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On 12/21/2017 at 11:57 AM, khigh said:

Thanks! I could pass a test in any of those. My listening, reading, and writing are better than speaking, but that’s only because of my accent. It’s a wonderful blend of Oklahoma/North Texas/Minnesota. My Dutch is very Amsterdaamer (hard k, extended vowels- think Minnesota vowels) and Groningers didn’t appreciate that. 

 

On 12/22/2017 at 12:20 AM, rosiereal said:

Hello!

I got an interview for Penn HSS. Any tips? I'm from more of a sociology/anthropology background, so I'm not sure what a history professor might be looking for! Anything would be helpful.

Just to be clear, the point of the interview is not to test what you claim to know and that can be otherwise learnt in grad school. The point is to see if you are a good fit, if you are going to be a good investment of their time and money, and if you know (more or less) these two things. Broadly:

  • How mature you are as a scholar. How does your background shape your career goals? Why do you want to become a historian (DO NOT SAY YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT HISTORY)? How can you speak to other fields? (in my interview they asked me about my interests in the context of colonial Latin America [I study modern]) This also means listening to the questions and answering accordingly. Do not ramble. 
  • How promising you are as a scholar. Do you have interesting questions? (easy test: what questions do you have for them?) Do you acknowledge the field/trends/latest discussions (not as a test of how much you've read, but as a modest awareness of the work being done)? Do you know what you want to learn?
  • How your experience will enrich the department. This can refer to research or work experience. 
  • How you want to shape your scholar persona. Do you have an interest in digital humanities/Atlantic world/paleography etc? Think of how your larger interest may shape the person you want to be in a couple of year. Of course, you may not know this, but it is worth doing a little bit of more research of the place you have an interview in and think of how you can benefit from other offerings. In my case, I made the argument that given my interests, school X would also fit because it had a great GIS lab. 

Probably @TMP @telkanuru @Sigaba can complete/paraphrase this as I'm worn out today. Though I hope it helps. 

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4 minutes ago, khigh said:

Question for y'all.  Would you publish or present a paper at a conference outside your major/minor field? Something way outside what you normally would do? I've been revising one of my papers from last year about baseball rules in the late 1800s and would love to submit to and possibly present at SABR's 19th Century Baseball Conference in 2019. However, my field, if I get into grad school, would be more 17th century European politics.

Does it either help or hurt grad school chances or people's perception of you in grad school? Or, does it not matter either way? Is it okay to have a "guilty pleasure" side project?

If you are thinking of presenting this paper at the same time as applying for schools, I don't think it hurts. While I was applying I published a short article on Ancient Egypt (my field is Modern Latin America). I think I don't include this publication any more in my CV though. :)  Yet, in two years I doubt it will be useful for you to present on this especially because it will be your first year. Remember that our field is all about self-marketing and networking. You want people to know you for your field, not your non-field. 

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I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays!  It is a time to rejoice and be in the company of family, friends and loved ones.  Forget about school if you're done;  the semester is over for most people.  Worry about applications due in January after the New Year.  For now, I raise my glass and offer everyone here a deserving toast!

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4 hours ago, AP said:

If you are thinking of presenting this paper at the same time as applying for schools, I don't think it hurts. While I was applying I published a short article on Ancient Egypt (my field is Modern Latin America). I think I don't include this publication any more in my CV though. :)  Yet, in two years I doubt it will be useful for you to present on this especially because it will be your first year. Remember that our field is all about self-marketing and networking. You want people to know you for your field, not your non-field. 

It would be for fun, not necessarily something for the CV.  I guess the question is more if we, as historians, can have hobby topics that are sometimes seen as silly.  Like, baseball history isn't the most refined or serious topic. 

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55 minutes ago, khigh said:

It would be for fun, not necessarily something for the CV.  I guess the question is more if we, as historians, can have hobby topics that are sometimes seen as silly.  Like, baseball history isn't the most refined or serious topic. 

I would be careful of how you present this kind of work. Having "hobby topics" is fine, but describing those as silly, unrefined, or not serious could rub people the wrong way. Important work has been done in US History and American Studies departments re: baseball, urbanity, race, and class. The scholars who do that work take it seriously and for good reason. 

