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McGill or Georgetown for MA?


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I was accepted into the M.A. programs at McGill and Georgetown. I can't decide between them. Boston College was in the running a few days ago but I recently visited and decided I need to be in a city. I have no idea where I'll go. They both look tremendous. I know McGill places higher in those world university rankings but I'm not sure how well they actually represent the caliber of the English M.A. programs. Does anyone know anything about either program? Any advice?

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McGill as a University has a prestigious international reputation and is particularly strong in the sciences. I don't know much specifically about its English Department, but maybe that in and of itself makes a point. With as much research as I did into schools over four graduate application rounds (two cycles for MA and two cycles for Ph.D.), I have never become very acquainted with or heard much mention of McGill. Outside of basic factors such as "fit," which only you can determine for yourself, I would say that having a degree from Georgetown would probably give a bit more of a step up in the job search than an English degree from McGill. Then again, if you don't have a preference either way, things like funding and location might factor in very highly.

Just my two pennies, as I'm by no means an expert or the last word on this one. Good luck!

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I was accepted into the M.A. programs at McGill and Georgetown. I can't decide between them. Boston College was in the running a few days ago but I recently visited and decided I need to be in a city. I have no idea where I'll go. They both look tremendous. I know McGill places higher in those world university rankings but I'm not sure how well they actually represent the caliber of the English M.A. programs. Does anyone know anything about either program? Any advice?

Hey Mike,

I was also accepted to McGill and to Georgetown (with funding) for English. In addition, I went to McGill for undergraduate school and got a B.A. in English.

Chances are I'll be attending neither of these places but I think there are a few distinctive pros and cons to each that I'd be able to enumerate for you.

The pros of McGill are that it's cheap (Canadian universities are all heavily, heavily subsidized by the govt), and that, as opposed to U.S. M.A. programs, when you are accepted to a Canadian M.A. program it's pretty much implied, if you do reasonably well, that you will be approved to continue on as a sequential Ph.D. candidate. As I'm sure you know, this is NOT the case here in the U.S.

The cons of McGill are that it's freezing in the winter. Literally, absolutely, ridiculously, freezing cold. To the point where it's really not enjoyable to live there (I'm a New Yorker, so it's not like I've never been through a winter, but Montreal is another level). In addition, while the faculty is very good, it's not GREAT. I guess from what I've gleaned the faculties at G'Town and McGill are comparable, but you might find more folks at G'Town who have good ins with American Ph.D. programs. That brings me to my last point, while McGill is a highly, highly respected international institution, I think most of it's humanities Ph.D.'s have succes finding jobs at other Canadian universities. However, that's not necessarily a bad thing as IMO Canada is a wonderful place.

In terms of G'Town, I;m not nearly as knowledgeable (considering I've never gone there), but to me they seem pretty dedicated to getting their students into top notch American Ph.D. programs. In addition they have a wealth of extracurricular avenues of involvement (DC prison outreach program, DC schools project, etc etc.). It's also in D.C. so your opportunity to see various speakers and meet various figured will be much, much greater than it would be at McGill.

Anyway, thats really all I can think of for now, but if you have any further questions feel free to PM me.

Cheers,

BPR

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Thanks BPR and Spritely for the advice. I plan on applying to American Ph.D. programs next so I'm leaning toward Georgetown. I'm going to visit it soon and can't wait to finally see the campus and neighborhood.

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Hello everyone. I'm starting to lean heavily toward Georgetown. It seems to be the consensus that is a better university with a better English program; although, everyone has also added they are comparable and any preeminence is slight. I'm starting to realize that my predilection for McGill is for living in a French speaking city-- I'd love to practice my French on the side-- and not for the program.

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