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@welshforjohn @Little-bird ah, ok, if you don't have a driver's license, I can understand the reservations. I'm living in LA and it's car culture. I definitely won't be selling my vehicle if I head up to Bard. The 90 minute commute, though, I don't see it as that taxing? Maybe it's because I'm used to long drives and weekend trips. In Syracuse, I didn't go down very often, but it didn't impact my connection to the city once I graduated, or in how I got to know other alumni and contacts. 

I'm deciding between here and UC Irvine, where I got into the Critical & Curatorial Studies track within their MFA program. I don't think a lot of people know about UCI here, because they only accept 2 students a year in this track, but it's fully funded (!!!) and I like that it's embedded in the studio art program. It's a very theory heavy program, which I like, and weirdly enough, my would-be main advisor used to teach at Bard. I really don't want to stay in Los Angeles / SoCal, though, and I'm worried that another 3 years here would make a transition to NYC really difficult.

My biggest issues with Bard are that you can't really interact with the MFA students, who have the low-res program, and that you're curating form a pre-existing collection for the first year. However, I brought up both those concerns in my interview, and the prof cited them as the same weaknesses and gave me some initial ideas of how to work around it. Bard just seems way more collaborative, and I like that.

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Jeez, I love the snark and pomp of some people on this thread. Look, guys, most of us don't need a reality check. We know it's hard out there, getting into grad programs is really competitive, the mar

calling programs--by which I assume you mean calling the department administrator, who is generally not privy to any of the information you're seeking--to learn about your application's shortcomings i

I think a better question for @northeastregional is why they would bring that type of attitude to a thread full of people trying to commiserate about the stress of pursuing their passion/dreams. C'mon

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@radredhead @welshforjohn the masters at NYU. Not ready for a Ph.D. and not sure I need it for what I want to do. 

Yeah lol I grew up in LA and never got my license (it's a long story), but I do feel it would be very limiting up at Bard. The facilities are nice and they do a lot for their students as far as trying to make them comfortable. That said, it felt very insular. I didn't know Irvine had a program, but from what you described, it sounds like you might get more hands on experience with curating because it is integrated? Just speculating. 

 

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@Little-bird haha, yeah I found out about UCI's program kind of on accident! I think it's only been around for about 5 years? That also makes me a little nervous. It's a way more independent program than Bard, but I'm not sure if I want that. I'm really interested in the collaborative approach, maybe because the majority of my work and research has already been independently driven and I find that it hasn't been getting me as far as I'd like. But yea, at UCI you get to curate 2 shows individually, and potentially a third. Honestly, I think the program sounds amazing and encourage way more people to look into it, but I just don't know if that philosophy, on top of the location, falls in line with what I want.

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@radredhead As far as I understand it, Bard will give you so many more opportunities and connections than Irvine. When I told my undergrad advisor last year that I was considering going the curatorial track in grad school, she said: "Go to Bard. It's by far the best program in the country." You'll only be in NY or Irvine for two years -- even if the location totally sucks (the Hudson Valley is so beautiful and will totally not suck :) ), it's only temporary. If you hate living in isolation from New York City, know that upon graduation you'll be able to live wherever the hell you want because you graduated with an extremely valuable degree; if you love living in Irvine, cherish it, because you might not be so lucky as to choose your next place of residence. 

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@bosie_dearest yeah, I'm definitely leaning in their direction! Just anxious for the funding package. Worried it's not going to be very good because Bard's endowment is terrible. 

@Little-bird Did you get anything yet? I was told by March 31, but feel like I can't wait another week!

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@radredhead Seriously. HALP.

But general question for all: I got an email from a school I applied to like 2 weeks ago saying it was "favorably reviewed" while being reminded that my transcript was missing (oops). I sent it to them in literally 2 minutes though, but besides confirmation that the transcript was received, it's been radio silent. Called them earlier this week and they said it was still under review and to wait 3-4 more weeks. BUT, it's a program with decent funding so I'm like...do I wait? Do I not? Ugh.

