hopefully it will work. 

I know. I mentioned it because the same was in my home country. Being faculty now, I would still found it really odd if you didn't have ONE letter from your institution. Of course, you will not have the same relationship or familiarity to them as you probably got in your exchange program, and that's fine. 

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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 6/15/2020 at 12:22 PM, Sigaba said:

I just attended an online panel discussion hosted by the Chronicle of Higher Education and sponsored by Deloitte. The topic was "Sustaining the Private College Business Model in a Global Crisis". 

The discussion was recorded and I will post a link when it becomes available.

Here's the link to a recording of the discussion.

There's a "commercial break" about a third of the way through that features a conversation that includes some folks from Deloitte. I would not fast forward through this conversation.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

-What makes for a good SoP introduction? This is the section I worry most about, since it will ideally set the tone for everything that follows and since I'm not sure how to approach it. 

-Should I mention my job in my SoP? I've been the undergrad version of an assistant for a while now, and while my advisor is not a historian (classics), I got to do some useful things in that job and it played a big role in me deciding to continue my education rather than going for a job post-BA. However, I don't want to clutter my application if it isn't worth mentioning.

-Lastly, do we have any sense of how (if at all) COVID will influence applications and admissions for 2021? 

 

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7 hours ago, cladthecrab said:

-What makes for a good SoP introduction? This is the section I worry most about, since it will ideally set the tone for everything that follows and since I'm not sure how to approach it. 

-Should I mention my job in my SoP? I've been the undergrad version of an assistant for a while now, and while my advisor is not a historian (classics), I got to do some useful things in that job and it played a big role in me deciding to continue my education rather than going for a job post-BA. However, I don't want to clutter my application if it isn't worth mentioning.

-Lastly, do we have any sense of how (if at all) COVID will influence applications and admissions for 2021? 

 

1) Unfortunately, there is no formula for a good intro paragraph. I am not good with first paragraphs, so when I applied I used this annotated sample from Berkeley. Notice that the first paragraph does not linger on the author "passion" for history. If you are applying for grad school, we can agree you are passionate about it :) .

2) I think you should mention your job as formative to your research experience and research questions. Remember the SOP is an argumentative essay, so use your job as evidence to support your argument (that you have interesting questions and you have the potential of becoming a great scholar). 

3) Anyone who is saying they know, they are lying. Nobody knows. We barely knows what's happening in the Fall (and we are preparing multiple scenarios). 

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10 hours ago, cladthecrab said:

-What makes for a good SoP introduction? This is the section I worry most about, since it will ideally set the tone for everything that follows and since I'm not sure how to approach it. 

 

 

I briefly discussed an anecdote, the story of what led me to my research question. I think this is a good strategy if it gets you to your research questions quickly (the “why I became a historian” story is better for a personal statement.)

As to your third question, my department will, at the least, be admitting fewer students.

 

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Does anyone have a good sense of how many programs will actually stick with the GRE requirement this year? I know there is an at-home version but the nature & number of requirements to take the test at home seems incredibly prohibitive and I have a hard time imagining that most applicants will be able to take the test. Seems incredibly out of touch to be requiring scores at this point. I am becoming very anxious because there is no way I can make the at-home test work with my living situation/tech equipment, but I don't want to be viewed as a "problem" if I bring this up in my first communication with departments in the coming weeks...

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34 minutes ago, coffeehum said:

Does anyone have a good sense of how many programs will actually stick with the GRE requirement this year? 

I recommend that you look up each program to see if the requirements have been modified for this application season. Pick a date and if a department has not made a change to the requirement by then, you can decide your next steps.

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15 hours ago, coffeehum said:

Does anyone have a good sense of how many programs will actually stick with the GRE requirement this year? I know there is an at-home version but the nature & number of requirements to take the test at home seems incredibly prohibitive and I have a hard time imagining that most applicants will be able to take the test. Seems incredibly out of touch to be requiring scores at this point. I am becoming very anxious because there is no way I can make the at-home test work with my living situation/tech equipment, but I don't want to be viewed as a "problem" if I bring this up in my first communication with departments in the coming weeks...

For the short answer, see @Sigaba's suggestion. 

I'll address two things that are more long term. [These are things I usually comment on: basically an invitation to leave the undergraduate mentality and transition to that of the graduate student]

1) One of the things few people tell you about graduate programs in the humanities is the autonomy you are given and are expected to use. This means that it is your responsibility to communicate with the right people in a professional and timely manner. As I always say: your graduate career begins with your application (not when you are admitted). Show that you are a professional scholar and ask for the information that you want. You will probably get better answers that will ease your anxiety (even if the answer is "we don't know") than asking in this forum to speculate. (I completely agree with your take on the home GRE. I think GRE are prohibitive altogether, even without the pandemic. Man, I think all standardized tests should be banned!). 

