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Greetings all,

As one of the group (legion?) of people admitted to Chicago's one-year MAPH, I thought it might be a good idea to open a thread for discussion of the program for those of us who are even remotely considering it be an option (as well as those who have been through it/ have helpful advice to give).

I know there is already a thread going about one-year MA's in general, but I didn't want to hijack it with a discussion that was narrowed to one program. Also, I have discussed this with a few individuals (thanks!) but I figured it would be helpful for anyone to be able to chime in.

I have a few specific questions about funding. In particular, I just read that those with partial funding must respond by 4/15, while those without have until 4/29. Is there any chance that, if enough people with partial waivers decline, others without funding will receive an offer? I feel like that is unlikely, but it's worth asking.

My other question involves application timing. It strikes me that, since PhD app season begins during the winter quarter, there won't have been much time to generate a better writing sample, have much of an MA transcript, or build relationships in the department. Then again, maybe this worry is unfounded. I'd love to hear other perspectives.

I know this will basically come down to money, and whether I am crazy enough to risk debtors' prison. I know it would be insane to take this over any kind of funded offer, and I'm still waiting on a few funded MA's. I'm also aware that with a bit of funding this could still be an irresponsible choice. But I am also obsessed with this school. Anyone else facing a similar dilemma?

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For me, academics is a passion (as I'm sure it is for many others). I find the idea of being funded to learn stuff pretty cool, but as far as expenses go (I was admitted without funding) I would much rather read and study hard on my own than spend 40,000 on Chicago. As much as I love W.J.T Mitchell, that figure isn't appealing. My goal isn't to get an awesome professor job at the end of my PhD (though it would be nice), I just want to be immersed in a fun academic environment.

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I'm still waiting to hear back from schools and about funding offers for the schools that have offered admission, but I am very seriously considering the MAPH.

I have read that MAPH does not encouraging applying to PhD programs during that winter. It's certainly possible though. If I had a gap year, I would consider resume-building opportunities, especially teaching at a community college (MAPH has a course for that) or applying to work for MAPH for that year (each year they hire like 3 graduates to advise/direct the new students).

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i also got bounced to the MAPH. it seems like a money-maker to me, but, then again, i am a hater. in the letter, they kept emphasizing the program's "intensity" but, to me, it seems like it would be better for someone more laid-back. someone who doesn't necessarily want a career in academia or who wants to keep their options open.

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This is totally anecdotal, but I have encountered a seemingly very high number of people (given the sample size) who have completed Chicago's MAPH at the visit weekends I've been to lately, both within the cohort of perspectives and (even more so) within the ranks of the current PhD students. If nothing else, it seems like a program that has a great deal of success in getting people into good/great PhD programs eventually.

Of course, my "study" (based solely on asking a shitload of people where they did their MA's) was hardly scientific..... :lol:

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I have read that MAPH does not encouraging applying to PhD programs during that winter. It's certainly possible though. If I had a gap year, I would consider resume-building opportunities, especially teaching at a community college (MAPH has a course for that) or applying to work for MAPH for that year (each year they hire like 3 graduates to advise/direct the new students).

I was thinking similarly. It looks like you have some awesome acceptances. Are those also MA's (if you don't mind my asking)? I also looked up the Mentor program, which I would be very interested in. It's very competitive, from what I can tell. I wasn't aware of the course on community college teaching, however. My only worry for that is that I would have to start paying those loans back within a year of graduating.

As for the "intensity" of the program, I would say that is referring to the course load and rapidity of the program, rather than any estimation of the career goals of its participants. Getting an MA in one year is pretty intense. I'll agree that the interdisciplinary focus might seem less lit focused than other MA's, but I definitely don't think it would be considered more laid back than a typical English MA.

Dorinda, I'm happy to hear your fact-finding mission was positive. Not to worry about your empirical evidence. My brain is immune to such considerations as "statistics." I did apply to Ph.D programs, after all...

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I have a buddy who did MAPH at Chicago. He has a job teaching at a community college, by which he funds a writing career. So his degree has been useful, and I don't think he regrets it. But he's still fairly bitter about the attention paying MA students got from professors. As in, he felt they got none. I would try to find out directly whether people in the program still feel that way. Could be corrosive.

I didn't apply to Chicago's program and haven't been to the school at all since I was seventeen, so this is very much a second-hand report.

