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Need advice: WUSTL & UMass-Amherst MA Programs?


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Hi everyone!

I'm new to Gradcafe, and this is my first time to create a topic here! I'm applying to MA program in art history, and my long-term goal is to get a PhD in art history. I am very fortunate to be accepted to the MA programs of UMass-Amherst and Washington University in St. Louis, both with funding. I like both programs for their intimate atmosphere because of the small graduate student body, and both programs have professors that I would love to work with. I feel it very hard to make a choice between the two. I wonder if anyone could provide me with more information about the two programs? How well are their graduates placed to PhD programs and museums/galleries?

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UMass Amherst is public, so the resources may not be as great as WUSTL. I believe that students TA for much of their funding, which does add workload that can detract from your research. The faculty is a multigenerational, whereas it skews a bit older at WUSTL. I have not heard anything negative about the culture in WUSTL.  A big difference in the programs is UMass's "Comprehensive Exam" instead of a thesis. If you want to write a full thesis, UMass may not be for you. At WUSTL students who don't want to advance can take comps, but those with PhD aspirations do a thesis. For what it is worth, I do not think that the lack of a thesis at UMass harms the chances of students moving into PhD programs. You should have a seminar paper you can turn into a writing sample. Williams students, after all, also don't write a thesis. In terms of placement, you find graduates of the program in PhD programs, museums, and as faculty in lots of different places. It's an old program so networking opportunities are fairly rich, and its being in the shadow of Williamstown, and a little defined as such, I think makes graduates perhaps more willing to go the extra mile to help out other grads. I tend to think of it as the second best option for a terminal MA program in New England. 


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@anonymousbequest Thanks for your input I also noticed that, from the listing on the WUSTL's website, almost all of their MA students in the past went into their PhD program, which I actually consider as something that could be beneficial if I want to get a PhD degree eventually (unless I don't want to stay at the school for it). It's hard to choose between the two, but I guess it's fortunate that I have the choices.


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