2) I understand what you mean by not wanting to be a "problem." Believe me, I have a great relationship with my advisor and still walk on eggshells and write emails like a million times. However, I'd invite you to take a different approach with an example. I'm faculty, and if an applicant sent me an email in the middle of the summer asking about GRE requirements and lashing out their situation and their opinions, you are right. It wouldn't cause a good impression on me. However, if you first email was: "Dear Dr. XXX, I hope this email finds you well [lame, but you have to]. I'm writing because I'm interested in applying to the History Program at Y University. My research interests are [two sentences]. I have experience in../conducted research on.../I would further examine... . I wonder if you have any insights on the application requirements and the process, especially regarding the impact of Covid". That alone will get you a response without venting on someone's inbox. At the same time, check with program administrators and/or DGS because they will have the most updated administrative answers. Remember that GREs are usually (but not always) school-wide requirements so professors often do not have the bits and pieces of these. In short, if you do not want to be a problem, then don't be a problem, which is not the same as don't do anything or don't stand up for yourself. You SHOULD ask questions. 

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1 hour ago, AP said:

For the short answer, see @Sigaba's suggestion. 

I'll address two things that are more long term. [These are things I usually comment on: basically an invitation to leave the undergraduate mentality and transition to that of the graduate student]

1) One of the things few people tell you about graduate programs in the humanities is the autonomy you are given and are expected to use. This means that it is your responsibility to communicate with the right people in a professional and timely manner. As I always say: your graduate career begins with your application (not when you are admitted). Show that you are a professional scholar and ask for the information that you want. You will probably get better answers that will ease your anxiety (even if the answer is "we don't know") than asking in this forum to speculate. (I completely agree with your take on the home GRE. I think GRE are prohibitive altogether, even without the pandemic. Man, I think all standardized tests should be banned!). 

2) I understand what you mean by not wanting to be a "problem." Believe me, I have a great relationship with my advisor and still walk on eggshells and write emails like a million times. However, I'd invite you to take a different approach with an example. I'm faculty, and if an applicant sent me an email in the middle of the summer asking about GRE requirements and lashing out their situation and their opinions, you are right. It wouldn't cause a good impression on me. However, if you first email was: "Dear Dr. XXX, I hope this email finds you well [lame, but you have to]. I'm writing because I'm interested in applying to the History Program at Y University. My research interests are [two sentences]. I have experience in../conducted research on.../I would further examine... . I wonder if you have any insights on the application requirements and the process, especially regarding the impact of Covid". That alone will get you a response without venting on someone's inbox. At the same time, check with program administrators and/or DGS because they will have the most updated administrative answers. Remember that GREs are usually (but not always) school-wide requirements so professors often do not have the bits and pieces of these. In short, if you do not want to be a problem, then don't be a problem, which is not the same as don't do anything or don't stand up for yourself. You SHOULD ask questions. 

I have been planning to reach out to faculty and program administrators within the next couple weeks and wasn't sure when to bring up the GRE issue/how to frame it, so this is an incredibly helpful response. Thank you. Your point about shifting from the undergraduate mentality to that of the graduate student is also well taken. 

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4 hours ago, coffeehum said:

I have been planning to reach out to faculty and program administrators within the next couple weeks and wasn't sure when to bring up the GRE issue/how to frame it, so this is an incredibly helpful response. Thank you. Your point about shifting from the undergraduate mentality to that of the graduate student is also well taken. 

it is worth bringing up the issue of the GRE. You won't be the only one figuring out whether to study for it at all when your time could be better spent continuing to revise your SOP and writing sample.  Right now, everyone is very tied up with the fall semester preparations (including the latest drama over international students) that graduate admissions may be sitting on the back burner.  Truthfully, I think you may be best off asking the Graduate School administration about the GRE, it's the one that usually wants it, not the departments (at least not in History).

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21 hours ago, coffeehum said:

 Thank you. Your point about shifting from the undergraduate mentality to that of the graduate student is also well taken. 

^This guidance is golden. I received a similar note from a professor who was something of a big deal but it didn't really resonate at the time.

16 hours ago, TMP said:

Truthfully, I think you may be best off asking the Graduate School administration about the GRE, it's the one that usually wants it, not the departments (at least not in History).

I would not ask a professor about the GRE requirements. IME, the question may come across as the dreaded "Is this going to be on the midterm?" question some undergraduates invariably ask when a historian is leaning into an important point. Also, you never know when you might be dealing with an academic who has the mindset "I took the GRE, so why shouldn't you?"

