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I was planning in applying to undergraduate program in history or politics in LSE. I already have a degree in engineering but my true passion was always in humanities fields. I already know it is difficult to get a job in academia but I know two languages and I am wiiling to go to anywhere in the world to work in academia. So my question is will a distance learning undergraduate degree would hurts my chances in get acceptance in a decent graduate program and having a career in academia?

Many thanks for your help

Edited by Walker888
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Every program is different, but I really appreciated the time that was taken in my history classes that helped us learn how to use primary and secondary source documents. It was not just lecture, but seminars and discussions that pulled apart each idea. We learned how different elements can change a source then we put it into practice. These basics are being built on in my upper-division courses through different settings and historical focuses. My upper-division classes are building on the methodology and practice of the discipline more than the actual history of something. I feel like this would be really hard to learn in an on-line environment. 

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Yes, it is very likely having an online degree could hurt your chances of acceptance to PhD programs. Whether they're right to or not, many academics have strong negative opinions of online education.


I would also say that I think an online degree in history would be poor training for graduate seminar (the fundimental pedagogical device for every history PhD program).  I think online education has a value, but not sure it would be best preparation for a PhD program where you will have to rely on interpersonal communication in your coursework.

Edited by Riotbeard
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I concur with previous statements: two of the advantages of a non-online education is experience with the interpersonal classroom dynamic that most graduate programs rely on, and avoiding the (perhaps unfair) stigma attached to online education that will hurt you.


I should mention that it's possible (albeit maybe difficult) to transition from STEM-based undergraduate schooling to a graduate program in the humanities (maybe go for an MA before you go for the PhD). I think you'd have to demonstrate (via your statement of purpose) a strong familiarity with existing debates in the profession, which will in turn require a familiarity with the big historians and the big history books in your field. Demonstrating a level of engagement with existing debates will also show application-readers that you're not making this leap blind and that you already have some comfort operating within the field.


If you're interested in a future in academia, may we inquire what your intellectual interests are and what languages you're comfortable with? (This will help us recommend some books and readings to start you on your way.)

Edited by thedig13
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