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Middlebury Language School MA


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  • 3 weeks later...

I've heard it's an excellent program. But you have to pay, and this doesn't strike me as a good option if you are looking to continue on to a PhD program, as PhD programs (including masters) in the USA are typically funded (and sometimes quite generously). I don't know if this is a consideration or not.

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There may be, I'm not sure. When I was looking into it (2010) it didn't appear to be available. But check it out! My professor opted to do the Middlebury MA program and was then accepted into Yale's PhD program. So, it's definitely an excellent program.

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  • 3 months later...

I know this is an old thread, but in case anyone comes to it looking for any information, I can give you the lowdown on funding at Middlebury, and details on the language schools in general. I have an M.A. from Midd, earned in 2011.


I highly recommend the undergrad programs for anyone who wants to get a strong foundation in a new language quickly. But everyone (at the undergrad and grad levels) learns a tremendous amount in these programs, both linguistically and in the "subject" classes (which are all in language).


I also think that the M.A. programs are a great way for prospective Ph.D. students to test the waters and build their CV if they are not quite ready for a Ph.D. program immediately after undergrad.


There are actually two (well, three) ways to go about getting a graduate degree from Middlebury. Both require 12 classes.


The first is a more "traditional" route:

  1. spend one semester in Vermont (3 classes), then
  2. immediately go to one of Middlebury's schools abroad (in Madrid, Paris, Florence, etc. depending on your language) for a full year (6 classes), and
  3. come back for a final summer in Vermont (3 more classes).

(Technically you can also take 9 classes abroad and finish in the spring semester, but most people prefer to take their time and enjoy their year abroad, and as you will see below, in most cases finishing early wouldn't actually save them any money.)


The second main way to go about it, which is very popular with high school language teachers and some others, is to get your degree by coming to the language school in Vermont for four summers (usually consecutive, but not always). Obviously you need to have at least 6-7 weeks free each summer, which is why it's good for people who already work in education. For people with full-time jobs in other fields, it would be hard.


If you are looking for a "fast track" to a Ph.D. program, this would probably not be the option for you, either. But there is one big advantage to doing it this way:


ALL graduate students (right now) get financial aid in the form of scholarships or grants for 100% (!!!) of demonstrated need for the summer sessions. This includes the students who go abroad—basically, all of the graduate students get their summer sessions paid for (if they need it). I don't think most students realize this, but the school has started to publicize it more.


I don't know what "demonstrated need" translates to in this context, but all the grad students I knew, including people who were employed full time as teachers, got this free money. Basically this means that the students who come back for four summers get an M.A. for free, without any teaching responsibilities and without relocating. This includes room and board for the session. You just pay for transportation and incidentals. The total value is in the $32k range, as tuition with room and board for a summer is somewhere between $7k-8k, and rising.


The other side of the coin is that most students do have to pay for the year abroad. There are some who are lucky enough to get grants or scholarships to fund their year abroad, but if you ask the majority of them, they are taking loans, and the total cost is around 40-50k for the nine months. That's about 20-25k for tuition, and the rest for living expenses, so your mileage may vary.


That's what I ended up doing, because one of my major goals was to study abroad again. Whether this was the wisest financial choice in the long run remains to be seen, but I can't imagine having done it any other way. Fortunately, I qualified for all federal loans (no banks involved), under the new program that is wholly managed by the Dept. of Ed., and they offer very flexible income-based repayment plans, and the possibility of loan cancellation if you work long enough in public service.


Academically, it was definitely worth it for me. It helped my figure out my direction in my academic career, and I have (so far) been accepted to two great Ph.D. programs in my specialization (which is a pretty small subfield). My academic record was a little sketchy before getting into Middlebury, and I am sure I would not have been accepted without that degree. Of course, I worked hard to maintain a good GPA, and I cultivated relationships with professors to ensure good letters of rec, which are both crucial elements of PhD applications, as I am sure everyone here knows.


I know a number of other Midd M.A. alums who have gone on to apply to Ph.D. programs, and they have generally had their pick of where to go, so an M.A. degree from Middlebury definitely can pay off.


Everyone please feel free to reply or PM me if you have any questions about my specific case or Midd in general. I will get notification via email. I encourage everyone to apply. Also note that Middlebury has rolling admissions and the final cutoff isn't until April 1, so if you are on the fence or got rejected from your dream Ph.D. program, you can still apply to do an M.A. at Midd for this year!

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