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3 hours ago, khigh said:

It would be for fun, not necessarily something for the CV.  I guess the question is more if we, as historians, can have hobby topics that are sometimes seen as silly.  Like, baseball history isn't the most refined or serious topic. 

At Wisconsin, we offer courses in baseball history.

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11 minutes ago, psstein said:

At Wisconsin, we offer courses in baseball history.

I would love it, but it's Wisconsin (skol!)...I didn't mean that baseball is a silly or unrefined topic, just that it has been perceived that way. 

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4 hours ago, khigh said:

It would be for fun, not necessarily something for the CV.  I guess the question is more if we, as historians, can have hobby topics that are sometimes seen as silly.  Like, baseball history isn't the most refined or serious topic. 

Of course you can have hobby topics, and I don't think no one really cares if you do. Now, if you do, be sure to treat it seriously, because your colleagues will and your name, wether you want it or not, will be attach to it (and by extension your department's). I'm not saying don't do it (I know people who do it).

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1 hour ago, khigh said:

..I didn't mean that baseball is a silly or unrefined topic, just that it has been perceived that way. 

If you get into your U, you may have an interesting discussion on sport history with the medievalist Michael Lower, who even teaches a course in global history of modern soccer as his side interest. 

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1 hour ago, VAZ said:

If you get into your U, you may have an interesting discussion on sport history with the medievalist Michael Lower, who even teaches a course in global history of modern soccer as his side interest. 

At least then I won’t get weird questions about my FC Hertha Berlin or FC Bayern Munich scarves. I am sure we would have a good talk about the Bundesliga and the symbolism of Hertha using the Olympiastadion for home matches. 

My dream courses to teach outside my field would be 19th Century Baseball (or the forgotten years), History of Baseball Curses and Superstitions (or black cats, goats, and rain delays), and/or History of Baseball Law (Or, Spaulding was an evil genius). Cathedrals of the Modern Man (stadiums) would also be fun or even ancient ritual in modern sports (Vikings have a lot of this- Skol, the Gjallarhorn, etc). 

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Earned my first BA in Liberal Studies from Wright State University several years ago. Now finishing up a second BA, in History, from Southern New Hampshire University. Applying to graduate programs (MA where available, otherwise PhD) at Binghamton University, Brandeis University, Northern Illinois University,  Princeton University, Texas Tech, University of Alabama, University of Arizona, University of California-Davis, University of Illinois-Urbana, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Oregon, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, Western Michigan University, Wright State University, and Yale University.

Specialty is early modern German history, especially social history, cultural history, daily life, peasantry, marginalized people, gender/sexuality, religion, and economics.

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6 hours ago, Qtf311 said:

Hi,

Just curious, why not apply to Southern New Hampshire’s MA history program?  

They don't have any faculty who are studying what I want to study (early modern German social history).

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Hey everyone, I am switching to history from a very different field, so I am applying for master's programs this cycle. I know that where you get your PhD plays a tremendous role in your future career, but how much does where you get your master's matter? Top schools don't really offer funding to MA students, so I am applying to some lower ranked schools that do. I saw that earlier in the thread, someone said that if it's not a top program, don't go. I'm curious, what you guys think about unfunded MA at a top-10 school vs funded MA at a top-100 school? I know that it varies by field and, in my current one, an unfunded top-100 master's would be the go-to. Will I be making a mistake if I get my master's from a lesser known school? I want to go to a top-10 PhD program later on and it seems that most current grad students at such programs came from prestigious schools.

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6 hours ago, InternationalCatLover said:

Hey everyone, I am switching to history from a very different field, so I am applying for master's programs this cycle. I know that where you get your PhD plays a tremendous role in your future career, but how much does where you get your master's matter? Top schools don't really offer funding to MA students, so I am applying to some lower ranked schools that do. I saw that earlier in the thread, someone said that if it's not a top program, don't go. I'm curious, what you guys think about unfunded MA at a top-10 school vs funded MA at a top-100 school? I know that it varies by field and, in my current one, an unfunded top-100 master's would be the go-to. Will I be making a mistake if I get my master's from a lesser known school? I want to go to a top-10 PhD program later on and it seems that most current grad students at such programs came from prestigious schools.

