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I agree. Wait and drink heavily.

Accepted at Berkeley! Anybody else? 

I know this is random, but I just want to say congrats to everyone receiving acceptances so far and solidarity with everyone still in limbo and nervous about rejection

I'll break in the thread! Longtime (mostly) lurker here. I'm a senior history major applying this fall (decided to take a gap year). My interest is in social and economic history of 17th and 18th-century northern Europe, specifically northern Germany, including peasant societies, the history of capitalism and commerce, maritime history, and the North Sea and Atlantic worlds. Right now I'm planning to apply to PhD programs at Brandeis, Brown, UChicago, Northwestern, NYU, Columbia, and Fordham. I've also identified Portland State, UW - Milwaukee, and UMass - Amherst as MA programs if my PhD apps are unsuccessful. 

I have German (minoring in it) and basic French reading proficiency. My senior paper which I intend to use as a WS is on a modern American topic. In hindsight I should've probably chosen something to showcase language abilities, but I think as a history paper it's quite good (the professor advising it has recommended I submit it for a departmental prize). I contributed a translation from German to English for an undergraduate journal hosted at my university, maybe that will help alleviate any possible language concerns. 

When do people suggest applicants reach out to professors? I've heard late spring/early summer?

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Hi all, received my rejection (had been waitlisted at CU Boulder, the only place I applied this year.) Feedback from my POI indicated that due to a lack of modern Europeanists (multiple faculty retiring this year) they only accepted one student in my field. The rejection, while still a rejection, was very kind and positive.

The other point of feedback he provided indicated that they would have liked to see more history courses on my transcript. I majored in English literature and minored in modern European history. Since I will be applying again in the fall, does anyone have recommendation as to how to improve this portion of my application? I've looked into taking some history courses as a non-degree seeking student, but they can be expensive. 

I'm looking to apply to 8-10 school this fall while focusing on race and popular culture of post-1945 Europe. If anyone has any recommendations for potential schools to apply to, I would be very grateful.

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11 hours ago, sonnybunny said:

Hi all, received my rejection (had been waitlisted at CU Boulder, the only place I applied this year.) Feedback from my POI indicated that due to a lack of modern Europeanists (multiple faculty retiring this year) they only accepted one student in my field. The rejection, while still a rejection, was very kind and positive.

The other point of feedback he provided indicated that they would have liked to see more history courses on my transcript. I majored in English literature and minored in modern European history. Since I will be applying again in the fall, does anyone have recommendation as to how to improve this portion of my application? I've looked into taking some history courses as a non-degree seeking student, but they can be expensive. 

I'm looking to apply to 8-10 school this fall while focusing on race and popular culture of post-1945 Europe. If anyone has any recommendations for potential schools to apply to, I would be very grateful.

I would not apply to CU Boulder next year if there are that many faculty leaving.  it usually takes several years to get new lines, especially at public universities (Our last modern Japanist retired back in 2012? And still haven't gotten an OK. And it took a good 4 years, I think, for us to get Modern Middle East). 

I would simply try to get in a funded MA, work on your writing sample to show off your skills as a budding historian including incorporation of foreign language(s), and continue to read on your own.

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10 hours ago, TMP said:

I would not apply to CU Boulder next year if there are that many faculty leaving.  it usually takes several years to get new lines, especially at public universities (Our last modern Japanist retired back in 2012? And still haven't gotten an OK. And it took a good 4 years, I think, for us to get Modern Middle East). 

I would simply try to get in a funded MA, work on your writing sample to show off your skills as a budding historian including incorporation of foreign language(s), and continue to read on your own.

Thank you for the advice! I misspoke--I will not be applying again to CU Boulder this fall, but will be applying to a larger list of schools. Do you have any recommendations as to how to make up for the smaller number of history courses on my transcript? I will be completely revising my writing sample this year and will incorporate French sources this cycle. Thank you again.

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11 hours ago, sonnybunny said:

Thank you for the advice! I misspoke--I will not be applying again to CU Boulder this fall, but will be applying to a larger list of schools. Do you have any recommendations as to how to make up for the smaller number of history courses on my transcript? I will be completely revising my writing sample this year and will incorporate French sources this cycle. Thank you again.