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5 hours ago, Sigaba said:

I would not ask a professor about the GRE requirements. IME, the question may come across as the dreaded "Is this going to be on the midterm?" question some undergraduates invariably ask when a historian is leaning into an important point. Also, you never know when you might be dealing with an academic who has the mindset "I took the GRE, so why shouldn't you?"

I would also suggest that some faculty aren't always keenly attuned to the administrative parts of any department. While I was still in graduate school, both of my supervisors were very much of that mold. TT or tenured faculty have many important things on their plates at any given time. Bureaucracy usually is not among the more important elements.

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On 7/8/2020 at 3:27 PM, coffeehum said:

I have been planning to reach out to faculty and program administrators within the next couple weeks.

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 research saw their projects disappear). Staff did too. Admin, believe or not, did too. Our situations are all different, some with kids, some with visas, some with racial justice concerns, some with loneliness, some with illness. 

This year, you are anxious about applying, but also anxious about applying in the middle of a pandemic. You have many questions for which there are no answers. We have many questions for which there are no answers. I have no idea how I will teach in the Fall. I have no idea how I can re-structure my book project so that I push going to the archive. 

All this is to say that in the same way the pandemic is making you anxious about the unknown, it is making us worried. This might translate into people taking longer to respond to your emails as some folks are WFH with kids or caring for others, or they are simply just taking some time off. People might not have an answer for all of you questions or that answer being contingent on many variables. People might understand your concerns but might regrettably not be able to do anything about it (I really wish I could unilaterally abolish GREs). 

In other words, be patient. While the summer is usually a good time to write to faculty because we don't have any meetings or deadlines (we are just out in the field going to archives), this summer is way different. 

( @coffeehum this is not to you specifically, but you made me think about how I would react if a student sent me an email this week to discuss admissions. So, thank you for the inspiration!)

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Hi! These threads are amazing to read and I’ve become increasingly encouraged by them and decided to reach out and ask a few questions. I am currently a high school history teacher (going into my 5th year) applying to History Ph.D. programs next year (or perhaps the year after). I received my BA in History and my MA in Social Studies Education. I’ve begun researching potential departments and faculty that could be a good match. My broad area of interest is in political development, particularly the development of a conservative political identity (i.e. pro-capitalist, anti-welfare state, anti-union, etc.) in the post-war period, but beginning as a business-elite backlash to the broad social and economic policies of the New Deal. Bridging my two fields of study is the fact that I want to explore how business elites and their organizations funded or created programs and curriculum aimed at interesting high school and post-secondary students in capitalism and the corporate structure, generally. (This is much in vein of recent works by Kim Phillips-Fein, Kevin Kruse, and Nancy MacLean.)

My undergraduate GPA was 3.25 (a few rough semesters due to family/medical issues but a clear upward trajectory) and my graduate GPA was a 4.0. My undergraduate thesis was about educational law, policy, and their outcomes. I also wrote a decent-length paper about my research interest in the development of a conservative political identity. No publications. 

I’ve begun doing detailed research on programs and faculty but still have two major questions:

 

How closely do research interests need align? My research interests don’t exactly fall under “History of Education” (an extremely limited field) — rather, education is merely one institution through which some political identity was spread. I'm also unsure if they're too narrow to fit under categories such as "History of Capitalism" or "Economic History". 

 

Is one faculty member with related interests enough to warrant applying to a program? Perhaps if I better understood how closely interests need align (generally, I’m looking for people doing either a.) political development/identity research or b.) education-related research (w/ a focus on society rather than policy). Would something like History of Capitalism or Economic History align closely enough? Other specialties? (My interests extend to these areas and the project, I think, could be understood as a history of either of those where I trace the development of these programs as related to particular economic policies, circumstances, and periods.) 

 

My current list of potential schools and advisors is as follows:

Brown (Steffes)

Princeton (Kruse — emailed, interested + encouraging) 

BU (Schulman)

NYU (Fein) 

JHU (Burgin)

Berkeley (Brilliant)

UCLA (Aron; Higbie)

UC-Davis (Olmsted; Rauchway)

UChicago (Levy)

Michigan (Brick)

Northwestern (Boyle; Gadsden; Mehrotra) 

 

I’m still looking for places to apply (would love to cast as wide a net as possible) and faculty that have interests related to mine. Would love some suggestions if anyone happens to know of related research interests! Also always welcoming reading suggestions :) Sorry for the wall of text! 

