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What are my chances for admission? (humanities MAs --i know, i know, don't laugh)

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Trilingual (French, Spanish and English, all 100%)

Double major.

Overall GPA 3.59.

Award in political theory.

Mediocre GREs: V/620, Q/630, still no word on the Analytical writing section...

I am applying to the following MA programs:

MAPH at U CHICAGO

Liberal Studies at NSSR (New School)

Modern Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies at COLUMBIA

Media, Culture and Communication at NYU

I appreciate any comments regarding my prospects for addmissions, and regarding the specific programs, opinions, etc...

Thank you!

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So far as I can tell, the only reason anyone should laugh at you is the fact that you are only applying to programs you must pay to attend.

I'd suggest figuring out exactly what discipline you want to pursue and to find funded PhD programs to apply to in that field. Otherwise, you are entering a career with uncertain job prospects and likely $50,000 in debt, assuming you finish one of these MAs in one year, go on to a PhD program afterward and complete it (not all safe assumptions, either). Have fun paying that debt off with a non-tenure track position, likely without benefits, which pays you something comparable to what my assistant manager made when I worked at Domino's in college.

Aim higher.

Sorry to rain on your parade.

Edited by misterpat

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So far as I can tell, the only reason anyone should laugh at you is the fact that you are only applying to programs you must pay to attend.

I'd suggest figuring out exactly what discipline you want to pursue and to find funded PhD programs to apply to in that field. Otherwise, you are entering a career with uncertain job prospects and likely $50,000 in debt, assuming you finish one of these MAs in one year, go on to a PhD program afterward and complete it (not all safe assumptions, either). Have fun paying that debt off with a non-tenure track position, likely without benefits, which pays you something comparable to what my assistant manager made when I worked at Domino's in college.

Aim higher.

Sorry to rain on your parade.

Well, i will not be in debt...i can pay for a year or two of MA. I intend to do a PHD afterwards, but i want to boost my curriculum and clarify my interests some more. I do not think that any respectable PHD program would take me as I stand at the moment.

Whay do you assume that i will not get a good position, even if i complete the MA and then a PHD?

thanks for your thoughts.

m

Edited by mishagdc

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Well, i will not be in debt...i can pay for a year or two of MA. I intend to do a PHD afterwards, but i want to boost my curriculum and clarify my interests some more. I do not think that any respectable PHD program would take me as I stand at the moment.

Whay do you assume that i will not get a good position, even if i complete the MA and then a PHD?

thanks for your thoughts.

m

Your grades and your GREs are good enough that you could be applying to programs that are funded. Have you ever heard the term cash cow? I fear that's what some of these programs might be, and many students from those programs hit a dead end as they aren't taken as seriously. I am not familiar enough with these though, just make sure that you are checking out how many of their students are going on for PhDs at good schools, and what sort of employment they are obtaining after. If they're going to schools you'd be interested in for your PhD (or there is a another factor like a superstar prof in your field) then more power to you. I think your stats are pretty decent.

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Just because unfunded MA students are considered cash cows by certain universities doesn't mean that the degree is worthless. It's pretty common nowadays for people to graduate and not go directly into a PhD program. I am the only one of my friends applying to PhD programs - everyone else is going for MAs or is putting off thinking about their future for the time being.

Just curious though, why are you looking to get a Masters in "humnanities?" I don't know anything about the programs you mentioned, or about studying humanities as a general subject, but it seems that if you want to hone your interests more and sharpen your research goals, maybe you should shoot for a more specific subject for an MA? What was/is your major at Oberlin, and would you want to stick with it or choose a new field of study?

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Just because unfunded MA students are considered cash cows by certain universities doesn't mean that the degree is worthless. It's pretty common nowadays for people to graduate and not go directly into a PhD program. I am the only one of my friends applying to PhD programs - everyone else is going for MAs or is putting off thinking about their future for the time being.

Just curious though, why are you looking to get a Masters in "humnanities?" I don't know anything about the programs you mentioned, or about studying humanities as a general subject, but it seems that if you want to hone your interests more and sharpen your research goals, maybe you should shoot for a more specific subject for an MA? What was/is your major at Oberlin, and would you want to stick with it or choose a new field of study?

I am not by any means implying the degree is worthless - I am just saying at universities where the program is considered a cash cow- those students often times get less attention than PhD students, and therefore can have less opportunity during their MA (especially for things like RA/TAships), and therefore have problems once they graduate. The school that first comes to mind when this is mentioned is Columbia as I have heard this complaint from a lot of ex MA students in their humanities/SS divisions. This isn't an across the board slam on MAs, they're perfectly useful degrees. My main points above had more to do with making sure that you would get the attention you want/deserve as a grad student (appeal to other grad students in the program perhaps?), and that previous students in those programs have gone on to the universities and programs you are interested in.

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I am not by any means implying the degree is worthless - I am just saying at universities where the program is considered a cash cow- those students often times get less attention than PhD students, and therefore can have less opportunity during their MA (especially for things like RA/TAships), and therefore have problems once they graduate. The school that first comes to mind when this is mentioned is Columbia as I have heard this complaint from a lot of ex MA students in their humanities/SS divisions. This isn't an across the board slam on MAs, they're perfectly useful degrees. My main points above had more to do with making sure that you would get the attention you want/deserve as a grad student (appeal to other grad students in the program perhaps?), and that previous students in those programs have gone on to the universities and programs you are interested in.

