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Graduate Study Inquiry


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To any that can help:

 

I currently find myself in a conundrum of sorts regarding the pursuit of graduate study. I will attempt to adquately outline my situation below in the hopes that someone with much more experience than I may be able to provide advice or assistance.

 

- I graduated with my B.A. in 2009. Mediocre GPA: 3.7ish. It was in Spanish Language and Literature. I studied abroad at La Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona for a summer (12 hours).

- I graduated with a B.S. in 2011 (as a post-bacc student). It was in Criminal Justice (pre-law) I had the same cumulative GPA; however, in the course of study I received a 3.92.

- I decided to take three years and serve. I joined the Army. I'm currently serving my tour of duty and when I am finished, I plan on picking up my studies again.

- I do not have extensive undergraduate study in English. I've only taken about 12 hours in the field. I would be a financial inconvenience to pad this number.

- I understand the admission process for graduate schools and their required materials. RE: LORs, SOPs, Critical Writing Piece, GREs, etc.

- My goal is to get a Ph.D. in English Lit. and teach at university. My research interests are in hermeneutics and 19-20th Century British literature.

 

In the opinion of those more experienced, what are possible courses of action for me to accompish this? If any more information or clarification is needed, please bring that to my attention. Thanks for any help!

 

Respectfully,

 

Autodidact

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Hey there! And welcome. I would love to offer you feedback or guidance, but I'm not really sure what you're asking. Are you asking about the application process in general? Or do you have any questions specific to your situation? In general, start with researching schools that offer faculty who share your interests, full funding, and high job placement rates. Since you do not have an extensive undergraduate education in English, I would also suggest also looking into funded MA programs that could supplement any blind spots in your literary education. 

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I think you rightly inferred most of my question! I think where I stand now the issue is this: M.A. vs Ph.D.? I'm not too keen on having graduate credit slashed because it wasn't gotten by the parent institution. If this is what must be done to better position myself, then I believe this is advice that I would do well to heed.

I guess my other question would be this: for those already attending Ph.D. programs is someone with a background such as myself (out of field) an anomoly? a diversity candidate? or another student?

 

It may or may not be helpful to add that I am married and have kids. I am the only one that works.

 

I appreciate your feedback!

 

A

 

ETA:

For the time being, I do self-directed 'research papers' within English Literature. It helps that my wife has a B.A. in English Lit and she still has some of her old syllabi. Anyway, I understand the research process, have access to current research databases, and exercise a little initiative by doing a little self-guided exploration.

Edited by hallowsky1061
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  • 2 weeks later...

While I cannot comment on your likelihood of getting into a program, just looking at your story I'd encourage you to apply. In the end the quality of your personal statements and writing sample will really be the determinants. Sometimes the personal statements of doe-eyed undergraduates who have no idea what advanced education will really entail are not as convincing as someone who has experienced more of what life has to offer and is now making the informed decision to go back to school.

 

There's no harm in applying to both MA and PhD programs. Some PhD programs will even consider you for their masters program even if you don't get into the PhD program. Sometimes if your academic history is more of a wildcard, having a master's in literature under your belt will give PhD admissions committees the confidence that you can do the work. Then again, I had a friend who majored in Spanish and in her last year of undergrad took up an interest in medieval Celtic studies. She ended up getting accepted to Stanford's PhD program. You just never know when your writing is just going to click with a faculty member at a school. 

 

It looks like you've already given this thought, but do yourself a favor and make sure you think through your goals in obtaining a PhD. If not only to solidfy them in your own mind, then also to be able to articulate them clearly to an admissions committee.

 

Good luck!

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