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Planning Ahead for 2013


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First, some brief background: got my BA in History and Scandinavian Studies in '01, then went straight to a terminal master's program in American material culture. Spend the next five years working in the public history/museum realm, then took some time off to stay home with my child. I've tried to keep at least a toe in the door during recent years through involvement in a state historical organization, and have organized several academic conferences, presented a paper, and have had a couple of encyclopedia articles (not exciting, I know, but figured they were something) published. I miss academic life, and would like to pursue a PhD in socio-cultural Anthropology, as that seems to best fit my passions and interests. I'm at a bit of a loss as where to start, though, as I feel a bit old and out of the loop. Any advice would be much appreciated! Some questions or concerns:

(1) I'm 33 -- will my age be an obstacle? I'm not even applying until next year, which means that I would be turning 35 when I (knock on wood) enter a program, and would be 40+ by the time of completion. Has my ship sailed?

(2) What can I do to burnish my Anthropology credentials? Almost all of my coursework has been in other (related) fields, other than a few undergraduate courses. On a similar note, what do I do about recommendations? I'm investigating the option of taking some non-credit courses in the spring and/or summer, and assume that these will help on both counts.

(3) I can't relocate for grad school, which I realize adds another layer of complication. That said, we are lucky enough to be in NYC, so I'm lucky to have some wonderful options available. Unfortunately I definitely realize that my chances of getting into, say, NYU or CUNY are slim to none. I'm in the early stages of identifying programs and faculty members, so any suggestions would be welcomed. My primary interests involves urban space and community, as well as a strong interest in heritage tourism. My background has been primarily in United States, but in recent years I have developed a passion for Venice, and hope to make it the centerpiece of my future research.

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  • 2 months later...

I replied but decided to not steal thunder with my own woes.

I don't think age should matter but I do believe that it becomes an exponentially increased factor later. It seems that there is a huge surplus of graduates in their early to mid 20s who are very eager and privileged with time and resources to devote a lot of time and money to pursuing anthropology. Makes it hard to compete if you've been bridled and yoked with post-college responsibilities. And it IS a competitive ranked system with privileged access to study materials and funding. Do you have time to travel and spend weeks or months or years in research? Can you save money by living with 2-3 roommates? That's what the over 30 crowd is up against.

You still have time, and you are in a good location with lots of good schools.

Have you considered Archaeology and Museum studies?

Edited by mutualist007
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