Significant revisions to  your writing sample should include your awareness of the historiography.  Your SOP will be very important -- as it has been repeated many times on this fora, become familiar with the historiography of the area(s) you're interested in exploring for your PhD and pose interesting questions and ideas.

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Hi everyone! I've also been a longtime lurker. How many programs are y'all applying to this cycle? I can't decide. One of my professors told me 8 programs and another professor told me as many that I "fit" well with. 

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On 4/17/2021 at 12:45 PM, jpc34 said:

When do people suggest applicants reach out to professors? I've heard late spring/early summer?

Late summer, early fall.

17 hours ago, hydro said:

Hi everyone! I've also been a longtime lurker. How many programs are y'all applying to this cycle? I can't decide. One of my professors told me 8 programs and another professor told me as many that I "fit" well with. 

As many as you can afford. It's nice that some faculty think that students have $800 for admissions... that was not my case. 

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8 hours ago, AP said:

As many as you can afford. It's nice that some faculty think that students have $800 for admissions... that was not my case. 

Facts. I'm waiting to hear back from a couple of fellowships and scholarships before I decide how many applications to submit. 

Anyone have experience with fee waivers? Does it vary by school and department how waivers are distributed? 

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On 4/24/2021 at 9:20 PM, hydro said:

Facts. I'm waiting to hear back from a couple of fellowships and scholarships before I decide how many applications to submit. 

Anyone have experience with fee waivers? Does it vary by school and department how waivers are distributed? 

I applied to a school that had waivers but I did not use it because you had to apply two months earlier and I had no materials ready. The only waivers I've seen are school-wide, Departments don't have power over that (and hence they don't get that money). 

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On 4/24/2021 at 9:20 PM, hydro said:

Facts. I'm waiting to hear back from a couple of fellowships and scholarships before I decide how many applications to submit. 

Anyone have experience with fee waivers? Does it vary by school and department how waivers are distributed? 

 

On 4/27/2021 at 4:06 PM, AP said:

I applied to a school that had waivers but I did not use it because you had to apply two months earlier and I had no materials ready. The only waivers I've seen are school-wide, Departments don't have power over that (and hence they don't get that money). 

I was rather successful with waivers. I'm an international and, if I remember correctly, had my fees waived at more than half the schools I applied to. That includes Chicago, Harvard (two programs, both PhD), Northwestern. Some of these had formal avenues for this built into the app -- others I emailed staff in admissions and got things done manually.  Doesn't hurt to ask (so long as you ask the right offices).

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Hi, any tips on "thinking like a historian" as far as the sop is concerned? I have an MA in a history-adjacent field, where most of my work was historical in method. This will be my 2nd cycle and some places that rejected me said that I can improve my application by emphasizing the historical bend in my scholarship. I reckon I have to prove the "why history" question to the broader faculty at places. I tried my best to do so, but I still think that my method is affected by other approaches such as being overly textual/religionist in approach.  

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On 4/24/2021 at 4:20 AM, hydro said:

Hi everyone! I've also been a longtime lurker. How many programs are y'all applying to this cycle? I can't decide. One of my professors told me 8 programs and another professor told me as many that I "fit" well with. 

Fit is key. But I would say that sometimes we overestimate and underestimate the quality of our fit, so it may be helpful to not apply too narrowly. 

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1 hour ago, sayf said:

Hi, any tips on "thinking like a historian" as far as the sop is concerned? I have an MA in a history-adjacent field, where most of my work was historical in method. This will be my 2nd cycle and some places that rejected me said that I can improve my application by emphasizing the historical bend in my scholarship. I reckon I have to prove the "why history" question to the broader faculty at places. I tried my best to do so, but I still think that my method is affected by other approaches such as being overly textual/religionist in approach.  

What are your research questions? And why did these professors find your approach un-historical?

