Jump to content

Confusion on English MA programs


Recommended Posts

From browsing the forum, I've realized that Master programs for English aren't ranked. However, some programs such as Georgetown, Villanova and Wake Forest are mentioned for their "prestige". Others talk about getting into a Ph.D. program from an "unranked" Master's. But aren't all Master's unranked or is there some sort of ranked list that I'm unaware of?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This question comes up surprisingly often here. There's no ranked list (not by USNews, at least) of M.A. programs, but despite that lack of ranking, certain programs are still notable for various reasons. Think of it this way: even if there was no USNews ranking for Ph.D. programs, you would know that Berkeley, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford etc. are all "prestigious"; the same goes for the M.A. programs you mention, among others -- they're known to be prestigious, even if no one has done a reputable systematic ranking.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even though there's no official ranking system in place for MA programs in English, there are still two leagues, I would say - funded and unfunded MAs.

The general wisdom is to go with the funding when it comes to MA programs. If they're willing to fund you, that usually means they're more invested in you and that you can get some useful experience (teaching, tutoring, etc) out of the deal that can help for PhD applications/admissions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, klader said:

Even though there's no official ranking system in place for MA programs in English, there are still two leagues, I would say - funded and unfunded MAs.

I agree that funding is a very important factor, but I think that MA programs also gain "prestige" through their PhD program placement.  It is worth asking schools for that information if it is not available on their website (only, of course, if you are thinking about going onto a PhD, otherwise it might be worth asking what fields/positions that their MAs have entered post-graduation, if they know).  

Usually people are using the nomenclature "unranked" casually to refer to an MA at a school either without a PhD program or with one that is not ranked in the top-whatever number of USN&WR schools.  Some schools, like Georgetown, do not have a PhD program and therefore their MAs may (arguably) receive more attention from the faculty, another "prestige" factor.  If you are not hoping/planning to go onto a PhD program, however, then an MA from a big name school with a top ranked PhD program might be more helpful in whatever field you are thinking about entering than a funded MA from an "unranked" school (even if those MA programs have a mixed reputation within the academy).  

However, of course, just like for PhDs, it is also important to consider the professors in your field, both as potential advisors/mentors (will they help you to do your best work?) and, if you are going on, as recommenders (how much weight will their recommendation carry when/if you apply to PhD programs?).  A school with a prestigious reputation (either as an MA or PhD program) might not be the best fit with your interests/goals.  

Figuring out what you want from your MA program might help you to prioritize these factors (and others!) and figure out a list of the best schools for you.

Link to comment
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

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use