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Do I need an M.A.? And did I screw myself? - History Graduate Students — LiveJournal

About Do I need an M.A.? And did I screw myself?

Previous Entry Do I need an M.A.? And did I screw myself? Feb. 1st, 2010 @ 03:54 pm Next Entry
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From:bafooz
Date:February 2nd, 2010 03:52 am (UTC)
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Apply to a mix of MAs & PhDs. I think it's increasingly common, at least in my program, for people to come in MAs in hand. However, at my program, there's no credit for it (i.e., you go through the same coursework as those of us who come in without MAs). However, I'm in a field that requires good foreign language skills off the bat & a lot of people pick that up during the MA. There are only two of us in my program currently who don't have MAs, but I got into my top choice PhD program right off the bat, my first & only time applying to grad school. A lot depends on the program - here, we have 3 years of coursework, so profs are generally more likely to take a chance on someone who doesn't come in with a dissertation topic all picked out & maybe needs more polish at the graduate level etc. I wasn't a rockstar in college - I had an OK GPA (nothing stellar, but not bad by any stretch), but good GREs, a good writing sample & SOP, and GREAT LORs.

Do NOT put too much stock in top 20 lists. I'm *still* not sure what the US News people were smoking when they put the list together for my subfield - though it's great if you're looking for a program that's currently in the process of imploding or rebuilding, I suppose. Much, much better to talk to people who are plugged into your subfield & can offer advice based on concrete experiences.
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