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22 hours ago, DeNovo said:

Hiya! Like @ronronpatachon I contacted a potential faculty supervisor at Cambridge fairly early in the application process and then about 2-3 weeks or so after I submitted my application, I was contacted by the Cam equivalent of the DGS for French to set up an interview. The interview was scheduled for 20-30 minutes and it was myself, the DGS, and my potential supervisor. The interview was in English, and they asked a lot of thoughtful questions about my proposed research, past research, and future plans. I'd say the interview was about 75% focused on the prospective research though. Basically they are trying to gauge the feasibility of your research (i.e., is it reasonable that you might be able to complete a dissertation on the subject within 3 years) and how they will rank your application for funding purposes. Hope this helps! 

Thanks so much!  This is incredibly helpful.  

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Just got formally accepted to UNC Chapel Hill! They have a tradition of allowing grad students to take some courses with Duke, so maybe I'll see some of you if you choose to go there haha.  I've

Unless you are independently wealthy, do not do that. You will absolutely be a second-class citizen in the department, and you will never be a professor's first choice to help with their research. In

Disclaimer: My background is in Italian, not French. I don't know a ton about UNC but I did apply there. I went to UIUC as an undergrad and studied Italian in the FRIT dept. I don't know the French pr

  • 2 weeks later...

I got into only the masters at Stanford (waitlisted for the Phd) and UW Madison (5-year funded at about 18k). 

This might sound crazy, but I think actually I will do the unfunded masters at Stanford—there is one professor I know pretty well. I am worried that I will not be as productive at Madison, and that they will not let me graduate in a reasonable time because they have such a demand for grad TA's (less than 30% of people graduate within 6 years).

I might apply to Columbia MA (which is still open) to see if there's a significant difference

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6 hours ago, DeNovo said:

Has anyone made any decisions?? Excited to hear your plans :) 

I settled on UNC Chapel Hill :) I just really enjoyed the faculty and atmosphere and it's a little over two hours from my parents, so it'll be easy to visit them on holidays. 

It's a 5 year program, but I think most students take longer, around 6/7 years, so we'll see! The campus is really nice though, I'm going to take a self-guided tour with my dad soon. 

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OMG please no—do NOT do an unfunded masters in French. It's money down the drain—unless you have lots of it, then up to you. I'm surprised that Stanford has this new path, but it makes sense, since they are short on $$ these days. In this regard, you would just be funding their PhD program.

The reason people do not graduate in 5-6 years is not because they can't. I could have rushed my dissertation and finished it as a fourth year. No, the time-to-degree is long mainly because people try to spend as much time as possible collecting teaching experience and applying to jobs. There are barely any jobs, and 5th year PhDs rarely, if ever, get those jobs. As someone at a school where the teaching load is relatively low, I can guarantee you that having less time to teach does not make me—or any of my peers—more 'productive' in our writing. It actually works against us, since most jobs are teaching jobs. 

The longer time also allows us to think about how to transit out of academia. The majority of French PhDs, even from top programs, will not find tenure-track jobs. It's not easy to just wake up and switch—it takes some work. Spending as much time as possible reading and writing things we care about is the only true romanticized outcome of French PhD programs. Not everyone can afford such a lifestyle, esp. if they have kids, loans, other issues, etc.

 

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2 hours ago, frenchphd said:

OMG please no—do NOT do an unfunded masters in French. It's money down the drain—unless you have lots of it, then up to you. I'm surprised that Stanford has this new path, but it makes sense, since they are short on $$ these days. In this regard, you would just be funding their PhD program.

The reason people do not graduate in 5-6 years is not because they can't. I could have rushed my dissertation and finished it as a fourth year. No, the time-to-degree is long mainly because people try to spend as much time as possible collecting teaching experience and applying to jobs. There are barely any jobs, and 5th year PhDs rarely, if ever, get those jobs. As someone at a school where the teaching load is relatively low, I can guarantee you that having less time to teach does not make me—or any of my peers—more 'productive' in our writing. It actually works against us, since most jobs are teaching jobs. 

The longer time also allows us to think about how to transit out of academia. The majority of French PhDs, even from top programs, will not find tenure-track jobs. It's not easy to just wake up and switch—it takes some work. Spending as much time as possible reading and writing things we care about is the only true romanticized outcome of French PhD programs. Not everyone can afford such a lifestyle, esp. if they have kids, loans, other issues, etc.

 

Thank you so much—these were actually things I did not know. 

Do you think, also, that doing an unfunded masters looks worse when you apply for a PhD?
 

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4 hours ago, frenchphd said:

I'm surprised that Stanford has this new path, but it makes sense, since they are short on $$ these days. In this regard, you would just be funding their PhD program.

My cynical side has been thinking about this too, but it seems by my calculations it would take more than 5 MA students to fund 1 PhD student for five years, i.e., I'm only funding one year of someone's PhD, and they don't have nearly this many MA students. 

