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¡Hola a todos!

I know it's somewhat early to start this post, but I know some are probably starting to narrow down their choices and are starting to get things together...and since this year is going to look extremely different than past years, I figured I'd get the ball rolling. 

This post is for all those applying to both MA and Ph.D programs in either linguistics or literature. 

I'm considering a Ph.D in Spanish lit with a focus on contemporary peninsular literature and film with an interest in queer studies, la España vacía/vaciada and el mito de la Transición. 

I'm narrowing down the schools. I applied to a few last year but didn't have much luck due to external factors. I know this year won't be great for admissions, but I'm still going to try anyway because nunca se sabe. 

I did see that Uni of Chicago isn't admitting any applications this round. If you know of other schools not accepting, please share!

¡Mucha suerte y mucho ánimo a todos!

 

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Hi! Yep, I got admitted into Georgetown yesterday!

I got accepted into my top choice over the weekend!!! full funding for 5 years 😍 seriously so happy!!!!

Hey guys! I was active in the Spanish thread last cycle, and am currently  in my first year of a PhD in Span. lit at Princeton. Just wanted to check in and say best of luck to everyone. In terms of in

To state the obvious (someone has to), these are dark, dark days for academia. No one is getting jobs, absolutely no one. The job market has completely collapsed (there are currently 8 listings for Spanish on the MLA jobs board, across all fields in the country). If you want to be a professor, I'm sorry. Don't do a PhD for this reason. If you've lost your job, have nothing better going on, and want five years of funding then by all means do it but for the love of god cultivate a parallel resume and network throughout grad school that will help you find employment in some other profession once you finish.  

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Thanks for starting this thread, senorbrightside, and for the healthy dose of reality, bleepbloop.

I'm planning to apply this round with very low expectations. I'm working on selecting programs as well, and I hadn't checked out University of Chicago yet. Thanks for the heads up! What does your list look like so far?  

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Bleepbloop: Thanks for the reminder in case some wasn't aware of the bleak prospects for academia. Most of us probably are aware, but it is a good thing to point out in case someone seriously has their heart set on a career in academia and being a professor is the only reason they're doing it.

I want to do the PH.D for the love of learning and am quite okay with teaching at an independent school or community college after.

Olivetree: I have a lot of schools on my list I'm narrowing...This is my second cycle, but last year I was stretched too thin during application season and didn't put out my best applications to be honest and only applied to three as it was...and my M.A. adviser was too swamped with things for me to continue where I was doing my M.A. (so yeah, I know all too well about academia!). My long list includes Michigan, U Washington, U Toronto, McGill, Colorado Boulder,  (I've already received a MA rejection and a PH.D rejection so maybe not), Indiana, Texas Tech (I have an undergrad prof that is now at TT who would be the best adviser ever), U Southern California, Wisconsin Madison...looking at a couple in the UK too. I'm investigating a lot of schools to find a great fit. What about you? And what's your interest? Linguistics, lit...?

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Sorry to hear last cycle didn't work out for you. I hope this year goes better, despite all the external factors working against applicants. Do you have any advice/words of wisdom learned from your first experience? 

I'm interested in Latin American literature and the politics of memory in Chile and Peru. I'm particularly interested in the intersections of archival theory and new media studies as they relate to the production of historical memory from "below". 

My list is still very long, but Michigan is at the top (followed by Minnesota-Twin Cities,  UC-Davis, UMass-Amherst, Tulane, and many others in no particular order). I'm also considering CU-Boulder for the MA. And Nebraska-Lincoln because of an amazing undergrad professor who has since moved there. I'm having a hard time deciding how many schools to apply to this cycle because of the unlikelihood of acceptance. Those application fees will add up quickly.

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My advice is to make sure your writing sample is the best version you can make it. I might focus on MA programs this year if you don't have one as it will make you a stronger candidate in the future and you will be able to have stronger letters of rec and writing samples and know exactly what you're getting into :) But I know a lot of people on this forum are accepted right away into Ph.D's too. 

Politics of memory in Chile and Perú sounds really interesting! And it sounds like you have a great list of schools to choose from. ¡Mucha suerte y animó!