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2 hours ago, exitiumax said:

Hi! These threads are amazing to read and I’ve become increasingly encouraged by them and decided to reach out and ask a few questions. I am currently a high school history teacher (going into my 5th year) applying to History Ph.D. programs next year (or perhaps the year after). I received my BA in History and my MA in Social Studies Education. I’ve begun researching potential departments and faculty that could be a good match. My broad area of interest is in political development, particularly the development of a conservative political identity (i.e. pro-capitalist, anti-welfare state, anti-union, etc.) in the post-war period, but beginning as a business-elite backlash to the broad social and economic policies of the New Deal. Bridging my two fields of study is the fact that I want to explore how business elites and their organizations funded or created programs and curriculum aimed at interesting high school and post-secondary students in capitalism and the corporate structure, generally. (This is much in vein of recent works by Kim Phillips-Fein, Kevin Kruse, and Nancy MacLean.)

My undergraduate GPA was 3.25 (a few rough semesters due to family/medical issues but a clear upward trajectory) and my graduate GPA was a 4.0. My undergraduate thesis was about educational law, policy, and their outcomes. I also wrote a decent-length paper about my research interest in the development of a conservative political identity. No publications. 

I’ve begun doing detailed research on programs and faculty but still have two major questions:

 

How closely do research interests need align? My research interests don’t exactly fall under “History of Education” (an extremely limited field) — rather, education is merely one institution through which some political identity was spread. I'm also unsure if they're too narrow to fit under categories such as "History of Capitalism" or "Economic History". 

 

Is one faculty member with related interests enough to warrant applying to a program? Perhaps if I better understood how closely interests need align (generally, I’m looking for people doing either a.) political development/identity research or b.) education-related research (w/ a focus on society rather than policy). Would something like History of Capitalism or Economic History align closely enough? Other specialties? (My interests extend to these areas and the project, I think, could be understood as a history of either of those where I trace the development of these programs as related to particular economic policies, circumstances, and periods.) 

 

My current list of potential schools and advisors is as follows:

Brown (Steffes)

Princeton (Kruse — emailed, interested + encouraging) 

BU (Schulman)

NYU (Fein) 

JHU (Burgin)

Berkeley (Brilliant)

UCLA (Aron; Higbie)

UC-Davis (Olmsted; Rauchway)

UChicago (Levy)

Michigan (Brick)

Northwestern (Boyle; Gadsden; Mehrotra) 

 

I’m still looking for places to apply (would love to cast as wide a net as possible) and faculty that have interests related to mine. Would love some suggestions if anyone happens to know of related research interests! Also always welcoming reading suggestions :) Sorry for the wall of text! 

They do not need to be perfect.  The scholars-- Boyle, Kruse, and Brick (as far as I'm aware of their work/grad students)- will be willing to work with you.  The most important thing is that you can build a dissertation committee.  Who else in the department would be able to work with you? When you write that fit paragraph, you need to be able to demonstrate how the department's offerings fit your intellectual needs. Take a look at recent graduate seminars being offered and identify which ones you'd take and who's teaching them.  Those persons should be in your SOP. Also, when you do US history, please, please think transnationally and globally.  You're looking at corporations that would have overseas interests as well. Remember, we are talking about the Cold War in which the US was keenly interested in getting the best and the brightest minds to come, study, and work in the US.

@Sigaba can speak better to saying whether you're a "historian of capitalism" or "historian of education."  The important thing is, what historiographies are you interested in engaging with?  Do you want to use education as a lens to understand US capitalism?  If so, then promote yourself as a historian of capitalism.  If you want to explore how education was shaped by corporations/conservatism, then lean toward historian of education.

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On 7/12/2020 at 4:39 PM, TMP said:

The important thing is, what historiographies are you interested in engaging with?  Do you want to use education as a lens to understand US capitalism?  If so, then promote yourself as a historian of capitalism.  If you want to explore how education was shaped by corporations/conservatism, then lean toward historian of education.

I would echo this call, but add that one should also approach this with an understanding of the existing academic job market in mind.  It's been over a year since I looked at it closely, but the opportunities for a historian of capitalism are dramatically better than those of a historian of education. Of the last 4-5 openings at my former program, 3 went to scholars who had a significant focus on the history of capitalism.

 

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On 4/19/2020 at 11:06 PM, NoirFemme said:

I don't know. All I can say is to be prepared to submit applications in the fall. My university is encouraging everyone to just move forward despite being cut off from labs, libraries, international travel, and so on. It's frustrating, and this moment has left us with a murky future, but the folks at the top are of the mindset that it's better to be ready when things return to "normal" vs putting things on hold until we see what happens. I can imagine they're treating Fall 2021 admissions in the same way, until they actually make the decision to not admit or cut acceptance numbers.