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Hi everyone - long time follower of the thread here! I seem to have reached a fork in the road and wanted to ask for your opinions. I have two acceptances that I'm thrilled with, UNC Chapel Hill and NYU IFA, both for MA but UNC with the possibility of a PHD track without re-applying. Doctoral studies is what I ultimately hope to do, and UNC is a great school with an excellent professor that I would love to work with, but there is one unfortunate caveat that honestly is the only thing stopping me from jumping the gun - a precarious funding situation. Hence why I'm still considering doing the MA in IFA (on top of it having a good reputation, network and education obviously). IFA is definitely not cheap either but it's going into 2 years of debt versus *maybe* several years in this case. Both schools come with their pros and cons so it would make me really happy to hear what you guys think of each school, separately and/or in comparison. Thanks!   

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8 hours ago, Mr_Drop said:

Hi everyone - long time follower of the thread here! I seem to have reached a fork in the road and wanted to ask for your opinions. I have two acceptances that I'm thrilled with, UNC Chapel Hill and NYU IFA, both for MA but UNC with the possibility of a PHD track without re-applying. Doctoral studies is what I ultimately hope to do, and UNC is a great school with an excellent professor that I would love to work with, but there is one unfortunate caveat that honestly is the only thing stopping me from jumping the gun - a precarious funding situation. Hence why I'm still considering doing the MA in IFA (on top of it having a good reputation, network and education obviously). IFA is definitely not cheap either but it's going into 2 years of debt versus *maybe* several years in this case. Both schools come with their pros and cons so it would make me really happy to hear what you guys think of each school, separately and/or in comparison. Thanks!   

Please, for God's sake, do not go into debt to pursue a PhD in art history. That debt will follow you for a long time, even for a two-year masters. (It would be totally insane to go anywhere but a fully funded PhD program, unless your parents are footing the bill; and even then, it's not good for a variety of reasons). The IFA program in art history is cash cow for their PhD program. I don't know much about UNC's MA program, but it is middling. I think you need to think long and hard about your future. Maybe try to strengthen your application and try again next year. Because, to be perfectly honest--and I don't say this to be bitchy; this is entirely in your own interest--neither option is very good. 

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On March 24, 2016 at 3:43 PM, Joan Callamezzo said:

I'm sorry, but this is really bad advice. All of your posts to this forum about how allegedly terrible "top" programs are do not ring true and just make it seem like you are trying to justify your own choices/program. There is nothing "atrocious" about going to a top school. There are plenty of opportunities at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, etc to put together "interesting multidisciplinary thesis committees." Maybe in the 80s and 90s the top programs were academically conservative, but that is certainly not the case anymore. 

I'm not by any means saying the top 10 programs are bad. I'm advocating for people to be more open minded and think hard and long about a program being a good fit and prioritizing this "good fit" idea higher than rating.

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49 minutes ago, condivi said:

Please, for God's sake, do not go into debt to pursue a PhD in art history. That debt will follow you for a long time, even for a two-year masters. (It would be totally insane to go anywhere but a fully funded PhD program, unless your parents are footing the bill; and even then, it's not good for a variety of reasons). The IFA program in art history is cash cow for their PhD program. I don't know much about UNC's MA program, but it is middling. I think you need to think long and hard about your future. Maybe try to strengthen your application and try again next year. Because, to be perfectly honest--and I don't say this to be bitchy; this is entirely in your own interest--neither option is very good. 

I'd have to second this (though I'm unsure of what the funding situation is). Are both unfunded? 

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20 hours ago, betsy303 said:

I'm not by any means saying the top 10 programs are bad. I'm advocating for people to be more open minded and think hard and long about a program being a good fit and prioritizing this "good fit" idea higher than rating.

I just wanted to chime in and say that you'll realize very quickly if you're in a good networking situation or not. Unfortunately, this doesn't really click until you're within your first semester. You should think long and hard about what your goals are in this field. If you think you can reach these goals just as easily in a program beyond the top 10 ten, I wish you luck.