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I was thinking similarly. It looks like you have some awesome acceptances. Are those also MA's (if you don't mind my asking)? I also looked up the Mentor program, which I would be very interested in. It's very competitive, from what I can tell. I wasn't aware of the course on community college teaching, however. My only worry for that is that I would have to start paying those loans back within a year of graduating.

I apologize if my signature was misleading, but the "waiting" category was for schools I hadn't heard back from yet and not schools I was waitlisted for. It's now fixed. My acceptances to SUNY Binghamton and Buffalo are for PhDs. They're not quite stellar departments for philosophy, and they have no word on funding yet. U Chicago offered me a half-tuition scholarship, so I may be more excited about it than others. I really don't know how I qualified for that, especially given the responses I've received from less competitive schools, but my personal statement and writing sample turned out to perfectly fit the theme of the the MAPH Core course of the 2011-2012 year.

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I've been accepted to the MAPH program as well. I received half tuition, but I was instructed to respond by April 29th, not April 15th. It would be absurd to require us to respond so early since their 'campus days' program falls on the 14th and 15th of April anyway.

My biggest dilemma was that I had my mind pretty much made up not to attend the MAPH program until one of my philosophy profs who wrote letters for me told I shouldn't be so dismissive of it since Chicago is such a great school. Surely, we reasoned, it would not hurt my application to have an MA from a school as prestigious as The University of Chicago.

But, on the other hand, the MA is NOT in my intended course of study for UChicago (I applied to the Philosophy department) and from what I've heard, the philosophy professors are not exactly warm to the MAPH students. What's more, I've been accepted to Fordham without funding and it costs the same as tuition at Chicago's MAPH AFTER my scholarship is applied. I wouldn't even consider the MAPH if I hadn't gotten funding and I'm still strongly leaning toward 'no.'

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Given that you're philosophy, I wouldn't recommend MAPH since philosophy programs tend to be more strict about their disciplinarity than, say, English, which is quite interdisciplinary. I did MAPH, and while I found the English faculty quite receptive and supportive, I heard that the philosophy faculty were resistant. If you won't take on more debt to do Fordham than Chicago and that is a traditional philosophy MA, that would be a better choice. However, if I were you, I wouldn't do either and apply again in the fall more widely.

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To clarify: I split my applications into Philosophy programs and English programs with emphasis on Medieval Literature. Since I'm not quite up to par for PhD programs in Comp. Lit. (I lack languages, I was a double major as an undergrad and concentrated on philosophy and medieval studies), accepting an MA offer is just about the only thing I can do to advance in this area. I would probably not accept an MA offer for Philosophy (unless it was fully funded, which seems very unlikely to happen). Attending an MA in English seems to make a lot more sense though. But I could be wrong, and I probably am! This is my first year applying.

Edited by LeFresne

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Got accepted by MAPH too and unfunded. Also got accepted by Tufts' philosophy terminal MA program, with 60 % tuition remission. However, considering that the living expenses in Boston is higher than in Chicago, and Tufts requires two years, it seems that Tufts probably is not a lot cheaper than MAPH....

By the way, is anyone who is going to take MAPH considering career options other than PhD? Can you get a good job after MAPH?

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Does anyone what is the acceptance rate of MAPH?

The email I got indicated that they consider a total of around 900 apps including the nearly 600 that apply for the Ph.D. It also said that only about 2% of admitted students receive a half-tuition fellowship. This seems strange, as it would indicate that either half of a person gets a fellowship or more than 100 people are admitted to the MAPH. I guess I could be reading it wrong.

Edit: Also, LeFresne, my apologies for making assumptions. I just read those dates on the MAPH admit page somewhere. It's obviously out of date, then. Also, I emailed to see if any funding is shifted around after people decline offers. The reply was negative.

Edited by ahembree

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There were over 100 people (close to 140 I think) in my MAPH cohort since it draws from a number of disciplines. The funding offers are quite competitive, but in spite of what they told us, I don't think admission to the MA is supercompetitive. I could be wrong, but while you have access to same amazing opportunities through MAPH, it does provide a significant source of the funding for their Ph.D. programs in the humanities.

