Jump to content

What does a "weak Americanist cohort" mean for a program?


Recommended Posts

A POI talked alittle about the graduate program at her institution, and she said something, along the lines of, "the department has a weak Americanist cohort ... with only 6 / 30-something grad students studying US history." 


Now, for this particular program, there are four faculty members that study 18/19th century US History, and three touch upon my area of interest perfectly. I am curious how this would effect me if I were to attend this program. Likewise, does a cohort mean faculty+grad students, or only grad students? 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems like your POI is suggesting that the majority of the students and professors are dedicating their studies to histories outside the US. If you feel like you could work with the 3-4 professors that you mentioned it should not be a problem--especially if 3 of them share your specific interests. Cohort refers to the graduate students.


The only troubling aspect that you mentioned was the use of the word "weak" by your POI. I am inclined to believe that she is referring only to the number of students studying US History. BUT it could also mean that she doesn't see the program as being particularly strong for US History students. (Not sure why she would speak negatively about the program though.) If possible, I would reach out to current students in your area of interest to see how they feel about the program.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was alittle confused by her usage of the word 'weak,' since the program has strong research-based POIs for my area. I would have said 'limited Americanist cohort.'


I dont think she was speaking negatively about the program. Rather, she was very forthright and honest about the politics in her department, which I believe all POI should explicitly mention to prospective grad students. Now, I do not understand the role cohorts play in ones academic achievements. If anyone has more information about this, personal or mere observations, please share. At my undergrad, I mostly worked with three professors, and rarely with other students; not because I am a recluse either. Personally, if I needed help, I would reach out to people that i know can provide the maximum amount of assistance; which I rarely found to be students. But again, this was in my undergrad years. 


At the moment, I am unsure when and if I should contact some current students. Would I need to ask for permission from their advisers first? Is the season too busy to email now, or should I wait until winter break/new quarter?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your fellow students can be a nice support system. Personally, I have made only one close friend in my department which suits me well.

I chat with my classmates when I see them so we're all "friendly" even if we're not friends. I have found that many of my classmates come from interesting backgrounds and can have great insight---so don't rule them out just yet!  ;)


I don't see why you would need "permission." You could ask your POI if there are any students she thinks would be worth reaching out to. Everything is pretty crazy in my department right now. If you want to contact current students, I would wait until they are on break or right when next semester starts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use