Not so much as long as you have a solid application for the PhD.  And it's far, far, far, far better to avoid debt as much as possible.  Go to a MA program that puts you in the least amount of debt, has financial support for students (including research funds for the thesis), and some sort of track record for putting students in PhD programs.

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17 hours ago, TheHessianHistorian said:

Earned my first BA in Liberal Studies from Wright State University several years ago. Now finishing up a second BA, in History, from Southern New Hampshire University. Applying to graduate programs (MA where available, otherwise PhD) at Binghamton University, Brandeis University, Northern Illinois University,  Princeton University, Texas Tech, University of Alabama, University of Arizona, University of California-Davis, University of Illinois-Urbana, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Oregon, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, Western Michigan University, Wright State University, and Yale University.

Specialty is early modern German history, especially social history, cultural history, daily life, peasantry, marginalized people, gender/sexuality, religion, and economics.

Two renowned scholars/POIs that perfectly fit your interest immediately came to my mind: Thomas Robisheaux (Duke) and Thomas Max Safley (Penn). Have you tried to talk to them?

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19 minutes ago, VAZ said:

Two renowned scholars/POIs that perfectly fit your interest immediately came to my mind: Thomas Robisheaux (Duke) and Thomas Max Safley (Penn). Have you tried to talk to them?

Thanks for the suggestions! I did contact Thomas Robisheaux, but he is retiring this year and says they are not going to bring on someone with his specialties for another couple years. So, Duke might be a possibility for my PhD program after I finish my Master's degree, if they get a good early modern Germanist replacement.

I ran into the same problem with retiring professors when looking at applying to Cornell (Isabel Hull), Ohio State (Geoff Parker), Syracuse U (Fred Marquardt), UCLA (David Sabean), and UW-Milwaukee (Merry Wiesner-Hanks). This just seems to be the year for early modern Germany experts to retire!

As for Penn, I do like Thomas Max Safley's work. I think I decided against Penn because there wasn't really any other faculty member that I felt would be a good mentor for an early modern Germanist if Safley should ever disappear.

The main POIs that I connected with at the other programs are:

  • Sean Dunwoody - Binghamton University
  • Govind Sreenivasan - Brandeis University
  • Vera Lind - Northern Illinois University
  • Yair Mintzker - Princeton University
  • Jacob Baum - Texas Tech University
  • Daniel Riches - University of Alabama
  • Beth Plummer - University of Arizona
  • Kathy Stuart - University of California Davis
  • Craig Koslofsky - University of Illinois Urbana
  • Terence McIntoish - University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
  • David Luebke - University of Oregon
  • Joel Harrington - Vanderbilt University
  • Christine Johnson - Washington University in St. Louis
  • Marion Gray - Western Michigan University
  • Roy Vice - Wright State University
  • Carlos Eire - Yale University
Edited by TheHessianHistorian

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13 hours ago, InternationalCatLover said:

Hey everyone, I am switching to history from a very different field, so I am applying for master's programs this cycle. I know that where you get your PhD plays a tremendous role in your future career, but how much does where you get your master's matter? Top schools don't really offer funding to MA students, so I am applying to some lower ranked schools that do. I saw that earlier in the thread, someone said that if it's not a top program, don't go. I'm curious, what you guys think about unfunded MA at a top-10 school vs funded MA at a top-100 school? I know that it varies by field and, in my current one, an unfunded top-100 master's would be the go-to. Will I be making a mistake if I get my master's from a lesser known school? I want to go to a top-10 PhD program later on and it seems that most current grad students at such programs came from prestigious schools.

I agree with @TMP in their advice to avoid debt. If your goal is a PhD, then start planning now. Think very carefully what you need/want to achieve in a Master's so that your application to and your experience in a PhD program is successful. Making the decision of do a MA before a PhD is already a strategic call since you come from another field. Once you get accepted, you can begin planning your degree with the doctoral in program in mind. For example, would you need to take up any languages/other skills? What research support is available for you to develop archival research (if your topic is archival-based) so that you can show your experience in PhD applications? etc

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@TMP @AP Thanks for your input, guys! Research support and track of putting previous MA students into good PhD programs have been some of my main questions for potential master's programs.