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37 minutes ago, Mirrorical_Return said:

I just wanted to chime in and say that you'll realize very quickly if you're in a good networking situation or not. Unfortunately, this doesn't really click until you're within your first semester. You should think long and hard about what your goals are in this field. If you think you can reach these goals just as easily in a program beyond the top 10 ten, I wish you luck.

Totally agree with this. Though I think there are some clues that I found when checking out my advisors. For example, the acknowledgments sections in their past books and even their Facebook pages (fine, its creepy, but we all look things up). I was pleasantly surprised after my first semester to realize how well connected my advisors are (giving talks and having actually received job offers from "top 10" places that were later turned down for personal reasons). 

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On 3/26/2016 at 10:27 PM, condivi said:

Please, for God's sake, do not go into debt to pursue a PhD in art history. That debt will follow you for a long time, even for a two-year masters. (It would be totally insane to go anywhere but a fully funded PhD program, unless your parents are footing the bill; and even then, it's not good for a variety of reasons). The IFA program in art history is cash cow for their PhD program. I don't know much about UNC's MA program, but it is middling. I think you need to think long and hard about your future. Maybe try to strengthen your application and try again next year. Because, to be perfectly honest--and I don't say this to be bitchy; this is entirely in your own interest--neither option is very good. 

 

On 3/26/2016 at 11:16 PM, betsy303 said:

I'd have to second this (though I'm unsure of what the funding situation is). Are both unfunded? 

 

Thank you both for sharing your perspective! UNC is a MA/PHD program, and they do offer funding but due to being a state school it might at times get tricky (so I've heard) - and I would absolutely not call the program middling, they are a top 20 (if not 10, according to some rankings) program with excellent scholars in their body of faculty, but then again this what I've gathered and obviously not everybody might agree. I've been hearing this cash cow issue with the IFA for a while now, although I have to say that it confuses me how it is any different from any other masters program out there without a funding (as it is rare to find funding for masters). So I feel like this debate somewhat unfairly steals away from how good of a program the MA at the IFA is. That being said, I definitely understand and acknowledge the reasons of your argument for not going into debt for a Phd track - and I appreciate you taking the time to write a thoughtful response. A very long 3 weeks await me as I try to decide my next move..

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9 hours ago, Mr_Drop said:

 I've been hearing this cash cow issue with the IFA for a while now, although I have to say that it confuses me how it is any different from any other masters program out there without a funding (as it is rare to find funding for masters). So I feel like this debate somewhat unfairly steals away from how good of a program the MA at the IFA is. 

The thing about the IFA MA program is that it's huge. Students tend to not get the attention they would otherwise, especially since there are also PhD students present. Better to go to a smaller program where there are only MA students. Also, anecdotally, having been around for a number of years, I've never met anyone at a top school (expect for the IFA, obviously), who did an MA at the IFA. So, I would definitely inquire about their placement.

 

9 hours ago, Mr_Drop said:

Thank you both for sharing your perspective! UNC is a MA/PHD program, and they do offer funding but due to being a state school it might at times get tricky (so I've heard) - and I would absolutely not call the program middling, they are a top 20 (if not 10, according to some rankings) program with excellent scholars in their body of faculty, but then again this what I've gathered and obviously not everybody might agree. 

Yes, there are some very good scholars at UNC. And it is a good program; but it is a step down from Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Yale, Berkeley, Chicago, Hopkins, Stanford, IFA, Northwestern, Penn, CUNY, and a few more. As I've been saying repeatedly on this forum, good is not good enough, given the job market. You have to go to the best of the best because you will be competing for even not so great jobs with the best of the best. Some people from UNC have gone on to good, if not great, jobs, but, sadly, it seems not the majority. What makes you think you'll beat the odds? It's people's natural instinct to say they will--but you really have to think about this. A strong belief that you will somehow beat the odds and get a job is not enough. 

In any case, as I said, art history, no matter how well you do (unless you become a museum director) will never pay enough to make going into debt worthwhile. Debt might seem like not such a big deal now, when you're young. But how about when you're in your 40s trying to buy a home, start a life, save money for retirement? If UNC will pay your way, then wonderful: f you work your butt off and publish and win major fellowships and do significant work, then you will get a job. But otherwise, if you can't get that guarantee then don't do it.