@lilysoul: Do you teach in the Tufts MA? Are there TA-ships/additional assistantships you can apply for in the 2nd year? If either of those are true, Tufts is probably a better choice. No teaching experience in the MA is a disadvantage when you're applying to Ph.D. programs. Again, strict philosophy Ph.D. programs are quite a bit more strict than English programs, so take than into consideration if you're planning on going the philosophy Ph.D. track after the MA.

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About the strictly philosophy PhDs, thanks for the advice. I will take that into account. However, MAPH does offer a concentration in philosophy (it's like 7 of the 9 courses are electives, right?), and I've seen PhD students at Syracuse and UIC that have MA's from UChicago, which I'm assuming is the MAPH as Chicago offers no other Masters program and leaving Chicago's PhD program for another would be insane. And this is only out of the departments that I've researched that in-depth. One of my letter-writers lives and professes philosophy in the Chicago area now (not UChicago, though). His impression of the program is that it is what a student makes of it. If one takes advantage of opportunities and approaches faculty, he or she is likely to do very well. Also, sorry if I'm taking us off topic. I didn't realize I was in the Literature, and Rhetoric and Composition forum until it was too late.

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Also, sorry if I'm taking us off topic. I didn't realize I was in the Literature, and Rhetoric and Composition forum until it was too late.

You're welcome to stay for tea, if you like ;)

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2011 MAPH graduate here, Cinema and Media Studies. The shortest truth of MAPH is that it is what you make of it. My cohort was about 110, from the usual 900+ applicants across the entire Div. of Humanities. It was an incredible experience, and frankly, the notions of faculty ignoring MA students are silly. Again, it is what you make of it, and I was hell-bent on making use of my year there to get what I needed. What did I need? Well, I came from an unknown undergrad with a "meh" record with no hope of getting into a top PhD in my program. At Chicago I could fix all of that to a great extent. So I did everything possible. I met many times with some of the top people in both CMS and English, took PhD seminars when possible, attended every relevant event, networked with faculty and current students...my firm impression is that if you demonstrate your sincerity and drive, faculty will be as open to you as to PhD people. They certainly were to me.

Did MAPH help me? Absolutely. I may not get in anywhere this year, but that is entirely because there are (based on feedback I've received thus far) a few things 'off' about my SOP. However a fellow MAPHer in English has gotten into NYU and Johns Hopkins. Another got into UChicago's Philosophy. Last year someone got into several top English places and is now at Duke. In my field, UIowa (one of the legendary departments) has many MAPHers. MAPH primarily targets professionals who want to dabble into academia, and people like me who need an extra edge to get into the top PhD programs. Without MAPH, I seriously doubt I could have developed the writing sample I have, or just even gotten the inside view of what, really, PhD work at a top institution is all about--expectations, culture, everything. I still have the full support of my faculty, and am working with them to fix the lapses in my application, and I'm more than confident that I can recover from what looks to be an unusual wipeout this year.

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i've been accepted to the MAPH program with 100% tuition scholarship for 2012-13, but i applied directly to MAPH and to other master's programs, not to any PhD programs. I recognize that i do not have the experience necessary for a PhD program yet. On the advice of a former prof who now works with the MAPH program, i'm using it to polish my research and give me an edge in future PhD applications.

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Thanks, Ahembree! i am utterly thrilled. And terrified.

Congratulations! I'm also thrilled to see that MAPH is now offering full tuition remission. I think that will really help to alleviate the prevalent opinion of MAPH as simply a cash cow. I did MAPH in 07-08 and had some funding, but no one had full tuition remissoin. It's great that is changing. I would agree that MAPH is what you make of it. Like the previous poster, I networked, attended all department functions, took multiple graduate seminars in my area (including 8000 level courses) and had very positive experiences with faculty. I got 5 great offers last year, and I know MAPH made me a better writer and scholar. Getting to work with the medieval and early modern profs I did was amazing, and they were all very supportive of me, keeping in contact and doing new letters for me when I applied to just a few schools in fall 08 and then when I applied to a bunch of schools last fall. However, a lot of people in my cohort were quite discontented. Yes, MAPH grads get some awesome placements. A friend in my cohort is at Cornell, another is at UT-Austin, another at Fordham, another at NYU law, etc., and I was very nearly at Duke last year (sigh). BUT for every happy MAPH-er there are a few unhappy ones. Especially if you don't have any funding, know what you're getting into.

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