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Hi, all. This is my first post here, but this forum has been greatly helpful to me in my grad school search so thank you so much! But I digress...

I'm a recent graduate with a BA in English Literature from a small but respectable private university in Indiana, and I'm taking a gap year now before applying to PhD programs. My interests are in Gender and Sexuality and others forms of media such as Film and Theatre. I'm also interested in Post-1900s American literature, although it isn't my primary focus. I'm not sure how all to go about wording this in my personal statement to programs, and I was also curious about the importance of specifying a time period. Would it benefit me to include my interest in Post-1900s American literature along with my primary interests (or as one of my primary interest)? Would all of that be too much to detail in a personal statement?

(Note: My 24-page senior thesis, which I plan to use for applications, is on queer theory and analysis of a French queer film, if that info is useful at all.)

I was also curious if anyone has programs they think could align with my interests. I have a list of 11 schools so far that I'm considering applying to, but I'd love to hear suggestions and broaden that list. (Preferably schools that don't require the GRE Subject Test in Literature because I know I haven't read enough classic literature to get high scores on that and would rather not bother.)

Let me know in the comments if you need any additional information from me. Thank you in advance!

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Hi @TaliaTee! Fellow gender/queer studies applicant here. Congrats on finishing your BA! What do you plan to do with your gap year? 

Regarding your statement of purpose (SOP), I think the more specific the better. I'll let others chime in too, but you should not only mention all of your interests in your SOP, but also how they intersect, what questions they incite in one another (or answer), and what you want to pursue as a grad student. I know some people even recommend explicitly stating your dissertation goals. 

I recommend looking at programs with interdisciplinary emphases. Eg., Univ of Michigan's English and Women's Studies program. Or, even more interdisciplinary, UC Irvine's Culture & Theory program. Lots of programs offer graduate certificates in gender/sexuality studies if you want to go that route, too.

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29 minutes ago, Pezpoet said:

Or, even more interdisciplinary, UC Irvine's Culture & Theory program

So, this is totally hearsay, but I was recently told to avoid the C&T program at UCI if you're into gender studies; it sounds like it's a less-than-welcoming environment for WGS students due to interdepartmental politics. I was considering applying to the program, but after speaking to some current students, I probably won't. 

TaliaTee, usually for a personal statement you're supposed to talk about your personal background and how it contributes to your decision to pursue grad school; a statement of purpose on the other hand, is where you talk about your academic/research experience and plans. You will want to be very specific and detailed for that, since especially for PhD programs, it's the document that the adcomm will use to determine whether you'll fit in their department or not. 

Good luck, and enjoy your gap year :)

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Woops. Sorry y'all. Saw "personal statement" but my brain filled in SOP (as I was working on it this morning). 

@bumbleblu That's such a bummer re: UC Irvine. Can you say more? I understand if not, but it is defs on my list. 

 

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I will second bumbleblu's statement in regards to UCI's Culture & Theory, as multiple professors have told me that the program is supposedly a tad full of itself and gradually losing funding. The good news is that the English department supposedly doesn't have these issues and you would be able to still get a good Gender background with the designated emphasis they offer.

That said, someone who is actually in the program might be a better person to ask on this.

 

As for other programs, you might consider looking at American Studies programs and the Modern Thought and Language program at Stanford.

Edited by CulturalCriminal

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8 hours ago, Pezpoet said:

What do you plan to do with your gap year? 

I actually have the opportunity to spend a few months in Sicily for just the cost of plane tickets (my sister and brother-in-law live there), so in January, I'll be flying there and country-hopping! I was given advice to travel during my gap year if I have the opportunity (and if there aren't any professional opportunities available), so since this opportunity fell into my lap, I thought I might as well take it! And since the job market, ya know, hasn't been too kind to me.

Thank you all for the recommendations! I'll definitely look into the aforementioned programs. And thank you for the recommendations on the statement of purpose! (That's actually what I meant to put in my original post but mixed them up.) That'll be super helpful!

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On ‎9‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 10:42 PM, TaliaTee said:

My interests are in Gender and Sexuality and others forms of media such as Film and Theatre. I'm also interested in Post-1900s American literature, although it isn't my primary focus. I'm not sure how all to go about wording this in my personal statement to programs, and I was also curious about the importance of specifying a time period. Would it benefit me to include my interest in Post-1900s American literature along with my primary interests (or as one of my primary interest)? Would all of that be too much to detail in a personal statement?

Just an FYI: If you're applying mainly to English literature PhD programs (and not theater, film, or women's/gender studies programs), you will have to specify the time period you're focusing on. So based on what you've said here, you'd be interested in post-1900 (maybe post-1945???) US Literature, with a more specific focus in gender/sexuality and film/drama. 

PhD programs sort applications by time periods. 

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