Jump to content
cannedheat

Communication/Media Studies Ph.D Fall 2016--Apps, Decisions, and Waiting...

Recommended Posts

6 hours ago, Cat_Robutt said:

Those are all important, and difficult, choices to make. If you have not already, I highly recommend making a PRO/CON chart and analyzing these factors. Choosing a school is a combination of hard data (funding, cost of living, program metrics) and soft data (the 'feel' of the program, liking of faculty, quality of area), and understating the importance of either can be severely detrimental.

USC is a fantastic program. It is either loved or hated in the city, as I'm sure you know. I'm of the latter opinion for reasons you can PM me about if you're really curious. I don't know nearly as much about the NY program, but for the PRO/CON chart, perhaps factor in the following:

  • How much funding is available? Are there opportunities for grants, fellowships, and additional resources?
  • What is the cost of living in X area? Is it reasonable when compared to funding?
  • What courses, resources, and faculty does X program offer that are a good fit with research area? Are those unique to X program?
  • What cognate area does X program offer that is a good fit with secondary research area?
  • Is program more competitive or collaborative (e.g. equal funding split, assistantships)?
  • How important is reputation? More or less important than overall fit?
  • What is immediate surrounding area like?
  • Are there things to do that I find important like hiking/biking/eating/watching movies/etc. when study breaks are needed?
  • How supportive is program?
  • Are there resources available to deal with graduate stress?
  • What is overall quality of life like in X area? 

Also, consider things you would absolutely hate or love; do you like driving? Is having a pet important to you? How do you feel about roommates? 

There are so many factors to consider, and it may be tedious and stressful to consider each one, but I'm sure you want to feel as confident in your choice as possible.

This is awesome. I came up with a few questions on my own but I really like these questions and will used them for my own evaluation. Just got back from my first visit to Michigan State and it was awesome. I thought i knew a lot about the department since i did my MA there but I had no idea. Hope everyone else is having a good times at visits and decisions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FYI, sharing a master-list of questions from my alma mater's braintrust for applying/visiting:

  1. Are there multiple professors in your field with whom you'd want to work?
  2. What do the graduate students have to say without faculty present?
  3. Library access
  4. Internet/other electronic resource access - will a computer be provided to you?
  5. Bureaucracy (how hard is it to get reimbursements filed?)
  6. Time to graduate: ask the department administrator or alumni office for statistics (and also on hiring) if they don't give you any.
  7. Support through the job hunt: Is there a job placement officer? What does he/she do? Are there workshops for cover letters, dissertation abstracts, teaching statements, CVs, etc? Are there mock interviews?
  8. Funding (guaranteed?)  Is it attached to a professor?  Are the grants within the department or school?
  9. TA requirements: how many classes, how often, in your department?
  10. Are you going to be happy drinking your sorrows away with these graduate students for the next five, six, seven, or eight years?
  11. What are recent graduates doing? Not just the numbers of those who eventually get tenure-track jobs, but the actual, current jobs of the recently PhD'd.
  12. Is this a city in which you (and a partner, if you're bringing one with you) could comfortably live on a graduate student stipend? (If possible, visit the home of a grad students or two.)
  13. What are the milestones leading up to candidacy (Orals? Comps? Qualifying exams?  Language requirements? Dissertation prospectus defense?) What preparation is offered to help students meet those milestones?  Is there recourse if you don't pass?
  14. How does the department and/or university administration react to cases of sexual harassment and discrimination? Do the department and/or university make an active effort to be a safe space for students of color, disabled students, women, LGBTQ people, and students from a wide range of economic backgrounds?
  15. What are the class requirements?  Will you have the opportunities to take classes that'll help you with your research methods, rather than just journal-reading classes?
  16. How often do students meet with multiple faculty members?  Are there regular ways for faculty to offer constructive feedback to students?
  17. Are faculty constructive at student colloquia?  Do faculty show up and show some form of engagement?  Do they give constructive feedback?
  18. Is there funding to attend conferences or workshops?
  19. How soon can you start your own research?  Are there requirements for rotating through labs?
  20. How are the administrators?  Supportive or antagonistic?
  21. Is the potential advisor a micro-manager?  Will he count your bathroom breaks or will she restrict you to two weeks of vacation a year?
  22. Are there journal clubs, internal colloquiums, outings/social events for grad students in the department?
  23. Are there opportunities to develop leadership skills outside of the classroom: spearheading clubs, initiatives, or outreach?
  24. Can you interact with other parts of the university in good faith (such as taking classes in other departments, or joining clubs), or will you be hiding from your advisor the whole time?
  25. Is there an organization for graduate women, graduate LGBT students, graduate students of color, or another group that will be supportive of you and the challenges particular to your background?  (SWE, SACNAS, NSBP, etc.)
  26. Who are the most successful graduate students in the department (and recent grads), and what are their characteristics?
  27. Is it acceptable, encouraged, and okay to go into a career outside of academia after graduating?  Is there support for non-academic career choices?
  28. (If there are TA requirements) What are undergrads like? (enthusiastic, motivated, careerist, disconnected, bored, unprepared...)  [Also relevant if they may be doing research for you!]
  29. How do faculty members feel about teaching undergrads? You can ask faculty this directly, *or* you can ask senior grad students what faculty members say about undergrads during coffee hour / lunch / etc. while they're being open about how they think about students.
  30. How much time do grad students spend teaching/preparing lessons? Is teaching a major element of the program, or an optional opportunity?
  31. Are required courses offered on a regular schedule? If a required course is not offered for an extended period of time (due to institutional or staffing constraints, for instance) is there a well-established and straightforward procedure for substituting an alternate course?
  32. Has the relevant advisor graduated women, students of color, LGBT+ students, disabled students, older students?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/29/2016 at 10:36 AM, Cat_Robutt said:

