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Reapplying in a different field. I don't mean with in a alternate area or branch or focus, but in another discipline outright. I was thinking to maybe test the waters of psychology. It is possible that the precariousness with which I view the humanities might have reflected in my SOP, so I was thinking there might be another field I feel stronger towards. Anyone share my sentiments?

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I've definitely thought of reapplying to law school instead of PhD programs; I had considered law school instead of my MA when I was in undergrad, and decided to try the English route instead. Based on my miserable application season, maybe I would have done better in law school. Also, people tell me that the job market for lawyers is terrible, and I just laugh because the job market for English PhDs is so much worse.

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Re: Ever contemplate... Reapplying in a different field. I don't mean with in a alternate area or branch or focus, but in another discipline outright.... Anyone share my sentiments?

Absolutely! If I didn't get into any programs this year, I was going to branch out more next year. I have already applied to several variations on English: Creative Writing, American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Lit and Culture, Rhetoric. Next year I was thinking of applying to some medical related programs--not necessarily medical school, but maybe epidemiology or medical anthropology. I took a lot of anthropology in undergrad and I currently work in an academic medical center, so at least I am familiar with it and know there are jobs out there. But, I must say I'm relieved to have finally gotten into a Ph.D. after last year's disappointing application season, and I'm looking forward to beginning my (in all likelihood) Rhetoric study this fall.

Also, people tell me that the job market for lawyers is terrible, and I just laugh because the job market for English PhDs is so much worse.

The job market is pretty terrible for most fields, but the difference is that if you can get a funded Ph.D. you won't rack up much debt over the next five years, whereas almost everyone who gets a legal degree leaves with tens of thousands of dollars of debt, if not $100k or more. My lawyer friends, who make significantly more money than I do, often complain of their huge student loan debt and the feeling that they will be paying it off for the rest of their lives.

In short: Even if it's a struggle to get a dream job after my Ph.D., it will be nice to have been paid to get the degree instead of putting myself in a financial pit to do so.

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The job market is pretty terrible for most fields, but the difference is that if you can get a funded Ph.D. you won't rack up much debt over the next five years, whereas almost everyone who gets a legal degree leaves with tens of thousands of dollars of debt, if not $100k or more. My lawyer friends, who make significantly more money than I do, often complain of their huge student loan debt and the feeling that they will be paying it off for the rest of their lives.

In short: Even if it's a struggle to get a dream job after my Ph.D., it will be nice to have been paid to get the degree instead of putting myself in a financial pit to do so.

True, except that I don't have a funded PhD offer. And paying for 4-6 years of tuition for an English PhD will leave me in about as much debt as 3 years of a JD.

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True, except that I don't have a funded PhD offer. And paying for 4-6 years of tuition for an English PhD will leave me in about as much debt as 3 years of a JD.

I am very well acquainted with that type of situation based on my prior experience. I declined an MFA offer from Columbia in 2005 because there wasn't funding, and last year the only Ph.D. program that accepted me was Boston University, which I had to decline because of lack of funding. I wasn't going to go to either school and rack up over $100K in debt for those degrees knowing there was no guarantee I'd land a job that would help me quickly pay them back.

However, I still see a broader distinction between the JD / Ph.D. programs, regardless of specific personal situations: If on revises their applications and/or applies to a different set of schools, one may get into a program with funding the following year. Even if you accept one of your unfunded offers, my sense is that many programs can find a way to fund you by the second year, or alternatively you could get an adjunct appointment at a community college, etc. Conversely, law school (to the best of my understanding) does not allow you enough time to get an outside job, and it is fully funded in only the rarest cases--even a full tuition waver leaves you with living costs to pay. Perhaps some people do get "stpidends" to go to law school, but I have never heard of such a thing. On the other hand, I'd say that tuition remission and/or a stipdend is probably the rule rather than the exception in English Ph.D.s. Sure, some people don't get funded, but most schools admit so few applicants because they fully fund all students in their program, and even those programs that do not fund all students probably fully fund a portion (25% or 50%?) of their top students.

In any case, good luck with your situation. Funding has been a major issue for me in the past so I understand where you're coming from.

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