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Hard to say, @historygeek, most programs claim 3.0 GPA is the minimum for acceptance but a 3.33 is rather low for an MA GPA. Will you be able to take enough classes to raise it above a 3.5? A B or B+ isn't a necessarily a death knell (anecdotal, but I received a B early in my MA program and did alright).  It's all about how you make up for it, like getting excellent grades from here on out, fantastic original research/writing, shoring up language skills, killing it on the GRE, securing top-notch recommenders, etc

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18 hours ago, ashiepoo72 said:

Hard to say, @historygeek, most programs claim 3.0 GPA is the minimum for acceptance but a 3.33 is rather low for an MA GPA. Will you be able to take enough classes to raise it above a 3.5? A B or B+ isn't a necessarily a death knell (anecdotal, but I received a B early in my MA program and did alright).  It's all about how you make up for it, like getting excellent grades from here on out, fantastic original research/writing, shoring up language skills, killing it on the GRE, securing top-notch recommenders, etc

I am taking more classes, and I got feedback that I plan to use to (hopefully) get much better grades this time around. My GRE score isn't great, but the piece I'm probably going to be using as a writing sample is, imo, very good and I've gotten more language skills that I will continue working on. I am considering public history programs, though, so I may use the context statement I'll be writing for my practicum class next semester as a writing sample.

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On 1/3/2020 at 6:29 PM, historygeek said:

I am taking more classes, and I got feedback that I plan to use to (hopefully) get much better grades this time around. My GRE score isn't great, but the piece I'm probably going to be using as a writing sample is, imo, very good and I've gotten more language skills that I will continue working on. I am considering public history programs, though, so I may use the context statement I'll be writing for my practicum class next semester as a writing sample.

Sure, but the people you'll be competing with for the slot will have a very good writing sample and a good GPA and good GRE scores. Why should a program take you over them? 

This is not an idle question. This is a question your application materials will need to both implicitly and explicitly answer.

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1 hour ago, telkanuru said:

Why should a program take you over them? 

This is not an idle question. This is a question your application materials will need to both implicitly and explicitly answer.

@historygeek, I would add that you are also competing against applicants who have a much clearer vision of what they want to do whereas you have changed your focus three times in three years. Yes, professors understand/expect graduate students' interests to grow, expand, and evolve. However, if such shifts do not reflect an underlying commitment to the craft and are unaccompanied by a high level of academic performance, the question @telkanuru raises becomes even more urgent.

(Disclosure: when I changed programs, my GRE scores were forgettable, my grades were not great, and my focus changed profoundly [by the way Americanists look at things], but I was cut a lot of slack largely because of my commitment to history and my developing skills.)

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On 1/2/2020 at 3:43 PM, historygeek said:

Resurrecting a way old thread for a question that might fit here. I got B+'s in both of my courses this semester (first semester of a Master's program). Would that be a red flag in possible PhD admissions, assuming I do better this coming semester? My current grad GPA is 3.33.

I'll say that it's certainly not a great sign, seeing as how anything but "A" and the occasional "A-" is usually a bit of cause for concern. That said, GPA is probably the least important element of these applications. So long as you're over the minimal threshold, you're probably fine. Focus on the things you can control: writing sample and SoP.

More of a concern to me, for your future PhD ambitions, is how easily you seem to flit about interests. @Sigaba and @telkanuru have already mentioned it, but a lot of the work of the PhD is taking a fairly narrow topic, making it a smaller, more manageable project, then further developing the tools you already have to complete that project. To use a history of medicine example, a student could come in interested in the history of 19th and 20th century bacteriology in the United States. From there, s/he'd narrow down further, to, say, how American physicians and military officers used bacteriology in the colonial Philippines to create racial hierarchies (which Warwick Anderson did in his Colonial Pathologies).

Having broad interests isn't a bad thing (especially when it allows you to attack problems in new ways), but it is a bad thing when you can't commit to one area and study it intensely. Your interests should broaden and change in a specified area, as per my above example. Yet, many faculty make their careers working on very narrow topics. It's a rare scholar who's able to do high-quality work across historical periods and countries. Being a generalist is fine when you're interested in teaching, as you've several times said you are. As I've advised you before, I believe it's worth your while (given your skepticism about your "fit" in academia and your justified concerns about the future of the field of history) to see what you need to do to teach secondary school in a state of your choosing.

Edited by psstein
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The context: I am in my second year as a PhD student in history and I got two A- for this semester (and two As). This is the first time I ever got anything but an A and I am totally freaking out and readying myself for a serious conversation with my supervisor, even though more advanced students in my program told me that it should be Ok. Both of the A- were given by professors from different disciplines and one professor (from STEM) told me that an A- is a very strong grade by their standards. Nevertheless, I am still very very upset and scared and think that I totally screwed up.

In this light and in relation to the comments given by others on your evolving research interests, I wonder if the grades functioned as a factor that makes you feel like to consider pursuing a career outside the academia or changing your research interests,  @historygeek? If that is the case, I would recommend having a discussion with a trusted and supportive professor(your supervisor maybe?) who knows your strengths and interests well and see their take on the matter. I used to think about the "other paths" as a coping mechanism when I was not feeling confident...

Just my personal piece of thought.

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1 hour ago, AnUglyBoringNerd said:

 Nevertheless, I am still very very upset and scared and think that I totally screwed up.

FWIW, I never worry about you or your work ethic. I know that you're going to figure out ways to exceed the expectations of your professors.

