Grad School Thread

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by Teger, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. StephenHero

    StephenHero Black Floridian

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    Better career move:

    A) Paying $40,000 for graduate degree in the humanities from slightly above average school.

    or

    B) Paying someone $40,000 to hire you now.


    ?
     
  2. Connemara

    Connemara [URL='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jST2Sv63WQ']

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    My MA in African tribal art was sooooo worth it! I often use that knowledge when I am making lattes.
     
  3. forStyle

    forStyle Well-Known Member

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    Maybe get a job for a few years and reapply to better schools? Teaching high school may be fun.

    By then, you'll have more money and a better resume.

    Agree with the previous posters. You have to be a rock star in a top 5 university to be successful in english or history.
     
  4. bslo

    bslo Senior member

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    I'm a professor, for whatever that's worth. You might want to post your question on the Chronicle of Higher Education boards, but they'll tell you the same thing that Manton told you. The conventional wisdom is that it is beyond foolish to take out loans for a humanities Ph.D., let alone a masters. You should absolutely go to Virginia Tech. The decision is not close. Do well at Virginia Tech and try to get into a top 10 Ph.D. program. If you don't get admitted to a top, TOP program, I encourage you to explore other options. Regardless of the program, you have four huge strikes against you: 1) you're white (not sure about this, obviously, I'm just guessing); 2) you're a male; 3) you are interested in either History or English, which have horrible, horrible job markets; and 4) your area of interest (British Lit or something similar) is not exactly in demand.

    Ask yourself if you would be happy getting a Ph.D. even if you couldn't get an academic job. BTW, phrasing the question as whether you're willing to move anywhere in the country for a job is foolishly optimistic. The proper question is whether you're willing to spend years working as an adjunct, juggling 5 different classes at 3 different universities and making $20,000 TOTAL. Are you prepared to live a live of poverty (after you've spent about 8 years getting the Ph.D.), while your "less intelligent" friends enjoy middle class lifestyles?

    The worst thing you can do is make plans under the assumption that you're likely to be an exception to the conventional wisdom.
     
  5. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    Ask yourself if you would be happy getting a Ph.D. even if you couldn't get an academic job. BTW, phrasing the question as whether you're willing to move anywhere in the country for a job is foolishly optimistic. The proper question is whether you're willing to spend years working as an adjunct, juggling 5 different classes at 3 different universities and making $20,000 TOTAL. Are you prepared to live a live of poverty (after you've spent about 8 years getting the Ph.D.), while your "less intelligent" friends enjoy middle class lifestyles?

    For the record, I am aware of this. My point about moving was not that, if you are willing to move, you will get a job. It was to debunk the notion that somehow a regional alumni network is in any way an advantage in the academic job market.

    I thought I had made the adjunct point above but you hit it a little harder. I don't disagree at all.
     
  6. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    I'm a professor, for whatever that's worth. You might want to post your question on the Chronicle of Higher Education boards, but they'll tell you the same thing that Manton told you. The conventional wisdom is that it is beyond foolish to take out loans for a humanities Ph.D., let alone a masters. You should absolutely go to Virginia Tech. The decision is not close. Do well at Virginia Tech and try to get into a top 10 Ph.D. program. If you don't get admitted to a top, TOP program, I encourage you to explore other options. Regardless of the program, you have four huge strikes against you: 1) you're white (not sure about this, obviously, I'm just guessing); 2) you're a male; 3) you are interested in either History or English, which have horrible, horrible job markets; and 4) your area of interest (British Lit or something similar) is not exactly in demand.

    Ask yourself if you would be happy getting a Ph.D. even if you couldn't get an academic job. BTW, phrasing the question as whether you're willing to move anywhere in the country for a job is foolishly optimistic. The proper question is whether you're willing to spend years working as an adjunct, juggling 5 different classes at 3 different universities and making $20,000 TOTAL. Are you prepared to live a live of poverty (after you've spent about 8 years getting the Ph.D.), while your "less intelligent" friends enjoy middle class lifestyles?

    The worst thing you can do is make plans under the assumption that you're likely to be an exception to the conventional wisdom.


    and yes, I'm willing to live in poverty.

    I'm also saying this as a 24 year old single male.

    although no plans to get married or have children anytime soon (if ever!).
     
  7. StephenHero

    StephenHero Black Floridian

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    and yes, I'm willing to live in poverty.


    [​IMG]
     
  8. bslo

    bslo Senior member

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    For the record, I am aware of this. My point about moving was not that, if you are willing to move, you will get a job. It was to debunk the notion that somehow a regional alumni network is in any way an advantage in the academic job market.

    I thought I had made the adjunct point above but you hit it a little harder. I don't disagree at all.


    Sorry, my post was not intended to be critical of the advice you gave, which was good. I just want to make sure Teger understands the dreadful job market which he will enter. And no, it will probably not be better in ten years when you have finally finished your Ph.D.

    I absolutely agree with you about the national nature of the academic job market. A regional network might be valuable, however, if you're trying to get a community college position, but I'm not sure. Those jobs are difficult to get now, too, especially if you're a white male with no special skills (i.e., languages) in an incredibly oversaturated specialty.
     
  9. bslo

    bslo Senior member

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    and yes, I'm willing to live in poverty.

    I'm also saying this as a 24 year old single male.

    although no plans to get married or have children anytime soon (if ever!).


    Well, maybe you are, but I bet your views will change over time (especially if you meet someone). Your best move would be to marry a woman with a good job who would be willing to support you indefinitely. You can imagine, I hope, that it usually works the opposite way in grad school in the humanities. The woman pursues the low paying academic career and has the professional husband support her.

    Incidentally, I didn't mention this earlier, but I hope you have a well-articulated research agenda. Your indecision between History and English gives me doubts. Obviously, pursuing a masters degree will give you time to develop one, but if you're applying to Ph.D. programs you're not going to be competitive at top programs if your Statement of Interest reads like something prepared by an undergrad instead of a budding scholar. The same goes for your writing sample.
     
  10. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    if you're curious I could send you both :p

    yes I have a pretty specific statement of interest
     
  11. Joenobody0

    Joenobody0 Senior member

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    A regional network might be valuable, however, if you're trying to get a community college position, but I'm not sure. Those jobs are difficult to get now, too, especially if you're a white male with no special skills (i.e., languages) in an incredibly oversaturated specialty.

    I started at a community college. Only one of my instructors had a PhD. She taught English. That is not the field I'd be looking to enter!
     
  12. mktitsworth

    mktitsworth Senior member

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    As someone who is a grad student at the moment: Take funding. I did semester one without funding. Take funding. Someone is willing to PAY YOU to go to school. That means you don't have to spend 40+ hours a week doing class and homework AND 40 hours a week to pay the rent, because the rent is too damn high.

    Again. Go with funding.
     
  13. Fraiche

    Fraiche Senior member

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    I don't think this question has been sufficiently discussed so far:

    What jobs are your targetting after you graduate and what salary are you expecting?

    Hopefully there's a 6 figure job in your consideration to take care of that 6 figure debt. And I mean 6 figures once you get out, not down the line.
     
  14. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    well, it has been discussed, and i'm still planning on trying to pursue a PhD.
     
  15. AldenPyle

    AldenPyle Senior member

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    The scam that these humanities graduate progams run is diabolical. Imagine encouraging some chump to borrow 70k to get an MA in English. The gap between the moral self-regard of these people and the way they live their lives is unfathomable.
     

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