It's maybe enough to invite 2-3 people to speak at departmental events.

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Given that this MA program is brand new, it seems to me Stanford is trying it out to increase funding. The idea would be to have a few MA students every year to support PhD stipends. What is Stanford's tuition? $70k? That's the stipend for two PhD students that year (the tuition for PhD students is basically imaginary). Other years, students will teach and what not, which will draw from the university's teaching fund. It won't even out exactly, but it will heavily cushion the French department's finances, which has been in serious trouble, along with the entire DLCL. I personally wouldn't want to be a second-class citizen in the department.

Doing an unfunded masters will not work against you, but it will also not impress faculty. If I were you, I'd look for funded masters programs in French. When such programs exist, it makes little sense to pay $100k each year (tuition + living costs) to get a masters degree in French from Stanford. Sure, it's a big name, but it's quite easy these days to get into big name schools like UPenn and Columbia, which have so many cash-cow MA programs that trade the uni's name for cashflow. If this degree was one with heavy payoffs (like CS!), we could argue that it makes sense to do it. 

(Btw: people do not get paid $15k speaker fees haha—at MOST $1-2k + travel and housing costs is typical! I've even organized to pay $500 speaker fees to a tenured Ivy League prof.) 

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In my case, it's because there's a professor at Stanford I want to work with—and I actually think I can help with her research

It really comes down to whether they can be honest with me about it or not.

10 hours ago, frenchphd said:

I personally wouldn't want to be a second-class citizen in the department.

Hopefully my seminar papers and publications will be better than the actual PhD students' :)

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If you have the resources, you should go for it! Mostly, I just wouldn't recommend someone to take loans/spend limited savings etc. in pursuit of a graduate humanities degree. 

I'm curious by what you mean by you 'can help with her research.' Academic research in French lit/studies is not typically a collaborative affair, unless it's in the digital humanities category.

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On 3/12/2021 at 8:18 PM, brewing said:

I got into only the masters at Stanford (waitlisted for the Phd) and UW Madison (5-year funded at about 18k). 

This might sound crazy, but I think actually I will do the unfunded masters at Stanford

Unless you are independently wealthy, do not do that. You will absolutely be a second-class citizen in the department, and you will never be a professor's first choice to help with their research. In offering you admission to the MA program rather than the PhD, faculty members in the department have clearly stated that already. It would actually make more sense to go to UW Madison, gain some teaching experience, and master out after two years while applying for other PhD programs during year 2.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/6/2021 at 5:18 AM, ronronpatachon said:

Hello everyone,

I have read that someone was accepted at Stanford off the wait list. Could they explain the process, what happened? I thought being accepted off of a wait list was a legend... 

It was me :). It's quite simple; on the date when others were notified of being accepted, I was told I was waitlisted. Then two weeks later, someone must have declined their offer, and I was told I was accepted. (I actually know one of the French candidates declined)

I had the feeling I was already destined to be a backup candidate before the panel interview. The panel interview was mixed—I think I said some good things, but was also very nervous and talked too much (with five professors in the meeting with different interests and preferences, it is a very intense twenty minutes). [I would advise anyone going through this to have more confidence in what got you to this point and not try to please any specific professor, though it's easier said than done.] It was very hard to listen to questions from different people on Zoom (it's hard to register the question in your mind when it goes so fast), and I even misunderstood one of the questions, which is very bad in general. The research project I proposed in the interview was theoretically interesting but not very viable because it would probably have no impact or core readership in the field.

I'm not sure if this was a coincidence or not, but a couple days before I was accepted I actually sent an email with something I had been working on out of interest (related to digital humanities) —I don't know if this was significant or not.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello all, 

I may be in the wrong thread to ask this question, but any insight would be appreciated.

I'm from the US, but have been in France the past two years through the TAPIF program. In September, I'm starting a job as a "lecteur d'anglais" at Poitiers University. 

I had to decide between this position and a funded masters at Ole Miss. I was extremely conflicted on that choice, because on one hand, it seemed like I shouldn't give up an oppurtunity to teach in France to study French in the US, while on the otherhand, I feel that with my Bachelors degree, I am lacking in the professional-level, field-specific vernacular that I may need when applying to PhD programs.

Furthermore, while I'm working as a lecteur, it is possible that I could go a masters program. There is a literature program offered at Aix-Marseille University that I could do à distance for the first year, while working. However, the only parcours avaiable would be "Etudes Culturelles - Mondes Anglopones". I would have the chance to choose the time period, at least. 

Would this be helpful for French PhD applications? Maybe even hurtful since it's in the focus is in English? The courses and assignments are an even split between French and English. It wouldn't really cost me any money to go study there. 

 I see that at Brown University, for example, they have PhD students who had masters in English, but these were French nationals, so it may not be seen in the same way. 

Again, thanks for your time. 

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