I wouldn't say the contemporary discipline is necessarily antagonistic to textualist methods (although studies of representation have fallen somewhat out of fashion), but historians do care about how texts inform our understanding of the society that produced them. Making meaning out of texts for its own sake is generally not what historians do, and even intellectual historians balance text and context to enrich our understanding of both.

Edited by AfricanusCrowther
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3 hours ago, sayf said:

Fit is key. But I would say that sometimes we overestimate and underestimate the quality of our fit, so it may be helpful to not apply too narrowly. 

As I do more research, I think I will settle on a list of about 8 (PhD) programs, and expect to drop a few of those because of bad fit/POI not taking students. I think figuring out fit is a big reason to contact professors before you apply. 

Edited by jpc34
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3 hours ago, AfricanusCrowther said:

What are your research questions? And why did these professors find your approach un-historical?

I wouldn't say the contemporary discipline is necessarily antagonistic to textualist methods (although studies of representation have fallen somewhat out of fashion), but historians do care about how texts inform our understanding of the society that produced them. Making meaning out of texts for its own sake is generally not what historians do, and even intellectual historians balance text and context to enrich our understanding of both.

Hi, so it was not that they found it "unhistorical" but that I could do a better job of explaining why a history program in particular and not a religion program. The concern was that I was not showing a very strong bent towards the historical craft. 

 

Thanks for your reply. That's helpful for me. I do see that I can do a better job of focusing more on how my work intersects with historical conditions of society and so on and so forth. Without being too specific about region etc, I work on religious intellectual thought in the modern period and how it relates to questions of authority and sovereignty. In particular, focusing on the relationship between religious scholars and their relationship to members of their communities on these questions. I don't argue only for a textualist approach. I think there was some concern about my religious studies MA but I don't think it was a major problem. I don't think this is keeping me out, but I do need to show more sensitivity to the historiography of my area. 

Edited by sayf
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1 hour ago, jpc34 said:

As I do more research, I think I will settle on a list of about 8 (PhD) programs, and expect to drop a few of those because of bad fit/POI not taking students. I think figuring out fit is a big reason to contact professors before you apply. 

I am also settling on around 8 maximum and ranking them in order of fit, so I know which ones to cut out. 

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So, I seem to be going into my third round of applications. Yeesh. While I have gotten into programs I am very interested in both in my first and second rounds (Oxford, UCL, European University Institute), I have not received funding so far and at this point it's probably not happening. I think next year I will try US programs as well, if admissions will open.

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On 5/1/2021 at 11:47 PM, Manana said:

So, I seem to be going into my third round of applications. Yeesh. While I have gotten into programs I am very interested in both in my first and second rounds (Oxford, UCL, European University Institute), I have not received funding so far and at this point it's probably not happening. I think next year I will try US programs as well, if admissions will open.

Yikes—UK and its funding. Didn't apply to Oxford for this reason alone. 

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On 5/1/2021 at 2:47 PM, Manana said:

So, I seem to be going into my third round of applications. Yeesh. While I have gotten into programs I am very interested in both in my first and second rounds (Oxford, UCL, European University Institute), I have not received funding so far and at this point it's probably not happening. I think next year I will try US programs as well, if admissions will open.

When I was applying, my first intention was to go to the UK. A friend suggested the US because there is more funding available.

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7 hours ago, AP said:

When I was applying, my first intention was to go to the UK. A friend suggested the US because there is more funding available.

I do not have a strong opinion on this as I believe certain UK institutes to be very fine places to do history, but, apart from funding, there is also some concern whether a UK PhD provides one with as "rigorous" a training as an equivalent US institute notwithstanding issues about what job market one is competing on.  

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8 hours ago, sayf said:

I do not have a strong opinion on this as I believe certain UK institutes to be very fine places to do history, but, apart from funding, there is also some concern whether a UK PhD provides one with as "rigorous" a training as an equivalent US institute notwithstanding issues about what job market one is competing on.  

From my understanding the training is indeed more comprehensive in US programs. On the other hand, I am now 33, so starting kinda late, and the US programs are much longer, so that is also a concern considering how ageist the job market (not the academic one in particular, just in general) is.

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