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If, as looks likely, I end up going through this wondrous application gauntlet again next year, I was wondering if any kind folks could point me in the direction of some good info. One thing I've been realizing over the last week is that I was woefully unprepared for this application journey. I've been in the workforce for a few years, and I kept viewing this like a job application. I've since been reading up on different things that I should have done to improve my chances, but there is one area that I could use some help.

People keep on mentioning the reputations of certain programs in certain areas. Where would one find such specific information? My first round of apps this year was based more on word of mouth, personal experience and geography. How would I find out which schools had good reputations/interest in Shakespeare? Specifically, I'm interested in looking at the relationship between Shakespeare and education (scenes of teaching/education within the plays, AND how the Bard has been portrayed in the contemporary classroom). I'm interested in merging the ideas of scholarship and pedagogy.

Also, while I may just not have seen it yet, does an applicant's age ever count against them? I'm 29 (again, been working for a bit now) and I applied to Master's programs this year. Will a 30 year old candidate scare AdComs off, or could it be viewed as a benefit?

Finally, I wound up with a BS for my undergrad (I had some language credits from prior knowledge, and I was listed as BA track up until about two weeks before graduation). Will having a BS as opposed to a BA count against me? I'm pretty much certain that I'll need to learn a new language anyways (my undergrad language was Japanese).

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. After wading through this website for the last couple of days, I'm just starting to realize how little I was ready for this application process, and I want to make sure that I get it right for next year.

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So, this is only a starting point, but check out US News and World Report for overeall English Ph.D. rankings as well as their specific category rankings. For medieval/Renaissance, here's the list:

1 Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

University of California--Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

3 Yale University

New Haven, CT

4 Columbia University

New York, NY

5 University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

6 Stanford University

Stanford, CA

7 University of California--Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA

8 University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

9 Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

University of Michigan--Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI

For the Shakespeare/Education connection, check out Bradin Cormack at UChicago, Jeff Dolven at Princeton, and David Riggs at Stanford (though he specializes more in Marlowe and pedagogy). Read some of their stuff, especially Dolven and Riggs, and then use their works cited to find other scholars you might want to work with. Good luck!

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Also. I really doubt that being 30ish will count against you. I don't know if it would count against you if you were 40+, but I think 30 is on the high end of normal. You'll probably feel older than everybody else in your cohort, but I doubt admissions committees will care.

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Ok all this is crap. I do early modern English drama, Shakes et co.

If you do not have a BA in English none of those schools will accept you. The end.

I am older than you, age means nothing. Stop thinking about it at all, maybe evaluate how it is a positive.

Plan to apply to at least ten schools, you can sometimes get away with seven, but you should really consider more, especially in these times. Fourteen seems a good number; if you are very ambitious do more. There is a group organizing to keep each other on task. They can help you, find them, make contacts. It is huge.

Contact schools you've been rejected from, get their feedback. DO IT.

Make contacts at prospective schools.

Here is a link to useful stuff:


http://www.phds.org/graduate-school/gra ... -rankings/



Some EME schools not mentioned might include, but not be limited to:

University of Alabama


Ole Miss, tier one unranked

Boston College

New York University (NYU)

Loyola Chicago

Pennsylvania State University (PSU)

Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL)

University of Utah

University of Kansas

Saint Louis University (SLU)

Northwestern University

(Notice the ranking spread?)

If you apply to 12 schools 1 should be top ten, worth a shot? 2 10-30, 2 30-50, 5 50-79, 2 unranked one tier I, one tier II, graduate school in a tier III is all but useless if you want to go on for a PhD. Adjust this spread to suite the undergraduate institution from which you graduated, aim up a bit, but beware of overshooting and wasting time, money, and self-esteem.

My school information might be out of touch, and is intentionally somewhat flawed. You must do your own research, look at some rankings, recognize that these rankings are deeply flawed, look at some research that you've done, some scholars you liked, find out about the school they are at. There is no short cut, not to doing it right. If you cannot bother to do this, then don't bother to do it at all.

Research, research, research. You should know the program you're applying to, all fourteen of them, as well as you know the one you graduated from, or at least as close to that as you can get from the website, and possibly visiting the campus, and hopefully talking to folks there.

There are probably a lot of southern schools that'd work as safetyish, but I don't know them.

Start reading the chronicle and books on this subject. Semenza, etc.

Open your eyes as wide as you can.

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