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PhD Programs Hunting! Reach Schools & Safety Schools

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Hello everybody, I really need your advice on the schools I should be applying to that are good fits for my research interest.


A little about myself: I am a rising senior, studying Communication (minors Cinematic Arts & Entrepreneurship) at USC Annenberg. My interested field of research is on New Media & Technology, entailing the effects of new technologies on evolution of culture and human social patterns. 


I will be writing my own thesis for the honors program next year, and my current GPA:

Cumulative GPA: 3.76; Communication GPA: 3.920 (Minors GPA: Cinematic Arts: 3.858).

My practice test GRE is: 151 on Verbal and 153 on Math (not so strong yet, I will be taking a prep course with Kaplan in July)


I would like to ask, which schools are the best fit for me, as reach schools and safety schools?


(I would like to go straight to the PhD program)


Here's my list of considered programs:


1. Upenn Annenberg - Communication 

2. University of Michigan - School of Information (recommended by my professor who I'm researching with)

3. NYU Steinhardt - Media, Culture and Communication 

4. Northwestern University - Communication Studies 

5. Columbia School of Journalism - Communication (they offer Comm in PhD level) 


I think I am lacking a number of Safety Schools, could you recommend?


This will help me a long way, thanks everyone for helping! 



Edited by Ly Đinh
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That's a pretty good list. I have similar interests.

Safety Schools:

1. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Communication and Rhetoric (http://www.cm.rpi.edu/pl/phd-communication-rhetoric-647)

2. University of Colorado-Boulder - Technology, Media, and Society (http://www.colorado.edu/atlas/newatlas/phd/)

Edited by DrF8
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Thanks DrF8 for replying and everybody for viewing! 

I'd like to ask, whats the likelihood of me getting into PhD rightaway from undergrad with these grades?

 - Additional information: 

1. I'm closely working with an associate professor at USC Annenberg, for the past year 

2. Researching with a TA who's graduating this July

3. Attending Comm Honors program in the coming Fall


Thanks everybody!


-- 2nd Question: Does anybody know any strong MA Programs in Communication that provides funding/assistantship? Money is a big issue for me.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Greetings !


I'm going to be a Fall 2013 as well, though I will have an MA.


As for suggested schools, studying New Media can be done as more of a cultural/film studies in which most of the programs you have listed partake, or a more quantitative approach, such as USC Annenberg, Stanford, Michigan State; WVU, UKentucky, UC SB.


Luckily, most programs in this field offer funding for their graduate students via assistantships / fellowships, so you should be ok there.  For the schools you have listed, however, I would speculate that you need higher GRE scores.  Though they probably are not as important to the qualitative programs, I would imagine the mean/median verbal scores are in the 160s for the incoming classes.  


If you are relatively set on pursuing the PhD, a funded MA may be your best bet for this cycle.  Whatever route you choose, make sure you know the scholars at the University with whom you would be working.  PhD programs will be about fit, not that you're supposed to know everything now, but people against whom you are competing (say me, for example) have graduate degrees, publications, conference presentations, and in general, a defined interest of study.


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PhD programs will be about fit, not that you're supposed to know everything now, but people against whom you are competing (say me, for example) have graduate degrees, publications, conference presentations, and in general, a defined interest of study.

I think it's always best to be careful about guessing what committees are looking for, how they compare people etc. And we all know that interests of studies are very likely to change and evolve (which is a good thing.)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi everybody, thank you very much for your support!


 I will really push myself for the GRE. To be honest, do you all think I have a shot at MA/PhD Programs? Are my figures/scores good enough for the academia track?


Thank you, I would really appreciate your true responses. 

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With a great GPA, good scores, and I assume some LoR from some of the top scholars in the field (Annenberg), you will be a great candidate.  In all honesty, you're way ahead of the game.  I just winged my way into a MA program (didn't take GRE) that has sent students off to very good PhD programs, and I hope to be the one to get to the top tier.


The Communication track isn't known for it's GRE scores on the quant side, but I believe the more qual programs like some you mentioned generally have pretty high marks.  Without question though you can be in a program, but the decision may be whether you want to side-step into an MA program first and probably have a better chance at a top tier program for your PhD, or just discover fi you actually like it.  


And to the person above, I was probably a bit misconstrued and never meant to imply guessing for what committees are looking.  If anything, I am vehemently opposed to that type of consequentialist behavior.  That is one major distaste I have unfortunately come across in my experience with academia.  So in a two-fold matter, I would like to aim for fit as well as one's own true passion.


Anyway, as an MA student, I'm always bored.  Anyone on here who ever would like to chat just PM me.  I like to make pals.

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