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43 minutes ago, condivi said:

n any case, as I said, art history, no matter how well you do (unless you become a museum director) will never pay enough to make going into debt worthwhile. Debt might seem like not such a big deal now, when you're young. But how about when you're in your 40s trying to buy a home, start a life, save money for retirement? If UNC will pay your way, then wonderful: f you work your butt off and publish and win major fellowships and do significant work, then you will get a job. But otherwise, if you can't get that guarantee then don't do it.

This is so true. Also I'd add that CUNY and Stanford have excellent 20th cent programs. I'm not sure if I would go to either/or for anything else. 

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2 hours ago, betsy303 said:

This is so true. Also I'd add that CUNY and Stanford have excellent 20th cent programs. I'm not sure if I would go to either/or for anything else. 

Stanford is pretty good right now for Byzantine & Medieval work, as well as broader American Art History, but yeah, it's pretty iffy otherwise. 

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5 hours ago, poliscar said:

Stanford is pretty good right now for Byzantine & Medieval work, as well as broader American Art History, but yeah, it's pretty iffy otherwise. 

Forgot about that as well. Again, this is so field specific. Northwestern seems to be beefing up some of their Middle Ages era and 20th cent/contemporary areas as well while also phasing out the 19t cent folks. But I think it goes for most of programs that were listed above. Regardless the name of the school, if there aren't a few faculty members with a solid base knowledge in your area (or close to it along with your methodology), I would look elsewhere.

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I posted the following on the Christie's thread, but I'll post it here as well because I need as much help as I can get:

I've been accepted into both Christie's MA in Modern and Contemporary Art and the Market in New York and the IFA's MA in the History of Art and Archaeology. I'm not sure whether I'd like to work at an auction house or be a museum curator, but I do know that I'm NOT interested in academia and being a professor. I just turned 26 on Friday and I've been told that I should be able to decide by now whether I want to work at an auction house (or other for-profit work) or be a curator, but I'm really just not sure yet. Although I've taken a lot of art history classes, interned as an appraiser and interned at a couple of museums, I still don't feel like I have enough experience to make an informed decision and choose a path. I don't want to limit myself. I'd like to keep my options open, if possible. Would I have trouble getting a curatorial job with an MA from Christie's if I decide that's what I want to pursue? And if I decide to get my PhD at some point, would I be able to get into prestigious/top ten PhD programs with an MA from Christie's, or would it hurt my chances because universities don't consider it academic enough? I have enough money in savings to afford the MA program at NYU, although I've heard it's a cash cow program and that I won't get much attention because it's large compared to other MA programs. Which program would you advise me to pick? I'd greatly appreciate your help. Thanks.

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7 hours ago, welshforjohn said:

I posted the following on the Christie's thread, but I'll post it here as well because I need as much help as I can get:

I've been accepted into both Christie's MA in Modern and Contemporary Art and the Market in New York and the IFA's MA in the History of Art and Archaeology. I'm not sure whether I'd like to work at an auction house or be a museum curator, but I do know that I'm NOT interested in academia and being a professor. I just turned 26 on Friday and I've been told that I should be able to decide by now whether I want to work at an auction house (or other for-profit work) or be a curator, but I'm really just not sure yet. Although I've taken a lot of art history classes, interned as an appraiser and interned at a couple of museums, I still don't feel like I have enough experience to make an informed decision and choose a path. I don't want to limit myself. I'd like to keep my options open, if possible. Would I have trouble getting a curatorial job with an MA from Christie's if I decide that's what I want to pursue? And if I decide to get my PhD at some point, would I be able to get into prestigious/top ten PhD programs with an MA from Christie's, or would it hurt my chances because universities don't consider it academic enough? I have enough money in savings to afford the MA program at NYU, although I've heard it's a cash cow program and that I won't get much attention because it's large compared to other MA programs. Which program would you advise me to pick? I'd greatly appreciate your help. Thanks.