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I agree with the veterans here. There is a careful balance that one needs to achieve for the PhD as posters have described above.  I came into my PhD program with a focused topic BUT a lot of interests for which to choose my two secondary fields. To be a historian with an ABD status, my exam committee explained to me, is have 3-4 focused areas which you can sufficiently master the context and historiographical questions for teaching and conversations with colleagues outside of your main research focus/field. To get the PhD, you have to be able to read, research, and write the dissertation and use the tools you've learned during your coursework and exams.  It is not unusual for ABDs (and professors!) to have to pick up a new field or two while researching a new area and have to rely on those tools to successfully defend their contributions to those fields that they did not have exams in.

People who keep switching topics without a clear intellectual journey will not finish the PhD, much less pass the dissertation proposal defense.

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Oh man, this thread is stressing me out so if it's ok, I'd like to ask for some advice on my situation as well. My undergraduate GPA was mediocre relative to PhD admits,  3.57 overall, but with an upward trajectory, history GPA was 3.76 and I graduated with honors (because of my thesis). I went on to get my MA at a top 10 school, where I got a 3.96, which I was assuming would cancel out my undergrad grades... but from what I'm reading, maybe that won't be the case? Is this something I should be worried about? Rest of my stats are good (GRE, strong LoRs, lots of relevant work experience.)

I addressed the grade upward trend in my SOP in my first application cycle but didn't touch it this time around.

Edited by HistNerd
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11 hours ago, HistNerd said:

Oh man, this thread is stressing me out so if it's ok, I'd like to ask for some advice on my situation as well. My undergraduate GPA was mediocre relative to PhD admits,  3.57 overall, but with an upward trajectory, history GPA was 3.76 and I graduated with honors (because of my thesis). I went on to get my MA at a top 10 school, where I got a 3.96, which I was assuming would cancel out my undergrad grades... but from what I'm reading, maybe that won't be the case? Is this something I should be worried about? Rest of my stats are good (GRE, strong LoRs, lots of relevant work experience.)

I addressed the grade upward trend in my SOP in my first application cycle but didn't touch it this time around.

MA grades are usually (not always) taken into a bit more account than undergraduate grades. I had a 3.44 (3.8 in history) and still got into an excellent program. I wouldn't worry too much. Upward trends are a good thing. When I interviewed somewhere, my PoI told me "your grades really went up after you got out of science courses."

As I've said elsewhere in this thread, grades are probably the least important element of the application. They do matter, but you should focus disproportionately on things you can control, like the quality of your SoP and writing sample.

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17 hours ago, HistNerd said:

Oh man, this thread is stressing me out so if it's ok, I'd like to ask for some advice on my situation as well. My undergraduate GPA was mediocre relative to PhD admits,  3.57 overall, but with an upward trajectory, history GPA was 3.76 and I graduated with honors (because of my thesis). I went on to get my MA at a top 10 school, where I got a 3.96, which I was assuming would cancel out my undergrad grades... but from what I'm reading, maybe that won't be the case? Is this something I should be worried about? Rest of my stats are good (GRE, strong LoRs, lots of relevant work experience.)

I addressed the grade upward trend in my SOP in my first application cycle but didn't touch it this time around.

Many people get an MA to offset a less than stellar undergraduate career. The MA grades matters more because they're for things that you'll be expected to do in a PhD (delving deep in historiography, original research and writing, more intensive coursework etc). I had pretty much the same stats as you in undergrad and MA. If the rest of your stats are great, I wouldn't worry too much.

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On 1/10/2020 at 8:59 PM, HistNerd said:

 Is this something I should be worried about?

IMO, you specifically should not be worried about your MA GPA provided that you're on track IRT developing your understanding of the historiography of American foreign relations. 

I recommend that you assume that you'll get into at least one program. I recommend that you focus on getting a running start for the fall.

If you have strong political views one way or another, I strongly suggest that you develop your understanding of the impact of contemporaneous events on the historiography of diplomatic history as well as the careers of historians. Academically and professionally, you will be better off if you can filter out current events. However, if being true to who you are and want to be requires a high level of activism, you may benefit from studying the ups and downs of pivotal debates among historians.

My $0.02.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Sigaba said:

IMO, you specifically should not be worried about your MA GPA provided that you're on track IRT developing your understanding of the historiography of American foreign relations. 

I recommend that you assume that you'll get into at least one program. I recommend that you focus on getting a running start for the fall.

If you have strong political views one way or another, I strongly suggest that you develop your understanding of the impact of contemporaneous events on the historiography of diplomatic history as well as the careers of historians. Academically and professionally, you will be better off if you can filter out current events. However, if being true to who you are and want to be requires a high level of activism, you may benefit from studying the ups and downs of pivotal debates among historians.

My $0.02.

 

 

Thank you very much for your advice! My work is related to transnational cultural history rather than diplomatic history, but it does reflect various current issues and I completely agree about the importance of interpreting historiography through the lens of modern political debates. That's a helpful thing to focus on. I really appreciate your feedback, as well as the thoughtful responses from the other posters above.

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On 1/2/2020 at 3:31 PM, HistNerd said:

Field is US history/International History. 

 

6 hours ago, HistNerd said:

My work is related to transnational cultural history rather than diplomatic history, 

IME "international history" and "transnational cultural history" are different fields. Please be certain you're comfortable with the way you align the two.

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35 minutes ago, Sigaba said:

 

IME "international history" and "transnational cultural history" are different fields. Please be certain you're comfortable with the way you align the two.

Very different fields indeed. Perhaps you should think in terms of "America in the world." 

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