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2023 Application Thread


dr. telkanuru
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  • 1 month later...

Submitted my first application for the 2023 Application Season. Just waiting on the others to open. Anyone else started the process yet?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hey guys! 

I am a (potential) PhD program applicant for the Fall 2023 cycle. I recently graduated from a top 30 university in the U.S. with highest honors in History. Currently, I'm working on my program list the Fall 2023 PhD application. I currently hold an offer from the Master of Global History program at HSE, Saint Petersburg. I'm also waiting to hear back from the Global History MA at FU Berlin. Both of these are two-year, fully funded, English programs starting in Fall 2022.

Please find my backgrounds as followed:

  • GPA: 3.89/4.0
  • GRE: 321 (VR: 157, QR: 164, AW: 4.5) - probably will take again if the schools require GRE this year
  • Award-winning thesis on Sino-Soviet split, heavily based on primary sources in Chinese, Russian, and Polish.
  • Language: Chinese - Fluent, English - Fluent, Polish - Beginner, Russian - Beginner
  • Publications in undergraduate journals and non-academic platforms. 
  • My interest area lies between Russian & Eastern European studies, history of modern China, and diplomatic history. From my undergrad thesis, I'm particularly interested in going further into two directions: 1. Chinese political movements in a global context and 2. Diplomatic relationships within the Communist Bloc. 

I would really appreciate any advice on my future steps. Should I take a gap year and apply during the Fall 2023 cycle? OR should I build up my language skills through a master's program and apply in Fall 2024? Recommendations of program/professors will also be appreciated!

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Welp, change of plans. I'm no longer interested in non-Australian universities for my Masters (mostly due to funding, Australia is pretty good in this regard). I'm applying to the University of Melbourne for a Master of Arts (thesis only) with a focus in Modern Russian History, specifically on the Orthodox faith. There's alot I need to arrange: references, a writing sample, research proposal and CV. As my research has a Byzantine angle, I need a secondary supervisor from a different university - my alma mater has good ones. 

A question: I've been learning Russian these past 18 months, and have reached a Beginner to Immediate level. I am self-taught. What's the best way to convey this in my application?

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On 6/20/2022 at 8:32 AM, Prophecies said:

A question: I've been learning Russian these past 18 months, and have reached a Beginner to Immediate level. I am self-taught. What's the best way to convey this in my application?

On mine I spelled it out in my SOP as well as on my CV, plus, when I've reached out to the professors that I'm interested in working with, I've asked them about languages, and expressed what I've learned. I have taken several years of formal French study, but I'm self-learning Spanish and Dutch via Duolingo. Honestly, the professors and Directors of Graduate education that I've spoken with say that formal versus self-taught don't really matter, as long as you're able to efficiently demonstrate that you have the knowledge on the translation test, or you take the formal courses to meet your requirement. I haven't been accepted yet, however, so, I can't say for sure if what they told me is accurate. 

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On 6/20/2022 at 8:32 AM, Prophecies said:

Welp, change of plans. I'm no longer interested in non-Australian universities for my Masters (mostly due to funding, Australia is pretty good in this regard). I'm applying to the University of Melbourne for a Master of Arts (thesis only) with a focus in Modern Russian History, specifically on the Orthodox faith. There's alot I need to arrange: references, a writing sample, research proposal and CV. As my research has a Byzantine angle, I need a secondary supervisor from a different university - my alma mater has good ones. 

A question: I've been learning Russian these past 18 months, and have reached a Beginner to Immediate level. I am self-taught. What's the best way to convey this in my application?

 

1 hour ago, ladydobz said:

On mine I spelled it out in my SOP as well as on my CV, plus, when I've reached out to the professors that I'm interested in working with, I've asked them about languages, and expressed what I've learned. I have taken several years of formal French study, but I'm self-learning Spanish and Dutch via Duolingo. Honestly, the professors and Directors of Graduate education that I've spoken with say that formal versus self-taught don't really matter, as long as you're able to efficiently demonstrate that you have the knowledge on the translation test, or you take the formal courses to meet your requirement. I haven't been accepted yet, however, so, I can't say for sure if what they told me is accurate. 

Allow to provide a different angle.

While your level of Russian might be enough for the program requirement, not all POIs admit based off that. The whole point of languages is that you use them for your research, either reading sources or reading scholars. So, in your CV you can add a line on "known languages" (no need to include they are self taught, if they are not in your transcript, people will add up). But in your WS you can show that you've used the language. Or in you SOP you can point at language training as part of your career development. Eg, you found sources that you are unable to read yet, but are confident that a summer program in X university will get you to the finish line. Or Eg 2, You plan to take three semesters of Russian at the institutions well-renowned Language Center. 

In other words, admissions are not a list of boxes that you check. Those boxes are a starting point, but you need to show how you will grow as a scholar in that specific program. 

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Thanks guys for the excellent advice - Russian is not technically a requirement for Masters, but there's an expectation at most Aussie universities you'll learn it while doing graduate research. Speaking of which, I've just finished Russian Babbel! 

This is an odd research proposal so far, it's longer than most (2,500 words!) which is actually a blessing, as there's something helpful about seeing your ideas written down (further scrutiny is always required, imo). I'm questioning one aspect of my proposal so far - the Byzantium angle. It may detract from the core aspects of the thesis (Analysing theologies towards war in the Post-Soviet Russian Orthodox Church). So I bit off more than I can chew. A shame, really - one of the core aspects of being a historian that excites me is connecting events, people, civilisations, wars and religions across different times and places. I'm not ignoring Byzantine (it's too important for any thesis on the Russian Church) - it just won't result in a secondary supervisor or many chapters. 

Narrowing down is always a challenge - it's not just the topic, but also the examples / sources used. 

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On 6/20/2022 at 8:32 AM, Prophecies said:

I've been learning Russian these past 18 months, and have reached a Beginner to Immediate level. I am self-taught. What's the best way to convey this in my application?

A writing sample using the language in your primary and secondary sources.

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