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Interdisciplinary Humanities PhD Programs


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I am very interested in Chicago's committee on social thought, and JHU's Humanities Center.  Are there any other programs like this out there?  What have people's experiences been at programs like this?  Also, what is the placement rate for these kinds of programs?

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Notre Dame's PhD in Literature comes to mind (not English). I don't remember where I saw it, but some statistic pointed out that interdisciplinary PhD's tend to have a harder time finding jobs. I'll have to look around for the article.

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On the whole, the placement rates at interdisciplinary programs tend to be lower. This is something to be aware of. However, programs like Chicago's committee on social thought have excellent reputations. You also have to consider your own academic interests. (Ultimately, I decided my research would be better served by interdisciplinary programs.)

What are your research interests? You might be interested in Stanford Modern Thought and Literature, UC Santa Cruz History of Consciousness or Duke Literature.

Edited by hj2012
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Thanks for the responses!

 

My interests are primarily focused on intersection between the history of philosophy, religious thought, and literature.  I tend to focus on figures in the German tradition, but also have strong interests in ancient Greek thought and other individuals in the European (and occasionally American) tradition.  My BA has focused on analytic philosophy, but I'm very interested in doing interdisciplinary work in the vein of people like Charles Taylor, Martha Nussbaum, Stanley Cavell, or Arthur Danto.

 

I've definitely been looking at complit programs, including Notre Dame and Duke.  Last time I looked at Stanford Modern Thought and Literature or UC Santa Cruz History of Consciousness, they didn't seem to quite offer what I was looking for, although I might need to take another look.  

 

How concerned do you think it's worth being in regards to the less than stellar placement rates at interdisciplinary programs?  Does it make more sense to begin one's career in a more disciplinary topic, and then expand your research once you become more situated in the field? That seems to have been the case for most of the people I mentioned above.  Or does it just depend on what exact interests and situations.

 

Also, I really like your user name derewigestudent.

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Yes, for your interests MTL or HistCon wouldn't be quite right. 

 

I'm in a slightly different field, but the interdisciplinary programs I applied to have relatively good placement rates in comparison to the average English Lit/Lang program. If you can imagine yourself spending 5-7 years working on a disciplinary topic, you might find that a better investment. (Or you could seek out the "less traditional"/continental programs in philosophy like the one at Penn State.) 

 

I'm afraid that it really does depend on the exact situation/interests. Sorry for being so vague! Best of luck to you.

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I've heard HistCon is on its last legs.

 

I had to make this choice too.  It's hard, but it's a good discussion to have. 

 

I have been warned away time and time again from interdisciplinary programs.  A professor I had refuses to write any recommendations for students applying to these programs (he graduated from social thought at Chicago!) because he says he knows firsthand how difficult life is once you are on the market.

 

I think the wisdom is that you can always get hired at an interdisciplinary department with a disciplinary PhD, but the odds of having an interdisciplinary PhD and getting hired into a disciplinary department are quite slim. 

 

I will be taking a chance next year and applying to a mix of both (STS as the interdisciplinary degree, media studies and anthro as disciplinary degrees) so it could work out either way for me.

 

Good luck!

Edited by NOWAYNOHOW
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Nowaynohow makes very good points. I also find it interesting that you count "media studies" as a disciplinary degree, as my undergrad institution considered media studies as interdisciplinary. Goes to show that these lines are not as firmly drawn as I thought! :)

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Nowaynohow makes very good points. I also find it interesting that you count "media studies" as a disciplinary degree, as my undergrad institution considered media studies as interdisciplinary. Goes to show that these lines are not as firmly drawn as I thought! :)

Very good point, though I think media studies degrees are usually at home or subfields within comm departments, so it's v. different than, say, histcon or sts.  almost every university has a comm department!

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