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The answer to this is probably a simple no. However, this MA program suits my interests best, I am interested in multiple faculty members' work, and they have many job positions in initiatives I'm passionate about; I was already planning to hopefully get a graduate associate or TA job at one of their centers (with research that's exactly what I want to pursue). Everything about this program seems perfect except for the recent lack of funding (the biggest factor). 

Does this program have the prestige that makes it worth it, even without funding? It doesn't help that this is my only acceptance so far (I applied to both PhDs and one other MA but no other acceptances yet). If its name and prestige makes the job market and acceptance into a great PhD easier, then maybe it's worth it. I'm really torn, I'm also first in my family to go to grad school in English, so I'd love some guidance on this. 

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10 hours ago, letsgetgaslit said:

Does this program have the prestige that makes it worth it, even without funding? 

The simple answer is no. Plenty of people get into PhD programs without MAs. They can be great to prepare you for graduate work and for the application cycle, but the steep cost of no funding at a place like Georgetown—the tradeoff isn't anywhere near worth it imo. (I would say the same for the UChicago MAPH too, fwiw.) If you come from a wealthy family and dropping that kind of $ is not an issue, well, by all means I guess (still not worth it imo) ... but for most people, it just is not a great investment, just way too expensive when any kind of graduate work should be funded. When you add to that sunk cost the state of the job market and the effect COVID has had on admissions, even moreso. Plus generally unfunded masters in the humanities are cash cows for the university. Sorry to be a downer—I just think there are so many other ways in here, ones that don't come at that steep a cost.

Edited by meghan_sparkle
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At the PHD level, I can honestly say that no professors I've talked to say that they care where someone went to for their Master's. One person expressed slight interest because they previously taught there and was curious on who was still there.

At the applying to jobs level, professors are more interested in who you are a student of. Certain programs might also be better known for subfields which are not reflective of overall ranking. As a result, some programs might have a better understanding of terminology within a certain subfield.

I'd second the advice to never pay for a Master's degree in the humanities. I think this is the first full year that Georgetown has offered no funding.

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On 3/5/2021 at 10:49 AM, meghan_sparkle said:

The simple answer is no. Plenty of people get into PhD programs without MAs. They can be great to prepare you for graduate work and for the application cycle, but the steep cost of no funding at a place like Georgetown—the tradeoff isn't anywhere near worth it imo. (I would say the same for the UChicago MAPH too, fwiw.) If you come from a wealthy family and dropping that kind of $ is not an issue, well, by all means I guess (still not worth it imo) ... but for most people, it just is not a great investment, just way too expensive when any kind of graduate work should be funded. When you add to that sunk cost the state of the job market and the effect COVID has had on admissions, even moreso. Plus generally unfunded masters in the humanities are cash cows for the university. Sorry to be a downer—I just think there are so many other ways in here, ones that don't come at that steep a cost.

Thank you so much for your insight, not a downer at all, I know we all caution against unfunded programs so your advice makes sense. I figured even if I could afford to go, it moreso stung that they won't back me with any funding whatsoever (even though I knew when I applied, hoped they could work something else out). I definitely don't come from a rich family, so my goal is to minimize loans of course. I recently got accepted to NYU's MA program as well thankfully and they're at least offering a 60% tuition scholarship. It will be cheaper to go to NYU but only $9K cheaper than Georgetown. Georgetown's edge for me is the jobs since I'm really interested in their grad assistant work but the positions aren't even guaranteed for me.

How does NYU and Georgetown compare in either prestige, quality of program, etc.? Basically, I'm still lost lol. If you or anyone has more insight into my situation, I'd love to hear it! Thank you again for your advice :) 

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On 3/5/2021 at 12:17 PM, Warelin said:

At the PHD level, I can honestly say that no professors I've talked to say that they care where someone went to for their Master's. One person expressed slight interest because they previously taught there and was curious on who was still there.

At the applying to jobs level, professors are more interested in who you are a student of. Certain programs might also be better known for subfields which are not reflective of overall ranking. As a result, some programs might have a better understanding of terminology within a certain subfield.

I'd second the advice to never pay for a Master's degree in the humanities. I think this is the first full year that Georgetown has offered no funding.

Thank you so much for your insight! That makes sense and until recently I only had Georgetown to compare, but recently got into NYU's program with at least some funding. I agree given our field, I want the option that has full funding, but this cycle was rough and it's looking like that may not be possible, but I really love the MAs I applied to in case. NYU, with the scholarship they're giving, is still pricey but not as much Georgetown. I guess now I'm lost on how to compare the two programs on which is actually more favorable for me. 

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1 hour ago, letsgetgaslit said:

, I want the option that has full funding, but this cycle was rough and it's looking like that may not be possible, but I really love the MAs I applied to in case. NYU, with the scholarship they're giving, is still pricey but not as much Georgetown. I guess now I'm lost on how to compare the two programs on which is actually more favorable for me. 

Is it crucial that you enroll in a Master's program for the upcoming year? There might be alternatives that enhance your application which would make it get into funded Master's programs after this cycle. I'd like to stress that prestige at the Master's level really does not exist. It might sound impressive to the general public but ultimately the general public isn't the one making decisions on admissions.

If you must enroll in one of them, look at their classes and what their requirements are. See if there's one which you find more appealing in that manner. Consider location as well. Consider how much you'll pay for rent, transportation and how easily accessible things like restaurants, parks, and grocery stores might be. Also consider that it's highly likely that you'll be unable to make much of a dent in payments if you decide to apply to PHD programs.

Otherwise, consider where you'd like to live for 2 years. Find universities in those locations; there's a good chance that places without a PHD program fund their students. Not having to stress about loans or working a second job will probably help you develop a stronger writing sample.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I say this as someone who went to Georgetown fully funded: I love that program, but you should not go there – or any MA program in English! – unfunded if your ultimate goal is to get a PhD. There are many alumni from that program who have gone onto great public humanities careers where I think they would say the expense was justified. (I can't personally speak to that path as I am now further ensconced in graduate school.) However, if your goal is PhD-land and beyond, I want to stress that you should take out $0 in graduate school loans to do so as your doctoral stipend will already be very meager.

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