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8 minutes ago, ellieb_ said:

Hello everyone! I was wondering if it's necessary to get in touch with faculty members if I'm applying to the US schools?

I emailed a few faculties and they responded that with emails like these:

"Application process is done through a faculty committee. That is to say, students apply to our program generally, and in their applications list a couple of different faculty whose work they are interested in, rather than applying to study with a particular professor."

and "faculty cannot individually select grad applicants on their own--all applicants must go through the process and all dossiers are reviewed by the Admissions Committee in early Spring."

So I was wondering if these emails mean I don't have to find an advisor prior to submitting my application? Because as far as I know, European countries and Canada are the opposite of that. 

I also wanted to know if I have any chance of getting accepted with 2 conference attendance, but 0 published papers? 

From what I've heard (but I'm not completely sure so please correct me if I'm wrong), UK does often require you to get in touch with a faculty member, because you'll be starting your thesis work immediately. US, I think, has a kind of divide between fields that do lab work and so require you to really look into a faculty member whose lab you want to join or whatever, and (most of) the humanities where that's (thankfully lol) not a thing.

Also, I believe humanities has much less of an expectancy for prospective students to have published whole papers in fancy journals, cause that's really very difficult to do, and usually doesn't work in the time-scale of an MA (or a late BA) anyway, as it can take years. It can't hurt, of course, but from what I'm exposed to it genuinely doesn't seem the norm, at all. You may want to look at some less formal journals or something, though - things like online graduate journals attached to your university, or those more blog-like journals. :)

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Hey everyone! Just an update--I just received an acceptance email from Michigan State for the doctoral program in Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures! I don't think anyone else on here applied th

Anyone else already starting to get antsy waiting to hear back? 😅

Got an interview at UT Austin. First program I’ve heard from! Sending good luck to everyone!!

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Now that I've typed that, I'm actually wondering too: how close are faculty members supposed to approximate your own interests in the US? I've looked around a lot, but can't find anyone working in my really specific niche, but I can find a lot of faculty members who I have a lot of crossover with in various of their tags (things like 'critical theory' or '20th century literature'), but then if you look at their own research it's always some random thing I don't know anything about. Would that be an issue? Cause presumably your exact research wouldn't need to be the same, right, as long as people are knowledgeable/market themselves as scholars in the general fields?

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27 minutes ago, labradoodle said:

Now that I've typed that, I'm actually wondering too: how close are faculty members supposed to approximate your own interests in the US? I've looked around a lot, but can't find anyone working in my really specific niche, but I can find a lot of faculty members who I have a lot of crossover with in various of their tags (things like 'critical theory' or '20th century literature'), but then if you look at their own research it's always some random thing I don't know anything about. Would that be an issue? Cause presumably your exact research wouldn't need to be the same, right, as long as people are knowledgeable/market themselves as scholars in the general fields?

I worked with a professor who was the only person in the department that was knowledgeable in critical theories for my thesis. I was hoping I could write something with critical theories, but in the end he steered me toward something he researched on, which was not critical theories...

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2 minutes ago, Alyson said:

I worked with a professor who was the only person in the department that was knowledgeable in critical theories for my thesis. I was hoping I could write something with critical theories, but in the end he steered me toward something he researched on, which was not critical theories...

I'm so sorry that happened to you! Thanks for sharing, though! I'm definitely making sure that there are multiple faculty who work in the areas I'm interested in, and will pay even more attention to it with this in mind.

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On 8/11/2021 at 8:14 PM, labradoodle said:

Now that I've typed that, I'm actually wondering too: how close are faculty members supposed to approximate your own interests in the US? I've looked around a lot, but can't find anyone working in my really specific niche, but I can find a lot of faculty members who I have a lot of crossover with in various of their tags (things like 'critical theory' or '20th century literature'), but then if you look at their own research it's always some random thing I don't know anything about. Would that be an issue? Cause presumably your exact research wouldn't need to be the same, right, as long as people are knowledgeable/market themselves as scholars in the general fields?

Thanks for the reply and it's basically the same for me. I thought I would be easier to find a faculty whose interests are similar to mine, but no. I guess I'll have to try and make my interests similar to theirs. 😕

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It's worth noting that most professors have an are of expertise and knowledge that extends at least somewhat more widely than their publications/listed interests. One good way to get a feel for this would be to look at what dissertations they have advised/been on committees for.

