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Program Suggestions

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After doing some preliminary searches on universities and professors, I have come to realize that my list of schools really only contains "big name" schools.  


So, I was wondering if I can get some suggestions on which programs I should shoot for when my primary interests are on early 20th century literature, literature of the fantastic, and epistemology.  As of this moment, I have found one professor which nearly matches my interests, and she is an assistant professor at UCLA.


Ultimately, I think I spent too much time looking at schools with large reputations, and I am unsure how to search for schools that do not have large reputations.  One of my advisers told me to just look at the US News rankings and start from there, but I feel that those rankings do not necessarily provide adequate information on all schools.  I am planning on asking my recommendation writers for advice, but I also wanted to know what you guys thought.


Any help would be appreciated, and thank you!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I don't really have any experience in your subject area, but I had fun finding scholars in my field by going back and looking at the authors of the major articles I've worked with. I looked up the article author(s) and also some of the authors of the main works mentioned in the footnotes/endnotes. It definitely wasn't foolproof, but it was a good way to get me to look at institutions that I wouldn't necessarily have before, or universities that I knew had someone who wrote things I was interested in.

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To be honest, I found the rankings kind of helpful when I switched fields. I mean, you have to take them with like, an entire salt mine, but if you go down the top 20-50 schools and browse their faculty listings for people who work in your area, it could be a good start. Then start reading their work, look at what their grad students are doing, see where their co-authors/graduates/advisors were/are working now, etc. I wouldn't use any rankings as a be all and end all of your decision making process, but it's not a bad place to start. 

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^ What they said. USNWR rankings are almost completely irrelevant for graduate study purposes. You need to search around and look at the rankings (which may often be somewhat amorphous) for your discipline and sub-fields. Columbia/Yale/Chicago/UCLA may be fantastic places for the History of Art, but each will have specific strengths in periods/areas within that discipline, and not all will offer the same strengths/weaknesses. 


It's good to stick to major departments assuming you want to continue building an academic career afterward, but it's a very bad idea to choose a department based on institutional reputation. 

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