So far, I have three programs on my list, and I can see myself going to any one of those if accepted. I have a couple of other programs I may want to apply to, but I'm not sure if I should if I'm not as excited about those, compared to the three I really like.

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Is it a good sign or does it not mean anything if two of the professors at the school at which I applied want to meet for coffee next week? It would be those two plus the retired prof in my main area of obsession. Of course I said yes, but I don't know what to expect.

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1 hour ago, khigh said:

Is it a good sign or does it not mean anything if two of the professors at the school at which I applied want to meet for coffee next week? It would be those two plus the retired prof in my main area of obsession. Of course I said yes, but I don't know what to expect.

It is a good sign in the sense that your application is promising. Here is how:

Let me tell you something that you will hear a lot in grad school. Committees (AdComms, grants, jobs, etc) receive applications. The first two piles they make is the absolutely yes and the absolutely no (usually because of missing materials, low grades/poor scholarship, etc). You are not in the absolute no, so meeting for coffee is, by all means, a good sign. This will be an informal interview which has it's pros and cons. 

Pros: you and they are relaxed. It is more of a conversation (it doesn't "feel" like an interview). The non-academic environment may also help you.

Cons: since it's not formal, it can be used against you without further due. Also, we sometimes misinterpret informality with lack of professionalism and we use slang, very informal language, or silly phrases. 

Some tips:

  • Be professional and remain professional in your language and your dress code. 
  • Avoid discourse sinkers such as "like" (My thesis was about like pirates), "you know" (I study, you know, pirates. [No, we don't know, that's why we are asking]), y'all (if applicable), inflating adverbs (I study an extremely important topic: pirates), and –the one that shuts me down every single time I hear it– "passionate" [yes, you are passionate/obsessed/whatever with whatever topic you chose. My passion is golf, so what? If you remain professional, you won't need to say you are passionate because you will have a strong argument for you topic to be interesting].
  • Don't ramble. Listen to the questions and answer them succinctly. 
  • Ask good questions.

Also, and equally important: congrats on this coffee interview!

 

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20 minutes ago, AP said:

It is a good sign in the sense that your application is promising. Here is how:

Let me tell you something that you will hear a lot in grad school. Committees (AdComms, grants, jobs, etc) receive applications. The first two piles they make is the absolutely yes and the absolutely no (usually because of missing materials, low grades/poor scholarship, etc). You are not in the absolute no, so meeting for coffee is, by all means, a good sign. This will be an informal interview which has it's pros and cons. 

Pros: you and they are relaxed. It is more of a conversation (it doesn't "feel" like an interview). The non-academic environment may also help you.

Cons: since it's not formal, it can be used against you without further due. Also, we sometimes misinterpret informality with lack of professionalism and we use slang, very informal language, or silly phrases. 

Some tips:

  • Be professional and remain professional in your language and your dress code. 
  • Avoid discourse sinkers such as "like" (My thesis was about like pirates), "you know" (I study, you know, pirates. [No, we don't know, that's why we are asking]), y'all (if applicable), inflating adverbs (I study an extremely important topic: pirates), and –the one that shuts me down every single time I hear it– "passionate" [yes, you are passionate/obsessed/whatever with whatever topic you chose. My passion is golf, so what? If you remain professional, you won't need to say you are passionate because you will have a strong argument for you topic to be interesting].
  • Don't ramble. Listen to the questions and answer them succinctly. 
  • Ask good questions.

Also, and equally important: congrats on this coffee interview!

 

Thank you! I've met the first two already a few times in the fall. I've been going to consortium events for a few months, so I think that helps a little. They've heard me talk about my topic of interest a few times. I'm worried because they lost their Dutch guy, who is the retired prof that's supposed to be there.The only one I have not met yet is the retired prof, whose books are what got me interested in the Republic. I told my boyfriend that it's like meeting a rockstar! These three combined made up my undergrad advisor's dissertation committee.  On your second point, I HATE "like" and "you know" and up here, "dontcha know." My sister had a "like jar" growing up, so every time she said "like," she had to put a quarter in the jar.  That brought back memories!

