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MA Program Comparisons


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Apologies for starting a new thread. I couldn't quite find a thread that deals specifically with MA programs.

 

I have two California schools to consider now, which brings up a whole new set of anxieties. If anyone could contribute, I would be grateful:

 

- How do I find out about the respective "reputations" for those schools? Most graduate ranking sites tend to be for PhD programs and/or not for English programs.

- On that note, how does one assess "reputations" of schools anyway?

- Are there any good resources for MA program placements? Calstate LA lists some places where their graduates teach or go onto PhD programs but I can't find much on Loyola Marymount

 

ETA: Is it even kosher to ask about comparisons of two schools like this? I'm kind of new to this... especially US/California rankings because I'm Canadian!

 

Anyone who is or was at Calstate LA or Loyola Marymount want to share his or her experiences? Thanks in advance!

Edited by 1Q84
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Ah good idea... but I forgot to mention, however, that I'll be an international student (I'm from Toronto) so my recommenders had "heard" of the schools but don't know much about them.

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It is perfectly acceptable to ask the departments for information about their placement numbers into PhD programs. You could also ask about what resources they have available for MA students who want to prepare for PhD programs and applications (for example, conference workshops, mock conferences, student publications, travel funding, etc).

 

Also, consider checking in with the graduate student association. They can often tell you if the focus of the program is getting students into PhD programs, teaching jobs, or both. From experience, it's awesome to be classmates with similar goals. I took some years off before applying to PhD programs to teach, and I had access to SoP's and spreadsheets from colleagues who had already applied and gotten in to PhD programs. So helpful! Lastly, see if you can get ahold of any departmental newsletters from the programs. They often feature announcements about graduating students and alumni, including where they are going for their PhD. 

Edited by proflorax
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It is perfectly acceptable to ask the departments for information about their placement numbers into PhD programs. You could also ask about what resources they have available for MA students who want to prepare for PhD programs and applications (for example, conference workshops, mock conferences, student publications, travel funding, etc).

 

Also, consider checking in with the graduate student association. They can often tell you if the focus of the program is getting students into PhD programs, teaching jobs, or both. From experience, it's awesome to be classmates with similar goals. I took some years off before applying to PhD programs to teach, and I had access to SoP's and spreadsheets from colleagues who had already applied and gotten in to PhD programs. So helpful! Lastly, see if you can get ahold of any departmental newsletters from the programs. They often feature announcements about graduating students and alumni, including where they are going for their PhD. 

 

There definitely seems to be a lot more disclosure in this sense on the Calstate LA website... I'm doing a lot of digging on the other front and I'm not finding much!

 

I would also ask to be put in touch with a current MA student.  They might not have statistics, but they will probably be able to give you a feel for the program.

 

Who do you think I should ask? The grad director? Advisement officer?

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I'm on Spring Break and avoiding grading right now, so I went ahead and looked at the programs' websites. You are right! Loyola Marymount's website isn't very helpful. They don't have any information on the English Graduate Student Association. They have it listed as an organization, but no link or info. I would suggest checking that the organization still exists. I may be biased, but I wouldn't go to a program without a grad student association. They tend to be the advocates of grad students and organize much of the professional development opportunities within MA programs. 

 

One last thing: know that your questions are reasonable questions to ask. I've noticed that admitted students (not necessarily you) are often timid and afraid of asking too many questions. I felt the same way, until my advisor gave me this bit of advice: "My main advice would be to ask probing questions, so long as they're not rude or impolite. Remember: they've accepted you. Now it's your turn to figure out if they are right for you." If you can't find the info on the website, feel free to ask your questions directly to the DGS. This is a big decision, and you deserve to have all the information you need to make the right one! 

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I agree with proflorax!  Asking questions (as long as you're not a jackass about it) demonstrates that you're considering things seriously and practically.  This is not a bad thing.

 

And I would maybe send the request for talking to current students to whomever seems to be in charge of the departmental office.  (Here she is called the "Student Information Assistant.")  I've gotten a bunch of emails like this (I'm a current MA student) and I almost always reply to them.  I don't know how many responses you'll get, but hopefully they'll send out your request and there will be at least one person like me who wants to respond!

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