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Reapplying to History PhD Programs with an MA


nicacar
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Hell All. I graduated from UCSD with a BA in History (2008). My GPA (2.9) and GRE (440V/650Q) clearly were not good. BUT I decided to apply to doctoral programs in History (Middle East focus) in 2007 anyways. The only school that accepted me was the University of Arizona for an MA program in Near Eastern Studies. So far I am doing really well in my MA program and have a high GPA. I am going to retake the GRE in October. My question is - will having an MA in Near Eastern Studies increase my chances for being accepted into a PhD program in History (with a Middle East emphasis), provided that my GRE scores improve significantly? What I really want to know is whether or not a high graduate school GPA can offset a low undergraduate GPA?

Thank you for your input, everyone.

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I would think so. A lot of students apply with MAs - it's not rare by any means. Your graduate GPA sounds like it will work nicely, but anything too far away from a 3.8-4.0 range will be a red flag. Graduate GPAs seem to be a lot higher, on average, than undergrad.

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Are you doing a thesis?

My Graduate GPA was 3.85, but I did a thesis, which means I took two less classes. I'm sure--because my grades improved during my years in the MA program, that I would have received two A, which would have bumped up my GPA a bit. Now, I missed out on those grades, but my thesis will be the only reason I'm a really competitive applicant.

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Cooperstreet, Thanks for your response. Yes, I will be doing a thesis in the Spring semester. I am hoping that completing a thesis will make me more competitive since I will be using primary documents in my primary languages. Did you wait to finish your thesis before applying to PhD programs? What field of History are you in?

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Cooperstreet, Thanks for your response. Yes, I will be doing a thesis in the Spring semester. I am hoping that completing a thesis will make me more competitive since I will be using primary documents in my primary languages. Did you wait to finish your thesis before applying to PhD programs? What field of History are you in?

I finished my thesis and MA two years ago. MY thesis was on US-mideast relations, but I'm applying to Mideast phd programs this fall. The thesis will help greatly because anyone who hasn't completed a MA thesis at the time of application will not have as much research experience as you. Hows your arabic?

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Cooperstreet, Thanks again for the feedback. My Arabic is good but not great. I can read it a lot better than I can speak it. I am also learning Turkish, which is a lot easier. Good luck with your PhD applications. Where are you going to apply?

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My undergrad GPA was under 3.0 and I got some Bs in my MA program and still got into a Ph.D. program.

While it is certainly possible, a low undergraduate GPA and a mediocre graduate GPA will certainly doom anyone looking to get into elite programs.

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While it is certainly possible, a low undergraduate GPA and a mediocre graduate GPA will certainly doom anyone looking to get into elite programs.

Fortunately not every wants or needs to get into elite programs, otherwise the competition for them would be even more intense.

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  • 1 month later...
kahlan_amnell said:

Fortunately not every wants or needs to get into elite programs, otherwise the competition for them would be even more intense.

I've got a related question if anyone is still reading this thread months later...

Will a "stellar" GPA from a Master's Program in History at a low profile school (like MTSU) help one get into one of those "elite" programs? I graduated nearly 15 years ago from USC (Philosophy/Religion) with a 3.7 GPA, and a History professor at WashU suggested I get an M.A. before applying for a Ph.D. program because I have little formal History training. I was wondering if a "stellar" GPA at MTSU will even be a blip on the radar for the top 10 History programs. GRE scores are good (800 Q / 720 V), but I've heard they really don't count for much compared to LoR, personal statement, and established relationships with Profs.

Any advice? Should I spend a couple years at MTSU on an M.A.? Will it help?

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