Another point is that rather than starting from faculty lists at various universities and then trying to find suitable professors from there, you might instead start with the research that you're already interested in. What books/articles have been important/interesting to you? Who wrote them and where are they teaching? Then check out the bibliographies of those pieces, look up the works that are cited, and figure out where they're teaching. If you keep doing this for a few iterations, you'll probably find that the bibliographies start to circle back. At this point, you should have a decent idea of who is publishing things of interest to you in your field and where they're teaching.

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46 minutes ago, Glasperlenspieler said:

It's worth noting that most professors have an are of expertise and knowledge that extends at least somewhat more widely than their publications/listed interests. One good way to get a feel for this would be to look at what dissertations they have advised/been on committees for.

Another point is that rather than starting from faculty lists at various universities and then trying to find suitable professors from there, you might instead start with the research that you're already interested in. What books/articles have been important/interesting to you? Who wrote them and where are they teaching? Then check out the bibliographies of those pieces, look up the works that are cited, and figure out where they're teaching. If you keep doing this for a few iterations, you'll probably find that the bibliographies start to circle back. At this point, you should have a decent idea of who is publishing things of interest to you in your field and where they're teaching.

ohh that's really super helpful, thank you! There are some subfields I'm interested in where I do really notice that, but unfortunately, my main interests are really those classic post-structuralists who are physically dying out at the moment, rather than just their fields. XD Still, I'm definitely going to investigate this further and ask around a bit, cause there must be some current research being done ahaha.

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1 hour ago, Glasperlenspieler said:

It's worth noting that most professors have an are of expertise and knowledge that extends at least somewhat more widely than their publications/listed interests. One good way to get a feel for this would be to look at what dissertations they have advised/been on committees for.

Another point is that rather than starting from faculty lists at various universities and then trying to find suitable professors from there, you might instead start with the research that you're already interested in. What books/articles have been important/interesting to you? Who wrote them and where are they teaching? Then check out the bibliographies of those pieces, look up the works that are cited, and figure out where they're teaching. If you keep doing this for a few iterations, you'll probably find that the bibliographies start to circle back. At this point, you should have a decent idea of who is publishing things of interest to you in your field and where they're teaching.

That's what I did when I first started looking for programs. But like labradoole said the thing is most academics who published works I am interested in are either retired or work in universities/programs that aren't right for me (as an international student I have some serious concerns about where I will be staying for the next 5 years. I heard some places were impossible to live in without a car. There are of course many other factors like the languages they offer - some universities like Yale and Emory clearly prefer French to German. And then there's the 3rd language...applying for comp. lit. programs is just extra complicated). Does anyone has advice on how to look for the right comp. lit. programs?

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Hi everyone! I'm also applying next fall for English & cultural studies MA programs, hoping to specialize in fandom/reception studies with an orientation towards literary fan cultures, and pursue a PhD in the future. I don't really have much to help me apply other than extremely strong (I think) references and one publication/presentation, which is why I wanted to pursue an MA first to see if it was really "right" for me. 

Excited yet extremely intimidated about this app. Thank god this forum exists. Excited to talk more about this stuff with y'all!

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Hey all,

I am currently in an MA program in english, applying to phds this fall (a mix of ivies/top 20 english & interdisciplinary departments w 1 or 2 exceptions). 

A friend in my program mentioned she put together a group of folks from gradcafe who edited each others SOPs each week leading up to phd application submission, so I'm hoping to find 1-4 people interested in doing that with me!

I am seeking others applying to similar programs and ideally, folks w interdisciplinary interests in theory (I'm proposing a mix of medievalist, early modern & contemporary critical work on temporality, affect, embodiment... ). Message me if this sounds like you you're interested in trying this out! 

Thanks :D

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I'm applying for both MA and PhD programs in English in Fall 2017. I know a lot of universities say it's important that your interests fit with members of the faculty. I am primarily interested in comics/graphic novels, the relationship between literature and visual art, and feminist writing. I'm having some difficult finding university professors with similar interests (aside from women's literature, which seems pretty popular).

Does anyone know of any grad schools that offer specialization in comics and/or visual culture, or that have faculty interested in these topics? So far I've only come up with the University of Florida and the University of Colorado Boulder.