Those are all important, and difficult, choices to make. If you have not already, I highly recommend making a PRO/CON chart and analyzing these factors. Choosing a school is a combination of hard data (funding, cost of living, program metrics) and soft data (the 'feel' of the program, liking of faculty, quality of area), and understating the importance of either can be severely detrimental.

USC is a fantastic program. It is either loved or hated in the city, as I'm sure you know. I'm of the latter opinion for reasons you can PM me about if you're really curious. I don't know nearly as much about the NY program, but for the PRO/CON chart, perhaps factor in the following:

  • How much funding is available? Are there opportunities for grants, fellowships, and additional resources?
  • What is the cost of living in X area? Is it reasonable when compared to funding?
  • What courses, resources, and faculty does X program offer that are a good fit with research area? Are those unique to X program?
  • What cognate area does X program offer that is a good fit with secondary research area?
  • Is program more competitive or collaborative (e.g. equal funding split, assistantships)?
  • How important is reputation? More or less important than overall fit?
  • What is immediate surrounding area like?
  • Are there things to do that I find important like hiking/biking/eating/watching movies/etc. when study breaks are needed?
  • How supportive is program?
  • Are there resources available to deal with graduate stress?
  • What is overall quality of life like in X area? 

Also, consider things you would absolutely hate or love; do you like driving? Is having a pet important to you? How do you feel about roommates? 

There are so many factors to consider, and it may be tedious and stressful to consider each one, but I'm sure you want to feel as confident in your choice as possible.

How is the program either loved or hated in the city? That's a pretty general statement about one of the largest metropolitan areas of the country loving or hating a single masters program at a school that has 4 masters programs alone. Are you really sure all of the inhabitants of LA have enough information to make this decision about love and hate? 

I think the check list varies for PhD and masters. In case of smw0805 I'd start to think about whether I want to have an MA or an MS. Seems to me like these two programs might be completely different given they terminate in different degree types. From then I'd probably think about reputation. No one actually honestly cares what you did in a masters. But if they know the school and the names, you're golden. Let's face it. In industry, no one ever cares anyways and in academia, a masters program is more like a leap year of traveling while not knowing what to do unless you actually go hardcore research and publish but it does not appear to be the goal here with smw0805, does it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎3‎/‎1‎/‎2016 at 6:10 PM, Cat_Robutt said:

@cotes_du_groan that's a great master list! All of those questions are fantastic to consider. Those would also be helpful in the future when considering where to research/teach.

@Duna My apologies––I meant USC as a whole, not this individual program. There are many ardent Trojans fans throughout the city, and it is a place more affluent residents would like to go; the school as a whole is loved for its athletics and the Keck Medical Center as well as the success its students find. It is hated due to gentrification without recognizing the surrounding community and being somewhat exclusive of non-USC affiliate parties/schools/community colleges throughout the city. I was generalizing, yes; but the overall attitude seems to be quite positive or negative depending on one's relative position within Los Angeles.

Been lurking, had to chime in.

Regarding your response to Duna, the gentrification-concern dynamic is present around many wealthy private institutions residing in less wealthy areas, including Penn, Yale, etc. not just at USC. As an alum, I have my fair share of gripes about SC - including, like you said, gentrification of the surrounding area, as well as its overall corporate structure and I could go on and on - and make them known to anyone I talk to, but it fails to make sense to me how such biased generalizations about a university from, I presume and please correct me if I'm wrong, someone who has never attended the university should be relevant in another person's academic decision-making; and as far as communication goes, USC Annenberg is without doubt one of the top programs. And based on your generalization, I would say I never got friendly, "Fight on, man!" from strangers while walking through less-than-affluent neighborhoods central LA, but I definitely did quite often.

