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English PhD: UNC-Chapel Hill or UC Davis?


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OK. I still have to go see Davis, but I'm desperately trying to decide where I'm going to go, and I wanted to see what other people thought about these two programs. If anyone has any ideas/comments about the schools, I would be so grateful for any words of wisdom that could be offered at this point.

I don't want to influence commentary, but here are the strengths and weaknesses of the two programs (as I see them). UC Davis program: They have really wooed me, they are offering me more money (way more in the first year), and there are more people who work in my field. Strengths of the UNC-Chapel Hill program: the school is closer to home, I already know current and prospective students, there is a good and highly intellectual graduate community, and the name is well known. Worries about Davis: It is far from home and I'm unclear about job prospects. Worries about UNC: American Studies seems to be the focus of the program, and again, I'm worried about job prospects. However, I'm sure everyone is worried about their chances of getting a job after grad school, and I am not sure there is a difference between the two programs.

opinions...

Thank you for your help! :)

Best,

Snagsby

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Sounds like a tough decision.

Some thoughts:

1) I realize UNC is a bigger name to the world at large, but everything I've heard about UCD indicates it's a top program, well respected in the field. I don't think you're losing much there. The faculty's supposed to be out of this world.

2) As for the money, have you done a cost of living comparison?

http://www.bestplaces.net/Default.aspx

You can plug in the amount each one's offering and see how they compare. Davis is not the coast but I'm guessing it may be a tad more expensive than Chapel Hill.

3) Jobs --have you looked at placement records of each school? They must have an officer in charge of such things, and that person must have up to date stats.

4) location -- if you've done all your work on the east coast, you may want to consider this too; I've had more than one person tell me that doing all your work in one general area may brand you as "regional" in the eyes of some hiring comms. Though with the quality of the programs, I doubt that would be too big an issue.

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Some people might advise you to stay within the top 30, but I think anywhere in the top 40 is a good place to be. Who really knows what these ranking are based on anyway?

I would say that it probably depends somewhat on the packages. Unfortunately, it is hard to get through without enough funding. Are you leaning towards one over the other? I think when people have good choices (like you and I do--yeah! :) ), perhaps it all comes down to the campus visits.

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I totally said that anywhere in the top forty is a great place to be, but really that is silly, because there are so many great places and it all depends on where the professors in your field are located. If there is someone wonderful at a school that is ranked lower, you should probably go there. Yet, as I am finding out, funding REALLY matters...sad, but true. I can't go to one of the top schools in my field because they are not offering enough funding. I'm still hoping they might offer me more, but I'm happy with the two more viable options--and I honestly think I will expand my interests more at the two schools that have offered me great packages.

Anyway, it is almost time to decide!!!! :shock:

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