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Stuck on decision: 3 literature programs


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Hi everyone! I was lucky enough to get multiple acceptances this year for a literature Ph.D., and I'm having a difficult time making my final choice. I would appreciate any insight that you might have.

 

School A (top 20) is located in Chicago, offers a solid funding package (5 years), and has the best job placement rate of the three. Some of their recent grads are now in TT positions at Yale, Reed, Oregon, etc. Unfortunately I am unable to visit, as I only found out I got in a few days ago, so I can't comment on the campus. I've talked to several professors, who are very nice and seem excited to work with me. However, their program is very theory- and philosophy-oriented. While I know a background in theory is necessary, I am more interested in social/historical readings of literature. The department is small.

 

School B (top 20) is located in a big city, offers a solid funding package (6 years), and doesn't have very good job placement. However, I could do a joint Ph.D. there with a department that does have a great reputation and good job placement. Their department is known for approaching the field from a social/historical perspective, and there are several professors I really clicked with and could see as advisors. Furthermore, the coursework is very interesting. I like the area the university is located in and instantly felt "at home" in the environment. Drawback is that one of the two programs I would be doing there, while housed in a very prestigious university, has only a mediocre reputation. Also, cost of living is extremely low and I would be able to save each month.

 

School C (top 40) is located in a big city that everyone loves. The university is huge (40,000+ students) with lots of faculty in pretty much every area you can think of. Funding is substantially less than the other schools, though I could make ends meet on the stipend. Although there are probably several profs I could work with, there is one who is doing exactly the work I want to do and with whom I had a great personal connection. She also works on an obscure subfield that I would love to include (only 2-3 universities in the country do what she does). School C's reputation in the field is better than B though not as good as A. My fear would be a lack of "community" feel at such a large university.

 

I realize this is a lot to process, but any thoughts would be appreciated!

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Well, do you want to be employed in whatever the joint field is at school B? Can you see yourself teaching intro courses in that field year after year and being happy? If so, then go to B. If not, go to A.

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Thanks for the opinions. Due to the unique nature of my field (Comp Lit), I would only be looking for jobs in the joint area. I would love to teach intro courses in said area. 

 

Maybe I should also mention that while I want to be successful and would like to teach on the university level, I am not necessarily looking to be placed at a R1 institution. My main goal is to teach and live a comfortable life.

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