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I feel stuck and am having difficulty deciding


ccwin
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Philosophy MA  

16 members have voted

  1. 1. Which school?

    • Loyola Marymount University
    • Boston College
    • University of Colorado at Boulder


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Boston College, Loyola Marymount University, or University of Colorado at Boulder for an MA in philosophy? What school do you think has the best graduate reputation in philosophy? Which school would you go to? I am having trouble deciding because they all seem wonderful. The main thing that matters to me is reputation and placement. In all other areas they are equal or I am indifferent.

My interest is philosophy of language (Quine, Strawson, Wittgenstein, Plato)

Only Boulder placed on the philosophical gourmet report, but their placement does not seem to be the best. BC has a great undergrad reputation, but does this matter in the slightest when choosing grad programs? LMU appears to have great placement, but they are an extremely new program so there is not much data to go off of. Thank you for your input!

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For Philosophy of Language, I would go with UC Boulder. It's the only one that lists it in their areas of specialization, so should have the best reputation and placement considering what you will list on your s.o.p.. Boulder is a great town, too.

 

Boston College is more for continental, and is a very large program akin to the New School. I have heard it has a reputation as a money-generator for a small group of funded PhD students.

 

LMU has a terrific placement record, but I don't know if it matches your interests. With that said, you might not come out with a letter from someone in the field you want to work in, making Boulder the better match for placement.

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Boulder is a very prestigious school. I was just at the Pacific APA last week and saw Pasnau and Norcross, both phenomenal. I'll be there in the fall, but doing a Religious Studies M.A.

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Are any of these funded?  I know Boulder says their MA is not funded, so that should be a very important factor in your decision.  If any are funded, I'd go with that school.

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If you got funding, go with the funding. Otherwise Boulder is probably the best for your options, because it would be the cheapest cost of living. Boston and LA are extremely expensive places.
I received significant funding from LMU, but cost is truly not an issue for me. What matters is the program and PhD placement.
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I vote LMU for one reason: it is the only terminal MA focused program on the list.  In the others, you will be fighting for attention with large graduate programs, and you likely will not be the focus of the department.  Don't underestimate the importance of having a department be focused on your development (being in a terminal MA, I really have seen the difference).

 

Also, faculty interests are less important in an MA program.  You will spend most of your MA developing a breadth of coursework and writing a short paper.  Of course, you need people doing what you want to do, but don't focus on rankings/faculty interest too much.

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Congratulations! That's a great dilemma to have!

 

I don't quite understand what you mean by UCB being the only Gourmet-ranked program: the Gourmet report doesn't rank MAs, and MAs are very different beasts from PhDs. I also don't quite understand your remark about LMU's program being very new--it's 12 years old! Newish, certainly, but not very new!

 

 

I voted for LMU--however, my first inclination was to Boulder. Here are some of the reasons why I ended up voting for LMU:

 

*Funding. I know you said it wasn't an issue for you, but it would be for me. When the choice is money vs. no money, I think money wins out. Especially when money comes attached to an excellent school and education.

 

*LMU has guaranteed conference travel funds. That's fantastic, and very useful for your development.

 

*The Teacher Oriented Practicum sounds like a wonderful initiative that would prove extremely useful for your development, and for easing the transition to PhD teaching/TAing.

 

*A 90% placement rate is nothing to sneeze at, even if the bulk of those schools have been continentally-oriented and you're more into language (some of those schools are pretty snazzy for language, after all!). I don't think many MA programs--especially non-terminal ones--are anywhere close.

 

*LMU cohorts are quite small. Boulder has 54 students. The attention really is worth something.

 

*An MA is an opportunity to explore subjects with which you may be less familiar, and to develop your skills. The point is to demonstrate mastery in philosophy as a whole, and in an area generally, not on some specific issue (that's for the PhD). Focus on your core area doesn't matter that much, as long you're capable of writing a thesis on it nonetheless (viz., there's at least one faculty member there who could supervise it). Even if courses in your area aren't offered regularly, you can establish a reading course (and reading groups, etc.). It's worth pointing out, however, that this point also counts in favour of Boulder, which also has a fairly wide swathe of course offerings.

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I received significant funding from LMU, but cost is truly not an issue for me. What matters is the program and PhD placement.

In that case, my opinion would be in line with what seems to be the consensus, and say LMU (just voted, hadn't done so before).

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I am still a bit stuck because the MA placement at Boulder seems bad, but their classes are so much more interesting than LMU's. LMU's placement looks really good, but their classes are incredibly continental with no analytic (I want to experience both).

I met with my undergraduate advisor, but still feel torn between placement on the one hand, and relavent classes on the other.

http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/grad_ma_placement.shtml

http://bellarmine2.lmu.edu/philosophy/graduate/placement.html

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I am still a bit stuck because the MA placement at Boulder seems bad, but their classes are so much more interesting than LMU's. LMU's placement looks really good, but their classes are incredibly continental with no analytic (I want to experience both).

I met with my undergraduate advisor, but still feel torn between placement on the one hand, and relavent classes on the other.

http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/grad_ma_placement.shtml

http://bellarmine2.lmu.edu/philosophy/graduate/placement.html

Honestly, I wouldn't worry as much about placement. They're both good schools--rather than thinking about the placement rate as such, ask yourself what kind of networking opportunities you'll have. Does the department have enough faculty that interest you (with whom you might take courses, who would be in a good position to write letters for you, etc)? Are the courses interesting enough to you that you trust you'll be able to write knock-out conference papers (and maybe writing sample)? You say you want "both continental and analytic"; what sort of PhD program do you want to attend? Which MA program makes that outcome seem more likely? 

I'm just spitting here--my only point is that you should look beyond percentage points and success rates and consider your own goals and the potential resources at hand. A school might place 100% of its students in programs you don't want to attend.

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I'd go with LMU, especially if cost of living is not an issue. Boulder is a great school, but they accept both Phd students and MA students (and most likely give more attention to the Phd students). This is by no means a deal breaker-but to me it seems like you'd have to do more to stand out at Boulder as an MA student than you would to stand out at LMU. 

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I'd go with LMU, especially if cost of living is not an issue. Boulder is a great school, but they accept both Phd students and MA students (and most likely give more attention to the Phd students). This is by no means a deal breaker-but to me it seems like you'd have to do more to stand out at Boulder as an MA student than you would to stand out at LMU. 

 

Seconded. Boulder would be an amazing program with amazing faculty, but you know what they say about MA programs at PhD granting institutions that *don't fund* their MA students. My impression is that not only are they secondary to the doctoral students, they're also a sort of revenue for the department. I know that was the case at my UG institution for a while. Boulder's PhD program is pretty big, so you would be competing with all those PhD students plus all the other MA students (I don't know how big their MA is) for attention. Unless you are a really, really impressive student, I don't know if that would end up working in your favor. Also, I don't think that AOIs are that important in MA programs but I'm just repeating what has been said here previously.

 

You don't have much time! Whatever you choose, best of luck!

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