You probably won't like this advice, but in your situation, I would reapply next year, and focus on programs that offer funding. If you are interested in doing Modern and Contemporary, then definitely apply to Williams, as they are very generous with their funding (at least in my experience) and have exceptionally high placement rates, both in curatorial positions and academia. You will have trouble getting a curatorial job with an MA from Christie's - most of the people I know who have gone through auction house programs are working either in the marketplace or have various other art world jobs (like communications and social media staff at museums and galleries). You may still have trouble getting a curatorial job even if you go to the IFA, because curatorial (outside of contemporary) is largely a field where one must have a PhD if they wish to succeed. In either situation (Christie's or IFA) you will be spending a ton of money for minimal career and professional returns, especially if you have no idea what you want to do professionally. IFA has a great PhD program (and networking opportunities), but it's not worth funding those PhDs by getting your MA there, because you won't get the personal attention that MAs in other programs do.

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@noprovenance Thank you very much for this advice. I'll definitely consider it. Along with Williams, are there any other master's program that offer funding and are good in modern European art? I know Tufts offers funding, but I decided that none of the professors were a close enough match to my interests to warrant applying. I've heard Bard has an extremely good curatorial program too, but if I'm correct, it only focuses on contemporary art. Btw, I love your username haha

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1 hour ago, welshforjohn said:

@noprovenance Thank you very much for this advice. I'll definitely consider it. Along with Williams, are there any other master's program that offer funding and are good in modern European art? I know Tufts offers funding, but I decided that none of the professors were a close enough match to my interests to warrant applying. I've heard Bard has an extremely good curatorial program too, but if I'm correct, it only focuses on contemporary art. Btw, I love your username haha

My thought also would be that there are also other careers in museums outside of curatorial that are still highly engaged with art. In which case an MA alone would be not the end of the world. I don't have anything to offer re: Christie's....

I've heard some schools in California (UC Riverside?) coffer funding, as well as Case Western Reserve?

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Hi everyone! I've been following this thread for a while, and I'm just wondering if anyone can give me some advice here?

I've been admitted to the MA art history for both NYU-IFA and CUNY Hunter. Personally I am a bit prone to Hunter (cheaper, only MAs, good reputation too) but meanwhile I'm not so sure if I'm making the right choice.. I don't have a bachelor degree in art history, and I'm not 100% sure if I will pursue a PhD or not in the future (probably will work for some time first) so my advisor suggested that I start with the MA. Actually, I've checked all the discussions regarding the same dilemma and learned a lot from everyone's sharing. It seems like Hunter would be a better choice than IFA since it's not so "cashcow" and without the competition of PhD students. Just wondering is anyone (or know someone) currently studying at IFA or Hunter who can share some experiences or ideas about the MA program? How's the job placement of both programs' graduates? What about those who continue on a PhD degree (good PhD placement or not)?

Any suggestions or ideas are welcomed. Thank you!

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So I received my funding info from my top choice MA program, Bard CCS, and they are only offering 10k a year. I have a fully funded offer at UC Irvine, by far a less known program, but the faculty is great. I didn't like the feel of UCI when I visited, would probably have to be a commuter student, and I don't really want to live in Los Angeles/SoCal anymore. However, I already have debt from undergrad and I think taking out the loans to attend Bard would be very irresponsible. I'm trying to follow up with them on any kind of appeals or discretionary funding, but I know their endowment is really bad and anticipated this being an issue (though I was hoping to receive about 20k since I've heard people have sometimes received about 50% of tuition.)

What would be your advice in this situation? Another possibility was turning down every offer and apply to CUNY Hunter or Williams. Unfortunately, I have not taken the GRE (no one required it?) and I'm an extremely poor standardized test-taker. I also am not fluent in any foreign languages and fear my Spanish isn't good enough to pass the language requirement, and it has little relevance to the type of art I want to work with (contemporary new media & performance.) There's the risk I wouldn't get accepted at all, even though I know I am a good candidate apart from these snags.

 

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