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Current Wisdom on the Cambridge M Phil and other program stuff.


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I'm switching into english from another discipline, and looking to do a masters before going on to a phd (I had about 3 english courses in undergrad, and recently took 2 english graduate courses to familiarize myself with the current academic enviroment and acquire a few basic tools) . I'm mostly interested in hearing from people who have actually completed the Mphil from Cambridge and whether or not you felt that it helped your research and ultimately your chances of continuing on to doctoral work.

I'm interested in British Romanticism, have read a formidable amount of secondary literature for my writing topic, and yet I still feel like I am stumbling through my SOP; working backwards from my writing sample I can give a few bland sentences on "my interests" and how they intersect with current issues, but I can't say how my project might look going forward, and, most troubling, I feel unable to fully express my research interests other than trite generalities. What I think I am most looking for in a masters experience is more exposure to British Romantic authors like coleridge, keats, shelley, wordsworth, and hume, with the hopes of being able to ultimately more cogently articulate my research interests. Since the mphil is only one year, I'm not sure how much I will be able to benefit from it since I am still not fully coherent on what direction my research will take, or if, given ~9 months to myself, will come up with some wild and absurd thesis.

I did a cursory look at Oxford, but they didnt really seem to have any professors working with what I was interested in, and no one using a methodology that I was interested in. I looked at MAPH also, but that's only a year, so again, not sure how much I will benefit from it given my current situation.

oh yea, other stats are 3.3 gpa from an invisible smlac, 730 verbal and a cringing math score (still clear the 1200 mark however.)

:blink:

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I'm switching into english from another discipline, and looking to do a masters before going on to a phd (I had about 3 english courses in undergrad, and recently took 2 english graduate courses to familiarize myself with the current academic enviroment and acquire a few basic tools) . I'm mostly interested in hearing from people who have actually completed the Mphil from Cambridge and whether or not you felt that it helped your research and ultimately your chances of continuing on to doctoral work.

I'm interested in British Romanticism, have read a formidable amount of secondary literature for my writing topic, and yet I still feel like I am stumbling through my SOP; working backwards from my writing sample I can give a few bland sentences on "my interests" and how they intersect with current issues, but I can't say how my project might look going forward, and, most troubling, I feel unable to fully express my research interests other than trite generalities. What I think I am most looking for in a masters experience is more exposure to British Romantic authors like coleridge, keats, shelley, wordsworth, and hume, with the hopes of being able to ultimately more cogently articulate my research interests. Since the mphil is only one year, I'm not sure how much I will be able to benefit from it since I am still not fully coherent on what direction my research will take, or if, given ~9 months to myself, will come up with some wild and absurd thesis.

I have serious moral reserves about recommending a non-funded Master's program, but given your situation (and the fact that you're already looking at unfunded MA-esque programs), this is perhaps looking into. I know nothing about Oxford, so I'll leave that for someone else.

Romanticism is one of my fields. There are the strong programs (that I'm aware of) which offer terminal MA's. Unfortunately, none of these are funded.

UC-Irvine: They actually have some really strong Romanticists, so this might be worth a look. This is a summer master's program (which does have its down sides). You'll want to make sure that the professors you want would be teaching during the summers. If you're interested in theory (and if you're doing Romanticism, you'll need more than passing familiarity with theory), Irvine may be a good bet.

UVA: strong program for romanticism. Their master's students take classes with the PhD students, so you should have access to outstanding professors. It is pretty gosh-darn pricy.

Brown: the romanticist faculty isn't deep, but from my vague recollection...they have some strong people (if you can find a good match). Again, expensive, but since they take a tiny MA cohort (2-5 each year, I think), you should receive the attention you need. It's possible to do this in a year--but really, ridiculously intense.

*

There should be funded MA's as well...I'm just not familiar with the strengths/weaknesses of those particular programs.

