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Toronto vs. Western Ontario


hopeontelevision

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I was hoping people might be able to give me some advice. I've been accepted to funded MAs in philosophy at both Toronto and Western Ontario. I'm having a hard time deciding. Both have great faculty in my AOIs. Toronto is more prestigious, but I've heard that I'd get a lot more attention paid to me at Western because it has a more closely knit community and fewer grad students. Can anyone offer any advice? I'd like to go on to a PhD afterwards, so I want to pick the program that will best serve that end. Thanks!

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Based on the schools you applied to for PhDs, I'd suggust Toronto. UWO, from my understanding, is more SPEP oriented. Just my 2 cents.

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I am currently doing my MA at Western, and I also did my undergrad here. I would say that it ultimately depends on your area of interest. Western is very strong in phil of science, but we also have a strong showing in the history of philosophy, even though this is not necessarily reflected in our rankings. We are well represented in pretty much every period up until the 18th century, including both Kant's theoretical and practical philosophy. Also take a look a the list of classes that are being offered next year and see if there is alot offered in your AOI.

That being said, Western has a very good MA program. The professors and other grad students are all very friendly and willing to help you. I never felt like I was a second rate student and there is lots of opportunity for both casual and professional interaction. I have heard this is not necessarily the case at U of T. Western also has a reasonable cost of living, so your funding goes further, and it also has a centralized campus, so your TA asignments are close by (I have heard this is sometimes a problem for U of T students, as they have campuses all over T.O., and they tend to give their PhD students higher priority).

I hope this helps with your decision. It would be better to talk to an MA student from U of T for more accurate info, as much of what I have reported is second hand. I can say that my experience at Western has been very positive overall, and it is a great place to do your MA. If you have any other questions just let me know, I would be happy to be of any further help.

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I am currently doing my MA at Western, and I also did my undergrad here. I would say that it ultimately depends on your area of interest. Western is very strong in phil of science, but we also have a strong showing in the history of philosophy, even though this is not necessarily reflected in our rankings. We are well represented in pretty much every period up until the 18th century, including both Kant's theoretical and practical philosophy. Also take a look a the list of classes that are being offered next year and see if there is alot offered in your AOI.

That being said, Western has a very good MA program. The professors and other grad students are all very friendly and willing to help you. I never felt like I was a second rate student and there is lots of opportunity for both casual and professional interaction. I have heard this is not necessarily the case at U of T. Western also has a reasonable cost of living, so your funding goes further, and it also has a centralized campus, so your TA asignments are close by (I have heard this is sometimes a problem for U of T students, as they have campuses all over T.O., and they tend to give their PhD students higher priority).

I hope this helps with your decision. It would be better to talk to an MA student from U of T for more accurate info, as much of what I have reported is second hand. I can say that my experience at Western has been very positive overall, and it is a great place to do your MA. If you have any other questions just let me know, I would be happy to be of any further help.

Thank you! I have heard similar things about U of T, although I have also spoken with an MA student who had a very positive experience. Out of curiosity, did you apply for PhDs this season? If so, may I ask how you fared? My main reluctance to turn down Toronto is to due with their reputation, which I imagine helps in the PhD application process. I'm curious as to how Western is regarded at American and other international universities. My AOIs are normative and applied ethics, with secondary interest in phenomenology. Both schools have faculty that I'd love to work with in both of these areas (Western mostly at the Theory and Criticism School, which I've been told I can take classes at).

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If you are thinking of developing your phenomenology interest at all I would suggest going to U of T. Western is a very traditional analytic department, and although there are some ties to the theory and crit department they are not very tight ones. That being said we do have some very good philosophers in normative and applied ethics, such as Anthony Skelton, Andrew Botterel, Dennis Klimchuk, all of whom are not only exceptional philosophers, but very good teachers as well. We also have a good representation in the history of ethics.

Once again how other schools view Western depends on AOI. If you are interested in Phil of Science a degree from Western is immenently marketable. My AOI is in the history of philosophy, and many people recognized who I was working with. Depending on whether you are thinking of applying immediatly to a PhD you should also consider whether or not you will use references from this year or next year. If you are planning on getting some references from wherever you go next year look to see if you will get the chance to take a class and work with these people so that they can write you good letters. Application season sneaks up fast.

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If you are thinking of developing your phenomenology interest at all I would suggest going to U of T. Western is a very traditional analytic department, and although there are some ties to the theory and crit department they are not very tight ones. That being said we do have some very good philosophers in normative and applied ethics, such as Anthony Skelton, Andrew Botterel, Dennis Klimchuk, all of whom are not only exceptional philosophers, but very good teachers as well. We also have a good representation in the history of ethics.

Once again how other schools view Western depends on AOI. If you are interested in Phil of Science a degree from Western is immenently marketable. My AOI is in the history of philosophy, and many people recognized who I was working with. Depending on whether you are thinking of applying immediatly to a PhD you should also consider whether or not you will use references from this year or next year. If you are planning on getting some references from wherever you go next year look to see if you will get the chance to take a class and work with these people so that they can write you good letters. Application season sneaks up fast.

Oh really? I'm surprised that they are not open to phenomenology since I saw they were offering a seminar on Merleau-Ponty in the fall. I sort of assumed this indicated a Continental presence at UWO, but maybe it's more of an anomaly? I am indeed (at this point) hoping to do a PhD immediately after. I would probably consider applying to the PhD at UWO, but I'll also likely be applying once again to American, Canadian, and Australian schools. I'd like to get at least one new reference, which was partly why I thought UWO might be a better place (since it's less massive and thus I'd be more likely to develop better relationships with profs in a shorter time). But in light of what you've said, I'm starting to lean back towards Toronto?

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If you are thinking of going to UWO for a PhD then getting a foot in the door in the MA program is very good option. There are many successful students who did there MA here and then got into the PhD program. Also the faculty is very supportive of the MA students here and I am sure that if you worked closely with any one of the professor's in your field of interest getting a reference would not be a problem (As long as you were able to demonstrate your ability before applications are due). Just a heads up though, Anthony Skelton will be away on sabbatical next year, so that is one less person working in your area. Looking at the classes for first semester (http://uwo.ca/philosophy/graduate/6-current_students/CourseList2012-13.html) in your AOI it seems that you would have some really good options. If you are interested in Philosophy of Law at all I would highly recommend the class being taught by Andrew Botterel and Dennis Klimchuck, they are both fantastic. I hope this is of some help.

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If you are thinking of going to UWO for a PhD then getting a foot in the door in the MA program is very good option. There are many successful students who did there MA here and then got into the PhD program. Also the faculty is very supportive of the MA students here and I am sure that if you worked closely with any one of the professor's in your field of interest getting a reference would not be a problem (As long as you were able to demonstrate your ability before applications are due). Just a heads up though, Anthony Skelton will be away on sabbatical next year, so that is one less person working in your area. Looking at the classes for first semester (http://uwo.ca/philos...ist2012-13.html) in your AOI it seems that you would have some really good options. If you are interested in Philosophy of Law at all I would highly recommend the class being taught by Andrew Botterel and Dennis Klimchuck, they are both fantastic. I hope this is of some help.

Hey, thanks again for all your help! After a lot of going back and forth, I ended up accepting Western!

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