Edited by Lencias

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, the_queer_ecologist said:

Boulder's welcome weekend was incredible...I can't imagine being anywhere else. Will def. be telling UNC Chapel Hill "thanks for your time, but..."

That's fantastic. Knowing you've found your fit is huge. Congratulations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Lencias You are absolutely right––I'm not an alum of the program, and don't have the right to speak about certain specifics. My apologies if I offended you, @Duna, and/or anyone else on this thread regarding USC. I know it is a fantastic program as I am in the field of communications also; it has many fantastic programs in many fields. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just received my first acceptance from UNC-Chapel Hill (School of Journalism & Mass Comm.) ! I'm so thrilled !!!!

The notification says that the department recommended me to accept as a Ph.D. student to the school's Graduate School and they will notify me in near future. I hope this will be the starting point for other acceptances in the future (now i am getting greedy... haha) Anyway, for now I feel UNC will be a good choice if I were to make it as my final decision.

Since I'm an international student, no clue about the atmosphere and neighborhood around this school.. Anyone who can help me get some sense of the school's town?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/6/2016 at 4:46 PM, gradswag said:

Has anyone else made their final decision yet? :)

Have you? Are you coming to Arizona State???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/6/2016 at 3:46 PM, gradswag said:

Has anyone else made their final decision yet? :)

Not yet but getting close to a decision i think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I've decided to stop pursuing a PhD. I did receive a ROOST award at Georgia that will net me in-state tuition. It's something but I don't think it's enough to bank on traversing the country without a job and an infant for. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, cannedheat said:

Have you? Are you coming to Arizona State???

I haven't! One more school to go visit and then I can make a final decision :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, has anyone made decision? 

I am balancing the offers. Anyone has studied in U of Kentucky? U of Kentucky is famous for its health communication which is my research interest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Shannon2016-comm said:

Hello, has anyone made decision? 

I am balancing the offers. Anyone has studied in U of Kentucky? U of Kentucky is famous for its health communication which is my research interest.

I have not but I've heard good things about the program. Lexington is very pretty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, lyrehc said:

I have not but I've heard good things about the program. Lexington is very pretty.

Thank you@lyrehc. I also consider U of Georgia. UGA is more interpersonal communication and less health work. But it is close to Atalanta which has a CDC. The faculty members are nice too. It is a tough decision:huh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well hope everyone else is doing good. Im headed to MSU! It was a tough decision as i received funding offers from both schools but ultimately went where the funding was the greatest. Thanks to everyone for the advice and support through this process!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, kaoticfen said:

Well hope everyone else is doing good. Im headed to MSU! It was a tough decision as i received funding offers from both schools but ultimately went where the funding was the greatest. Thanks to everyone for the advice and support through this process!

I ended up accepting USC's offer - couldn't go past the curriculum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Northwestern deigned to send out their rejections today. Still waiting on GSU and NYU, but not holding my breath. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On February 5, 2016 at 7:33 PM, Cat_Robutt said:

Hey everyone––I've been lurking around this forum for a while, but my stress combined with everyone's warmth encouraged me to sign up. Today I was notified that I'm on the waitlist for the University of Oregon's Media Studies program. I was wondering if there were any users who were accepted but might attend elsewhere? This whole process is so stressful! I spent half an hour today following my cat around the house, trying to get her to cuddle.

I was accepted to Oregon, UNC, CU, Michigan State and Wisconsin so I might turn down the Oregon offer. I really liked the people there but I'm not sure it was the best fit for me. I hope you get an offer!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On Friday, March 18, 2016 at 8:50 PM, kaoticfen said:

Well hope everyone else is doing good. Im headed to MSU! It was a tough decision as i received funding offers from both schools but ultimately went where the funding was the greatest. Thanks to everyone for the advice and support through this process!

Congratulations. Knowing you found the right program is huge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone!

I was accepted into Texas (where I will finish my MA), Minnesota, Temple, and Colorado Boulder, and was rejected from USC, UPenn. I still haven't gotten an official rejection from Michigan State but I know it's coming...

Anyway I'm having a tough time making a decision. I made a thread over here.

I'd love to hear from some fellow Comm/Media Studies/Journalism Studies people. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On March 19, 2016 at 11:25 PM, Oishii said:

I was accepted to Oregon, UNC, CU, Michigan State and Wisconsin so I might turn down the Oregon offer. I really liked the people there but I'm not sure it was the best fit for me. I hope you get an offer!

Thanks @Oishii! I actually received an offer from another program so won't be going to Oregon after all. Congrats on all your offers––how nifty! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/23/2016 at 3:27 PM, Cat_Robutt said:

Thanks @Oishii! I actually received an offer from another program so won't be going to Oregon after all. Congrats on all your offers––how nifty! :D

Congrats on the other offer!

Share this post


Link to post
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

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.