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Hi all! You want to check with every school that they are taking students this cycle. Some will not tell you they are not but still accept the application. At my department, we have heard some rumors of several schools that won't be accepting this cycle as they want to use those funds to extend the program for those students who are in their sixth year but won't be able to find a job once they graduate in May.

Good luck!

Edited by theatergeek
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  • 3 weeks later...

I’m also applying to Spanish PhD programs - on the linguistics side. Whilst I think it’s useful to be realistic about the chances of admission, I don’t think it’s helpful to be overly pessimistic. I’ve zoomed with professors and DGS from 3 of the schools I am planning on applying to and none of them have indicated major concern over the impact of the pandemic. They have all said, however, to really make sure that your interests fit the department well. I think that’s going to be more important than ever if there’s increased competition/fewer places. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/3/2020 at 10:36 AM, presidentialpudding said:

I’m also applying to Spanish PhD programs - on the linguistics side. Whilst I think it’s useful to be realistic about the chances of admission, I don’t think it’s helpful to be overly pessimistic. I’ve zoomed with professors and DGS from 3 of the schools I am planning on applying to and none of them have indicated major concern over the impact of the pandemic. They have all said, however, to really make sure that your interests fit the department well. I think that’s going to be more important than ever if there’s increased competition/fewer places. 

Mucha suerte! What programs are you looking at? Illinois-Urbana Champaign has a strong linguistics program if you haven't considered them.

One of my undergrad professors said pretty much the same thing, that as long as we're aware about the job prospects and what doing a Ph.D in the humanities entails, and we still want to do it, then to go for it. 

My question...how to figure out if our interests really match the department? That's where I'm at right now. They all look so pretty on paper :)

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On 10/11/2020 at 5:08 PM, senorbrightside said:

Mucha suerte! What programs are you looking at? Illinois-Urbana Champaign has a strong linguistics program if you haven't considered them.

One of my undergrad professors said pretty much the same thing, that as long as we're aware about the job prospects and what doing a Ph.D in the humanities entails, and we still want to do it, then to go for it. 

My question...how to figure out if our interests really match the department? That's where I'm at right now. They all look so pretty on paper :)

UIUC is on my list. I'm also looking at Georgetown, U Arizona, Miami, UC Davis and UIC. I actually got my MA from UIUC years ago so I know the department well and it would definitely be one of my top choices. 

That's a tricky one about interests - I've been watching a YT series by a professor called Casey Fiesler on applications and she talks about this a bit. Our interests need to be specific but not specific (how helpful) because if they're too specific then we could scare off professors who we might have identified as potential advisors. I spoke about this through Zoom with a DGS and he agreed with her saying it's better to not be too specific in your interests because it creates a certain impression. 

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Hello,

Former Cornell PhD grad student in Romance Studies. Do not apply to Cornell for Spanish. The department is bleeding many professors right now, the chair and interim chair are checked out, and there is lots of toxicity amongst faculty, maybe even grad students. Funding is good, but the other ivies are better, except Yale.

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On 10/18/2020 at 1:46 PM, Quentin2001 said:

Hello,

Former Cornell PhD grad student in Romance Studies. Do not apply to Cornell for Spanish. The department is bleeding many professors right now, the chair and interim chair are checked out, and there is lots of toxicity amongst faculty, maybe even grad students. Funding is good, but the other ivies are better, except Yale.

Did you recently retire or did you finish your studies? Are you an international or national student? What was your specialty? What do you mean with toxicity? I have a friend on the forum who was really interested in Cornell for Spanish, but is weighing other options. It would be really helpful if you elaborate more.

What would you say is the problem with Yale?

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On 10/21/2020 at 12:15 PM, María de Zayas said:

What would you say is the problem with Yale?

https://yalealumnimagazine.com/articles/4255-conflict-in-spanish-and-portuguese-department 

 

This gives you an idea, without going into details. There have been years in which they have been unable to recruit a single graduate student. It really isn't much better today, though their enrollment is up. They have not hired any junior faculty to breathe new life into the department. There is not a single assistant professor in the department. The only new addition since the scandal broke (5 years ago!) has been a senior medievalist, which is hardly pushing the department in new directions. It's just very stagnant and intellectually conservative, and that's not even getting into the factions and conflicts. 