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I feel like I might finally have found the first university I'm 100% interested in applying to, even when just going on the nausea I felt when I (falsely) realized they required GRE scores. 😂 It's kind of weird which universities require GREs and which have wavered them - the only one that still required them was one at such an unknown (to me, at least) university that I'd expected them to be wavered (as their requirements are probably less severe than those of top unis), whereas all the top unis don't require them this year, haha.

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By the way, does anyone know if you have to submit your language certificate (TOEFL or IELTS, I mean) simultaneously with the rest of your application? For my master application, I only had to hand that one in after, and if I got admitted, but I'm assuming I need to hand it in beforehand here. (I can't figure out if I need to take it as I'm in a fully-in-English type of programme right now, and literally studied English before, and have heard I don't need to, but will need to contact them.)

Oh, and another (hopefully final, haha) question: does anyone else feel obnoxious even trying to apply to highly ranked programs? Every time I even click on the website of an Ivy I feel really weird about it, but I simultaneously feel that one of my main problems with previous attempts to apply at "good" universities was that I didn't feel comfortable even applying, and that came across in my application.

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4 hours ago, labradoodle said:

does anyone else feel obnoxious even trying to apply to highly ranked programs? Every time I even click on the website of an Ivy I feel really weird about it, but I simultaneously feel that one of my main problems with previous attempts to apply at "good" universities was that I didn't feel comfortable even applying, and that came across in my application.

I totally felt I was a bit delusional while applying to places like Syracuse and Cornell last cycle 😅 which turned out to be true. Even one of my LOR writers told me to be more realistic after I was flatly rejected all around. I didn't feel comfortable applying to them but they are all fully funded, so I thought I'd give it a wild stab! I'll be applying to more more *ahem* rural programs this time around 🤠.

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6 hours ago, labradoodle said:

By the way, does anyone know if you have to submit your language certificate (TOEFL or IELTS, I mean) simultaneously with the rest of your application? For my master application, I only had to hand that one in after, and if I got admitted, but I'm assuming I need to hand it in beforehand here. (I can't figure out if I need to take it as I'm in a fully-in-English type of programme right now, and literally studied English before, and have heard I don't need to, but will need to contact them.)

I believe you have to submit your English language proficiency test results by the time you submit your application. Even for my masters I sent in my result with my application too. I know that some of the British universities allow you to submit them after you're given a conditional offer (i.e. Oxbridge), but I think mostly it doesn't work like that in the U.S.

Some universities in the U.S. (e.g. Stanford) waive this requirement if you have studied in universities where English was the only medium of instruction, but most universities still require international students from non-Anglophone countries to submit their English proficiency test scores. If you want to save some money, take a good and careful look at the requirements from each school!

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31 minutes ago, Alyson said:

I believe you have to submit your English language proficiency test results by the time you submit your application. Even for my masters I sent in my result with my application too. I know that some of the British universities allow you to submit them after you're given a conditional offer (i.e. Oxbridge), but I think mostly it doesn't work like that in the U.S.

Some universities in the U.S. (e.g. Stanford) waive this requirement if you have studied in universities where English was the only medium of instruction, but most universities still require international students from non-Anglophone countries to submit their English proficiency test scores. If you want to save some money, take a good and careful look at the requirements from each school!

Thank you! Especially the first half is really good to know, as I couldn't find that info anywhere. I feel like I should be able to get away with not needing proficiency tests for some places, but am still in doubt. Like... as we need quite a high level of English to pass high school, any English requirements are completely wavered here for students who finished high school, and I've even seen Goldsmiths say that if you graduated from this school system with an 8/10 at least, they'd waver it. (But I graduated with a 7, even though I studied both English and an MA fully in English since, lol. An email should probably solve that one at least, haha.)

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6 hours ago, labradoodle said:

Thank you! Especially the first half is really good to know, as I couldn't find that info anywhere. I feel like I should be able to get away with not needing proficiency tests for some places, but am still in doubt. Like... as we need quite a high level of English to pass high school, any English requirements are completely wavered here for students who finished high school, and I've even seen Goldsmiths say that if you graduated from this school system with an 8/10 at least, they'd waver it. (But I graduated with a 7, even though I studied both English and an MA fully in English since, lol. An email should probably solve that one at least, haha.)