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Update on the coffee invite.  My undergrad advisor called me today. He was the one that set up the meeting.  He is really pushing hard for me to go to the U because he went there.  Thankfully, according to the ones I've talked to at the U, he was very well liked in the program and his advisors are still (mostly) there.  He does act like Dr. Sheldon Cooper (from the Big Bang Theory) sometimes, but he is one of my favorite people in the world.  He is the type of professor that will stop class to get you a cup of coffee if you look tired or call you after class if he thinks you had a bad day or didn't seem to understand that day's lecture. 

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On 12/29/2017 at 2:45 PM, TheHessianHistorian said:

Earned my first BA in Liberal Studies from Wright State University several years ago. Now finishing up a second BA, in History, from Southern New Hampshire University. Applying to graduate programs (MA where available, otherwise PhD) at Binghamton University, Brandeis University, Northern Illinois University,  Princeton University, Texas Tech, University of Alabama, University of Arizona, University of California-Davis, University of Illinois-Urbana, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Oregon, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, Western Michigan University, Wright State University, and Yale University.

Specialty is early modern German history, especially social history, cultural history, daily life, peasantry, marginalized people, gender/sexuality, religion, and economics.

That is the same research area I plan to study (early modern Germany with a focus on social history, cultural history, daily life and the peasantry)! I did my senior thesis on the German Peasant's War and did a study abroad program in Mannheim during the summer in 2014. My German needs a lot of work and my GRE scores are just acceptable so I am nervous about my chances. I applied to some of the same programs as you did, UNC, Vanderbilt, and Oregon. I also applied to Virginia (Erin Lambert) and University of Washington (Benjamin Schmidt). Although not the best matches, I had to take into account places my girlfriend would be able to find work. I looked into: Binghamton University, Brandeis University, UC-Davis, and a few others but the application fees were adding up and I was running out of money.  I am sort of kicking myself for not finding a way to apply to more places but I am trying to stay optimistic. 

University of Oregon is my top choice. I e-mailed David Luebke to ask if he was taking students next year. He said he was on sabbatical next year but that I should still apply and we might find a way to work around the sabbatical if I was accepted by the admissions committee. I mentioned that before in my previous post and I am trying to keep positive since he told me to still apply. 

Best of luck to you! 

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2 hours ago, andnothing said:

That is the same research area I plan to study (early modern Germany with a focus on social history, cultural history, daily life and the peasantry)! I did my senior thesis on the German Peasant's War and did a study abroad program in Mannheim during the summer in 2014. My German needs a lot of work and my GRE scores are just acceptable so I am nervous about my chances. I applied to some of the same programs as you did, UNC, Vanderbilt, and Oregon. I also applied to Virginia (Erin Lambert) and University of Washington (Benjamin Schmidt). Although not the best matches, I had to take into account places my girlfriend would be able to find work. I looked into: Binghamton University, Brandeis University, UC-Davis, and a few others but the application fees were adding up and I was running out of money.  I am sort of kicking myself for not finding a way to apply to more places but I am trying to stay optimistic. 

University of Oregon is my top choice. I e-mailed David Luebke to ask if he was taking students next year. He said he was on sabbatical next year but that I should still apply and we might find a way to work around the sabbatical if I was accepted by the admissions committee. I mentioned that before in my previous post and I am trying to keep positive since he told me to still apply. 

Best of luck to you! 

Neat! Hope you are able to get into your top choice! I applied to study under Jacob Baum at Texas Tech (which charges $0 to apply) and Roy Vice at Wright State (only $40 to apply). If cost of application is an issue, you might look into those schools. The deadline to apply to Texas Tech isn't until January 15th and Wright State isn't until March 1st (w/ funding) or April 15th (w/o funding).

Also, I haven't applied to Southeast Missouri State University yet (they are kind of my ultimate safety school that I will apply to if I start getting a bunch of rejections in February), but they have Prof. Vicky McAlister and their application fee is only $30. You might keep SMSU in mind, since their deadline isn't until March 1st.

I ran into the sabbatical issue a couple of times--Luebke at Oregon, and Sreenivasan at Brandeis--but they both said it could be worked around so I'm crossing my fingers also. 

I think my top choice is probably Vanderbilt, but I would be happy getting into any of the programs I applied to.

Edited by TheHessianHistorian
adding info about SMSU

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