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Deciding Between Masters Programs-- Any Help Appreciated!


julijuli
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Hi Everyone, 

So I've heard back from all of my schools, and I'm now deciding between Saint Andrews, University of Edinburgh, Boston University, University of Glasgow, and GWU. I'm going for an MA in art history, probably focusing on American art after 1960. I'm really interested in all of the programs, but I'm not sure which would be the best to go to. Any advice? Thanks!

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I recommend prioritizing funding unless you have a way to pay for it without going into debt. Of course, this is also a balance with prestige and eventual job prospects. But if you're hoping to work in museums (or even go onto PhD), you'll not be making much, and if you can avoid or minimize debt, that's important to do. 

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I agree. Prioritize funding. But I also want to ask: why study American art at an English university? Not saying you can't (or shouldn't) but just pointing out that access to your research might be easier if you're in the states. 

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On 3/7/2022 at 2:12 PM, julijuli said:

... but I'm not sure which would be the best to go to. 

For a master's degree, hands down, you should be going to the school with the best funding package, unless you are independently wealthy or have other means of paying for school. This is not a field that offers much in the way of payout post-graduation, so if there is a good advisor for you at each of those schools, funding is the most important for an MA.

However, if there are any schools on that list who really do NOT have an advisor who is a good fit, I would write those schools off maybe even before funding. There is no use going to any program without the right faculty to guide you, since the work you do while in school will be far more important than the name of the school on your diploma at the end of all of it.

If they all have comparable funding and comparable advisors, the choice is pretty subjective. consider the following:

- Where is it located? Do you feel good about moving to this location?

- what is the cost of living there? Will your funding package cover your living situation in said location, or will you have to get 1 or more jobs to offset that cost, or take out extra loans?

- What benefits and opportunities do these schools provide for their students OUTSIDE of work in the classroom?

-How long is the program? Will you be rushed through, or can you take your time and make sure you are absorbing as much as possible?

-What is the culture like on campus and specifically in the department? Talk to current students and recent grads to get a sense of how it feels to be a part of that academic system.

-What are recent post-MA placements? Are they doing the things you want to be doing after graduating? Getting into the schools you want? Working in the types of museums you have interest in?

Just my two cents/some tried and true advice.

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Agree that it may not make the most sense to study American art at a UK university. However, if you really want to spend time living/studying/working abroad an MA might be the time to do it as your research obviously will not be taking you outside of the US too much. 

I did my undergrad at BU and did an MA in the UK last year so feel free to message me questions relating to either experience.

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