Edited by Bleep_Bloop
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On 10/11/2020 at 12:08 PM, senorbrightside said:

Mucha suerte! What programs are you looking at? Illinois-Urbana Champaign has a strong linguistics program if you haven't considered them.

One of my undergrad professors said pretty much the same thing, that as long as we're aware about the job prospects and what doing a Ph.D in the humanities entails, and we still want to do it, then to go for it. 

My question...how to figure out if our interests really match the department? That's where I'm at right now. They all look so pretty on paper :)

UIUC is on my list. I'm also looking at Georgetown, U Arizona, Miami, UC Davis and UIC. I actually got my MA from UIUC years ago so I know the department well and it would definitely be one of my top choices. 

That's a tricky one about interests - I've been watching a YT series by a professor called Casey Fiesler on applications and she talks about this a bit. Our interests need to be specific but not specific (how helpful) because if they're too specific then we could scare off professors who we might have identified as potential advisors. I spoke about this through Zoom with a DGS and he agreed with her saying it's better to not be too specific in your interests because it creates a certain impression. 

I'm a Spanish grad student at Georgetown, although I am from the literature track. The faculty are awesome and the grad students are even better. If you go to the department's section "People" and you find a grad student whose research interests match yours, I can try to put you in touch with them (so that you can ask them questions about the program from a grad student's perspective). 

Edited by theatergeek
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On 10/18/2020 at 1:46 PM, Quentin2001 said:

Hello,

Former Cornell PhD grad student in Romance Studies. Do not apply to Cornell for Spanish. The department is bleeding many professors right now, the chair and interim chair are checked out, and there is lots of toxicity amongst faculty, maybe even grad students. Funding is good, but the other ivies are better, except Yale.

Thanks for the heads up about Cornell! I briefly checked them out this summer, but they fell out quickly.

I've been hearing horror stories on this board about Yale's program for years. 

Thanks for the rec of Georgetown. I wish I had come across them earlier as I'm a bit set on which ones I'm applying too...so many good programs out there. 

 

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  • 1 month later...

How are the applications coming along? I think the 15th is a common deadline for a lot of schools (but only one I'm applying to this cycle). I have all my submitted as of yesterday. Grad Cafe has been extremely quiet this year. I had an informational meeting with one of my schools, and they said they expect more applications than normal this year.

Mucha suerte a todos, may the odds ever be in your favour. 

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I'm just waiting for results now, which will take a while as most of my apps are due between Jan 6 and 15. I applied for all of mine along with the Dec. 15 so I don't have to worry about getting them done, just the hearing back anxiety :)

I hope for the best outcome for everyone!

How'd it go for you @poetrylover

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I think, outside of UIUC for internal (Master applying for Ph.D.) and international applicants, the earliest might be the last week of January. Most come in February, some not even until late March. (I issue that caveat so no one freaks out. Waiting lists factor in too.) 

Here's a link to the results page on Grad Café in case someone doesn't know about it. You can look up the program + Spanish to see when the results normally come in, or you can just search "Spanish" to see the latest admissions decisions. For your mental health, however, I recommend only using it sparingly :)

https://www.thegradcafe.com/survey/

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Hey everyone! Hope your applications went well! Now it’s just time for waiting 🙈 I’ve submitted 6 PhD apps - UIUC is one of them so your comment @senorbrightside is interesting. I’d noticed the entry a few weeks back. I’m also international - do you know if they tend to make international offers earlier? There doesn’t seem to be a clear pattern when I search results. I’m assuming I won’t hear anything back from the others until late January/February as well. 

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Hola @presidentialpudding

UIUC usually makes international offers earlier, but this with Covid things are completely different and they may have only made the decision on internal applicants and will make international decisions later. If you haven't heard anything, don't worry. No news is usually good news. 

I feel that schools across the board could be slower this year due to funding concerns. Waiting is torture! 

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Thanks for the info - that’s interesting! I’m not stressing yet because it’s still very early days. The grad secretary at one of my programs emailed me today to say that they will only be making decisions early February so that gives me a timetable for one program. Where have you applied to out of interest? 

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