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I'm switching into english from another discipline, and looking to do a masters before going on to a phd (I had about 3 english courses in undergrad, and recently took 2 english graduate courses to familiarize myself with the current academic enviroment and acquire a few basic tools) . I'm mostly interested in hearing from people who have actually completed the Mphil from Cambridge and whether or not you felt that it helped your research and ultimately your chances of continuing on to doctoral work.

I'm interested in British Romanticism, have read a formidable amount of secondary literature for my writing topic, and yet I still feel like I am stumbling through my SOP; working backwards from my writing sample I can give a few bland sentences on "my interests" and how they intersect with current issues, but I can't say how my project might look going forward, and, most troubling, I feel unable to fully express my research interests other than trite generalities. What I think I am most looking for in a masters experience is more exposure to British Romantic authors like coleridge, keats, shelley, wordsworth, and hume, with the hopes of being able to ultimately more cogently articulate my research interests. Since the mphil is only one year, I'm not sure how much I will be able to benefit from it since I am still not fully coherent on what direction my research will take, or if, given ~9 months to myself, will come up with some wild and absurd thesis.

I did a cursory look at Oxford, but they didnt really seem to have any professors working with what I was interested in, and no one using a methodology that I was interested in. I looked at MAPH also, but that's only a year, so again, not sure how much I will benefit from it given my current situation.

oh yea, other stats are 3.3 gpa from an invisible smlac, 730 verbal and a cringing math score (still clear the 1200 mark however.)

:blink:

Oxford is really quite strong in Romanticism... although, some faculty may have retired recently. People I know of working in the area are: Lucy Newlyn (Teddy Hall), Seamus Perry (Balliol) and Tom Paulin (Hertford). However, they're not big on theory (at least, anything other than than a very diluted New Historicism) - so, I can see this may be where they wouldn't appeal. You should be able to access the current lecture list here: https://weblearn.ox....y/humdiv/engfac to get an idea of what's available, and people's areas of interest. There will probably be more Romantics lectures and classes in Hilary Term (after Christmas) as that's when Romantics is usually taught to undergrads.

Edited by vallensvelvet
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Yea I had taken some great classes at one of those schools listed but had decided not to apply there (not from any bad experience, but from wanting to be elsehwere.)

Switching disciplines is certainly not an ideal place to be with the costs that seem to come with it; I can't find any funded master's programs where I was also able to find people doing work in line with my research, and any venerable program seemed to be either a minor ivy (like brown or Chicago's maph option) public ivy (like UVA) or place like Cambridge and Oxford. I've come to accept the fact that I will be paying, and if I'm going to pay, might as well get a trip to England out of it, instead of New England ;p Said perhaps another way, at my stage it would be more costly to wait out another year, rather than just pay and establish a solid basis for future research.

I'm giong to give Oxford a closer look, some of those people might not be as much of a stretch as I thought before.

I have serious moral reserves about recommending a non-funded Master's program, but given your situation (and the fact that you're already looking at unfunded MA-esque programs), this is perhaps looking into. I know nothing about Oxford, so I'll leave that for someone else.

Romanticism is one of my fields. There are the strong programs (that I'm aware of) which offer terminal MA's. Unfortunately, none of these are funded.

UC-Irvine: They actually have some really strong Romanticists, so this might be worth a look. This is a summer master's program (which does have its down sides). You'll want to make sure that the professors you want would be teaching during the summers. If you're interested in theory (and if you're doing Romanticism, you'll need more than passing familiarity with theory), Irvine may be a good bet.

UVA: strong program for romanticism. Their master's students take classes with the PhD students, so you should have access to outstanding professors. It is pretty gosh-darn pricy.

Brown: the romanticist faculty isn't deep, but from my vague recollection...they have some strong people (if you can find a good match). Again, expensive, but since they take a tiny MA cohort (2-5 each year, I think), you should receive the attention you need. It's possible to do this in a year--but really, ridiculously intense.

*

There should be funded MA's as well...I'm just not familiar with the strengths/weaknesses of those particular programs.

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