I have heard the term "cash cow" before, believe me, especially concerning MA programs...why do you think i posted that comment in parentheses in the title? I have been exploring this blog, and it seems like a common notion that MAs are a rip-off. I am lucky that if I do an MA, i would not end up with dept. And i really want to study in an elite institution for my PhD, in order to do this, i think i need a stronger curriculum and writing sample, and maybe reading knowedge of german? My interests are still unclear, but they definitely are related to continental philosophy, critical theory, art, and Lacanian psychoanalysis. Im am looking at PhD programs such as the Comitee on Social Thought at Chicago, or something of the sort. I would not get in there if applied now!

Useful comments, really. Thanks. More are welcome and appreciated!

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I have heard the term "cash cow" before, believe me, especially concerning MA programs...why do you think i posted that comment in parentheses in the title? I have been exploring this blog, and it seems like a common notion that MAs are a rip-off. I am lucky that if I do an MA, i would not end up with dept. And i really want to study in an elite institution for my PhD, in order to do this, i think i need a stronger curriculum and writing sample, and maybe reading knowedge of german? My interests are still unclear, but they definitely are related to continental philosophy, critical theory, art, and Lacanian psychoanalysis. Im am looking at PhD programs such as the Comitee on Social Thought at Chicago, or something of the sort. I would not get in there if applied now!

Useful comments, really. Thanks. More are welcome and appreciated!

I think the "common notion that MAs are a rip-off" only applies to certain MAs. There are plenty of professions in which an MA is the highest level of education required or desired. It just depends on what you want to do after graduation. For someone like me, who really has no interest in teaching or research, a PhD would be a waste of time. As for you, if you don't feel like you have the necessary qualifications to get into a PhD program that you'd be happy with, I think getting your MA first is a wise decision. Especially since you won't have to go into debt to do it. But for either level, I really think you should narrow down your research interests first.

Also, keep in mind that this forum has far more PhD than master's students in it, so most of the responses you'll get will be weighted in that direction.

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I have heard the term "cash cow" before, believe me, especially concerning MA programs...why do you think i posted that comment in parentheses in the title? I have been exploring this blog, and it seems like a common notion that MAs are a rip-off. I am lucky that if I do an MA, i would not end up with dept. And i really want to study in an elite institution for my PhD, in order to do this, i think i need a stronger curriculum and writing sample, and maybe reading knowedge of german? My interests are still unclear, but they definitely are related to continental philosophy, critical theory, art, and Lacanian psychoanalysis. Im am looking at PhD programs such as the Comitee on Social Thought at Chicago, or something of the sort. I would not get in there if applied now!

Useful comments, really. Thanks. More are welcome and appreciated!

Well, if you can pay for the MA, that's a different story. And you're right; your stats are good enough to get into a decent PhD program, but would probably keep you out of a program like Chicago's Social Thought PhD. I believe they only take 5 or 6 students a year, but I could be mistaken.

My concern was that your youthful idealism would be exploited by a university which admitted you to their unfunded MA program, letting you rack up tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt. Getting into an elite PhD program afterward isn't a given, and thus getting a job wouldn't be certain either.

I'm sure I'm not the first to tell you that there are fewer and fewer tenure-track positions available in academia; the trend is toward using a lot of adjuncts, whom do not receive benefits and are paid a miserable wage which would make paying off that debt and living above the poverty line a difficult task.

I didn't intend to sound abrasive, but I am very skeptical of such programs. I was admitted to Chicago's MAPSS last year with 1/3 scholarship and still turned it down, so I'm not trying to steer you away from a route I haven't considered.

I've seen faculty members of decent departments holding those degrees, but my guess is that the vast majority of people who attend, say, Chicago or Columbia MA in the liberal arts program, will never be viewed as the caliber of student to be admitted to a PhD program there.

Certainly, some people make the most of the opportunities afforded them by those programs (adjustable rate mortgages probably even worked out for SOME people, but were a bad idea for the overwhelming majority of those who took them). But the schools don't publish statistics on how well most of the graduates from those programs do, which suggests that the statistics aren't pretty.

FINALLY, if you are considering the Chicago Social Thought PhD, APPLY THERE! You will probably get sent to MAPSS anyway. I applied to the History PhD program last year, and was admitted to MAPSS. If your application is good but not good enough, they'll pawn you off onto MAPSS. I can only assume it works similarly at other universities with such programs.

Edited by misterpat

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Pick a research focus and apply to PhD programs. Your credentials (GRE, GPA, language knowledge) are plenty solid, provided you know what it is you want to do. Given the tight time frame of some of the MA programs you listed (1 year from start to finish), I'm not really sure they'd boost your credentials much unless you took time off between the MA and the PhD. As in, by this time next year, you'd be applying again but only be halfway through a semester of coursework, not have written a thesis, and will have little potential to secure positive recommendations from your graduate school professors.

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