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Question about CUNY Phd


Gaius12
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Hello eveyone!

 

I'm new to gradcafe, but I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice. I was recently admitted to a relatively lowly ranked Phd program (~50-70 in US News), and it was the only one that accepted me. I feel that my research interests line up fairly well with at least two of the professors in my subfield, but I worry greatly about being able to get a job after graduation. My undergraduate stats were pretty good (~3.58 GPA, 166V/159Q GRE with high thesis honors), so what are peoples thoughts about accepting the funded offer at this school, and potentially leaving after getting the terminal MA to apply at a higher ranked program, provided I do not end up loving the school of course? Do you think that one can make up for getting a PhD from a school with less name recognition by being productive research-wise?

 

Thanks!

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1)  a)What are peoples thoughts about accepting the funded offer at this school, and  

      b )potentially leaving after getting the terminal MA to apply at a higher ranked program, provided I do not end up loving the school of course?

 

2)Do you think that one can make up for getting a PhD from a school with less name recognition by being productive research-wise?

 

1)

    a)Think about what kind of jobs you would be aiming for. What kind of jobs would make you happy? I am sure CUNY PhDs get jobs, there are schools lower ranked than CUNY and their students get jobs as well. It is not a walk in the park though, not at all. More students fail to place than those who do. Job market is tough for everyone for all jobs, and it gets tougher as you move away from the top of the list. But people do find stuff. Go and check if those jobs are the kind of jobs that would be in line with your expectations, and decide based on that. 

 

    b ) Transferring is tough. There is a lot of headache involved. However, people do it, so can you. If you decide to go (based on your assessment of 1-a), I would suggest you to keep an open mind. See if you like the program, if the people and the resources would allow you to do what you want to do. See if there is any other reason for transferring, apart from going to a higher ranked place (not that you necessarily need one). Then decide if you want to transfer or not. Do what is best for yourself. 

 

2) Yes, but with some caveats. I would prefer deferring to someone who knows more about what they are saying to comment on those. Generally though think of it this way. There are three (very broad) bands: below CUNY, CUNY-level, and above CUNY. If you go to CUNY, your and your colleagues' target will be the first band. If you perform really, really well, you may be able to grab something from the second band. If you are exceptional you may get to the third band. I would say though, think hard about going to a school where the only outcome you will be happy to settle with requires you to be an outlier. 

 

Obviously take everything I said with a grain of salt, and ask these questions to people with more experience - to your professors, especially the younger ones.

 

Edited because of this: B)

Edited by TheGnome
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Job placement generally comes down to three factors in this order:

 

1) Ranking of Ph.D. granting institution.

2) Who your adviser was and his connections.

3) Your dissertation and applicable experience (teaching, research ect.).

 

Some people really underestimate number 2. Not all the most brilliant professors are in the top programs. Secondly, not all advisers are going to work and vouch for you during placement. If school X has a renowned prof in a certain sub-field that has a knack for placing his students well, this can be just as effective as going to a school ranked a few spots up.

 

For example, University of Texas, Austin is generally ranked in the 15-25 range for comparative politics. However, Kurt Weyland is well respected in the field and has a good track record of placing students in good TT positions. So if your adviser is Weyland, you have good credentials, and you write a good dissertation, then you can get ranked just as well as the average person in a late top 10 or top 15 program. 

 

I don't know if this applies to CUNY because it's not on my radar, but it's something to keep in mind with this type of thing. 

 

In short, the placement of students in your potential school is just as important as the placement of students under your potential adviser. They are not the same. 

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I'd say advisor is probably more important than prestige of program but they can be hard to disentangle at some point because a program that is rich with well connected advisors who place well will also have a high ranking.

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