Which programs are you looking at? 🤔 (I'm just trying to help 😊) I think most list their English requirement for international students on their program websites; some on the graduate school website. If you were talking about not being able to find the info on Oxbridge's requirement, here it is:

https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/international/competence-english
 

When to take the language test

...

For the majority of courses, if a language test is required, you do not have to provide the results of your language test at the point of application, and you can submit your application for admission without them. However, the Master of Law (LLM), and Master of Corporate Law (MCL) do require you to submit your language test results with your application for admission.

In all cases, if a language test is required, you will be asked to provide the test results if you are made an offer of admission, and you cannot be admitted without a valid accepted language test certificate.

 

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/applying-to-oxford/application-guide/qualifications-languages-funding#content-tab--3

Do I need to have test scores when I apply?

If you already have English language test scores at the required level, please include them in your application. However, you are not required to provide test scores when you submit your application.

If you apply without submitting test scores, or you submit test scores below the required level, the academic department will assess your application as normal. If you receive an offer of a place, the department may require you to submit language test scores by a specific deadline as a condition of your offer. 

 

So if you don't need to have your test scores by the time you submit your application, if you're applying to these schools. And again, if you're applying to the U.S., there's a very high chance you will need them. It's only August now and you've still got months to take your TOEFL or IELTS! Book a test now if you haven't already. FWIW, I think the English test scores aren't that important in the admission process. Your proposal/writing sample and statement of purpose should speak to your ability to succeed in the program, so don't stress too much over this! 

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Thank you so much! I'm thinking of applying to Duke and Columbia now as far as US goes (not because I'm some sort of genius lol, I'm just not moving to a country without health care for a programme that's not worth that to me :P). I applied to Cambridge for my master's, so knowing that their leniency isn't universal does help, as I initially assumed their way of handling things must be the standard one (my home university didn't require anything of me). But I think I'm starting to understand, so you've already helped me out tons! Thanks! (I'm not too stressed by the requirement itself, by the way - I just need to figure out whether I need to schedule the test.)

Edited by labradoodle
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The University of Washington has Tom Foster, who's developed many classes that cover "critical comic studies"! I'm gonna be applying to their PhD program after receiving my MA from any of the schools I'm applying to right now because I really wanna work with him.

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I have a question - probably not the first time someone raised this question but I did a quick search and nothing came up. So...

Online applications often ask you to provide the other graduate schools to which you are applying. Why does the adcomm/the school need to know about this, and should we provide them with such information? (When I applied for my MA I didn't give them my program choices, but now I wonder if I should do it this time)

 

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6 hours ago, Alyson said:

I have a question - probably not the first time someone raised this question but I did a quick search and nothing came up. So...

Online applications often ask you to provide the other graduate schools to which you are applying. Why does the adcomm/the school need to know about this, and should we provide them with such information? (When I applied for my MA I didn't give them my program choices, but now I wonder if I should do it this time)

 

Schools are curious to see what their peers are and see if they can get a better understanding of why applicants are rejecting their offers to improve their acceptance rate. Are they losing applicants to schools that offer better funding based on the cost of living? Is the applicant only applying to top 10 programs? Is the applicant only applying to schools that have the most name recognition? Is the applicant applying to schools only within a certain demographic region? Are they losing people due to certain placement rates/lack of placement results?

It's likely that a lot of reasons might not be something schools can do something about but consistently losing people due to funding might help them build a case to build their base offer in the future.

However, most schools are just curious and it's unlikely to have any impact on your application.

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15 hours ago, Warelin said:

Schools are curious to see what their peers are and see if they can get a better understanding of why applicants are rejecting their offers to improve their acceptance rate. Are they losing applicants to schools that offer better funding based on the cost of living? Is the applicant only applying to top 10 programs? Is the applicant only applying to schools that have the most name recognition? Is the applicant applying to schools only within a certain demographic region? Are they losing people due to certain placement rates/lack of placement results?

It's likely that a lot of reasons might not be something schools can do something about but consistently losing people due to funding might help them build a case to build their base offer in the future.

However, most schools are just curious and it's unlikely to have any impact on your application.

Thank you for your reply! If I ever get to choose which program to attend, I'll surely let them know why I'm rejecting them, haha!

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