I've been in contacted with UT Austin professors and they're not admitting anyone for F21, and told me to check back in next spring on their status

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On 7/12/2020 at 2:26 PM, exitiumax said:

Hi! These threads are amazing to read and I’ve become increasingly encouraged by them and decided to reach out and ask a few questions. I am currently a high school history teacher (going into my 5th year) applying to History Ph.D. programs next year (or perhaps the year after). I received my BA in History and my MA in Social Studies Education. I’ve begun researching potential departments and faculty that could be a good match. My broad area of interest is in political development, particularly the development of a conservative political identity (i.e. pro-capitalist, anti-welfare state, anti-union, etc.) in the post-war period, but beginning as a business-elite backlash to the broad social and economic policies of the New Deal. Bridging my two fields of study is the fact that I want to explore how business elites and their organizations funded or created programs and curriculum aimed at interesting high school and post-secondary students in capitalism and the corporate structure, generally. (This is much in vein of recent works by Kim Phillips-Fein, Kevin Kruse, and Nancy MacLean.)

My undergraduate GPA was 3.25 (a few rough semesters due to family/medical issues but a clear upward trajectory) and my graduate GPA was a 4.0. My undergraduate thesis was about educational law, policy, and their outcomes. I also wrote a decent-length paper about my research interest in the development of a conservative political identity. No publications. 

I’ve begun doing detailed research on programs and faculty but still have two major questions:

 

How closely do research interests need align? My research interests don’t exactly fall under “History of Education” (an extremely limited field) — rather, education is merely one institution through which some political identity was spread. I'm also unsure if they're too narrow to fit under categories such as "History of Capitalism" or "Economic History". 

 

Is one faculty member with related interests enough to warrant applying to a program? Perhaps if I better understood how closely interests need align (generally, I’m looking for people doing either a.) political development/identity research or b.) education-related research (w/ a focus on society rather than policy). Would something like History of Capitalism or Economic History align closely enough? Other specialties? (My interests extend to these areas and the project, I think, could be understood as a history of either of those where I trace the development of these programs as related to particular economic policies, circumstances, and periods.) 

 

My current list of potential schools and advisors is as follows:

Brown (Steffes)

Princeton (Kruse — emailed, interested + encouraging) 

BU (Schulman)

NYU (Fein) 

JHU (Burgin)

Berkeley (Brilliant)

UCLA (Aron; Higbie)

UC-Davis (Olmsted; Rauchway)

UChicago (Levy)

Michigan (Brick)

Northwestern (Boyle; Gadsden; Mehrotra) 

 

I’m still looking for places to apply (would love to cast as wide a net as possible) and faculty that have interests related to mine. Would love some suggestions if anyone happens to know of related research interests! Also always welcoming reading suggestions :) Sorry for the wall of text! 

Would highly recommend trying to find one of Fein's students to talk to first -- they are not an active prof in the dept. Also NYU isn't going to take applications (read this as "rumor" if you like). 

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On 7/16/2020 at 4:53 PM, cryloren said:

I've been in contacted with UT Austin professors and they're not admitting anyone for F21, and told me to check back in next spring on their status

I said this a few pages back, but I suspect that programs that don't "have" to take a new graduate cohort will try to avoid doing taking one.

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On 7/16/2020 at 1:53 PM, cryloren said:

I've been in contacted with UT Austin professors and they're not admitting anyone for F21, and told me to check back in next spring on their status

I wonder if, perhaps, this is individual to certain professors? Only because I've also been in contact with a couple professors at UT Austin and while they've been open and honest about not being sure about how exactly covid will impact this admissions cycle, they've said they are on track to have a normal admissions year and are looking to accept students for fall 2021 (of course, whether someone is available to take on students in fall 2021 is the result of many factors, including but not limited to the pandemic). 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi all! I had a brief question I was wondering if others could offer advice on. I searched the forum and found some general advice on this topic but not on my specific question. I have heard from other grad students that I should contact potential advisors. However, if there are, let's say, three South Asianists at a given school, should I contact all of them? What should the email look like to the other people in my field who would not be my primary advisor? I would greatly appreciate any advice on this topic! 

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On 8/13/2020 at 3:56 AM, automatic_peas said:

However, if there are, let's say, three South Asianists at a given school, should I contact all of them? 

 

On 8/13/2020 at 8:00 AM, telkanuru said:

Just the one you want to supervise your diss.

I recommend that you do your due diligence on all three so that you have a sense of alternatives.

One can go to a specific program to work with a specific professor only learn the hard way that the professor really does not care about graduate students. At all. (Or so I've heard.)

#NOTBITTER.

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