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PhD programs in continental philosophy?


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I am finishing my last semester of undergrad and prepping for grad school applications. I am very type A personality and like to plan ahead whenever possible, but I have no clue what to expect and whether I'll be accepted into my top programs or any program at all. I would love some advice if anyone has any to give.

My BA is from a relatively small state school with a tiny philosophy program, which makes me nervous that my application won't carry much weight. I have a 4.0 philosophy GPA and 3.95 overall. I'm interested in 19th and 20th century continental philosophy, philosophy of religion, ethics, and feminist and social philosophy. My GRE scores are mediocre (160 verbal, 152 quantitative, 5.0 writing). Distinguishing my application from others is the fact that I got accepted to a highly exclusive summer program for women in philosophy which I'll be attending later this month.

I'm applying to the following schools: Emory, Vanderbilt, U of Kentucky, U of South Carolina, and South Florida. Has anyone been accepted to any of these, and if so, is my application relatively strong? What can I work on? Also any other program suggestions are welcome. I prefer schools in the southeast US.

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This post is better suited to the Philosophy subforum. That being said, I think your application has a few strong elements. Your GPA is high, your having attended this summer program is helpful, and your pedigree will not sink your application. Your GRE Verbal section could be stronger. At this point however, it may be wiser to sharpen your writing sample to a fine point than to retake the GRE.

Stony Brook's phD program is one to think about. It has some of the best placement of Continental programs, and is very diverse. On the other hand, accepted students usually have strong GRE scores.

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  • 5 months later...

I'm in a similar boat with average GRE scores (esp. in V) and small program. I decided to try to apply just about everywhere, including interdisciplinary and English/Literature programs that were more focused on critical social theory and Marxism, since that is interesting to me along with Continental philosophy. In the end, it was probably a worse idea than trying to perfect my application materials, as I have a tendency to procrastinate to a rather extreme extent and since my application already doesn't stand out incredibly much. I have a really good CV in some senses, w/ a lot of conference activity, conference organization, tutoring and instruction experience, 4.0 in majors, but everywhere I read says that most of that is given no effectual weight. On the points that matter, it's very hard to know where you stand when you have read very little other students work and when there is so little information on accepted graduates (though Kaimakides did some really awesome data analysis on GRE scores). From the conferences that I attended, I thought my work was on par with students there, but they aren't necessarily representative.

I think my more long-term advice, and what I have decided myself, is to (if not accepted) improve GRE scores as much as possible, perfect the writing sample, research the professors and their work (I tried incorporating as much of it as possible into my writing sample), perfect the letters of intent, etc.

Being a type A personality, you probably got a lot of this done, so you may be in a better place than I am, and I'm still trying to be hopeful!

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