Tag Archive for 'graduate degree'

Graduate Program Spotlight: History

Washington Crossing the Delaware, by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze

Well-known institutions like Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Yale, etc. consistently rank at the top of every program they offer, and this is no different for History graduate programs. However, the fact of the matter is you do not have to attend one of these schools in order to get a great education out of a Masters or Ph.D. program. At “It’s Not GREek!” we want our readers to be aware of not only the important generalities of the field they are considering, but the multitude of options they have when it comes to picking a graduate school. These are some schools, along with the usual suspects, you may not be aware of, but that experts in your field of study certainly are.

Before we spotlight the most highly ranked History programs in the country, there is some basic information any aspiring historian should be aware of before pursuing a career in the “lore of yore:”

Unfortunately, there is a trend of noncompetitive salaries and limited employment opportunities associated with the field of professional history. A Forbes article, “The Best and Worst Master’s Degrees for Jobs,” recently reported that Masters Degrees in Chemistry, Biology, and History top the list of worst graduate degrees to find a job. You should also consider this: according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for historians is $53,570, but according to dailyfinance.com the median salary for someone with an advanced degree is $73,738.

Some of the biggest headlines of the 20th century.

These articles’ assessment might be a little biased; most individuals with an advanced degree in History understand that a Masters will make them too qualified for most jobs, and not qualified enough for the job they want. Additionally, there is compelling evidence that suggests a Ph. D in History might be more valuable than previously considered. The American Historical Association reported in 2005 and 2006 that Ph. D. conferrals in History were no longer surpassing History job postings; that is, for two years in a row, there were more new History jobs being created than there were qualified candidates to fill them. More recently, however, there have been mixed results regarding professional historians’ place in a slowed economy.

As the decision to pursue a graduate degree is often more closely associated with a passion for the subject than economic factors, let us, like any prudent historian, turn to the facts of the matter and begin our Graduate Program Spotlight: History.

#1) Princeton University

#1) Stanford University

#1) University of California – Berkeley

#1) Yale University

#5) Harvard University

Okay … The only surprise in the Top 5 list is that Harvard is ranked fifth. Each of the above-mentioned universities has an amazing and prestigious program; unfortunately, in addition to being the most excellent programs in the country, the above-mentioned universities are also some of the most exclusive programs in the country.

Luckily, there are a number of very well regarded History programs outside of these highly reputable institutions. Some ranked universities that might surprise you are:

#22) Indiana University – Bloomington

Indiana University’s Department of History enjoys an international reputation; they are known for placing an emphasis on training in research and teaching. Additionally, Indiana takes pride in training its student to succeed in both academia and the private sector. Some of Indian University’s concentrations in History include American, Russian/Eastern European, and Ancient History/Language Acquisitions, as well as several other Masters and Ph. D. programs.

#22) University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign

In the words of the Director of Graduate Studies, Adrian Burgos, “With diverse course offerings, excellent teaching and learning resources, a highly regarded faculty with wide-ranging interests and a supportive intellectual community, few schools offer a richer experience than can be had at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.” Financial support opportunities for graduate students include fellowships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, minority student fellowships, and tuition waivers.

#36) Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon fully funds all full-time graduate students for at least four years; funding includes tuition, health insurance, fees, and a living stipend. Carnegie Mellon shapes its curriculum around what it calls its Faculty Thematic Strengths, which include: African American/African/Diaspora, Culture and Power, Gender and the Family, Labor and Politics, and finally Technology, Environment, Science and Health. Another impressive and pertinent piece of information for potential “Scotties” (Carengie Mellon’s official Mascot is Scotty the Scottish terrier) is the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries holds almost 900,000 volumes, and almost 800,000 microforms, in addition to a subscription to 4,200 journals.

#42) University of Arizona

With a very small program, around 100 M.A. and Ph. D. History students on campus, the University of Arizona offers graduate training in five major historical fields–United States, Latin America, Early Europe, Modern Europe, and the Middle East–and two minor fields–World/Comparative and Gender and Women’s history. Two very good reasons to consider the University of Arizona are the students and staff: since 1996, UA’s students have received over 160 grants, awards, and fellowships for individual research, including a number of Fulbright and Fulbright-Hays fellowships and UA currently has 30 ranked faculty members.

#56) Tulane University

Tulane’s Department of History puts it most aptly, “The city of New Orleans, where Tulane is located, offers varied research opportunities. With its unique French, African, and Spanish heritage and its successive waves of immigrants, New Orleans has been and remains a city with a remarkably rich and multilayered past. Records of this past–scattered throughout the city–are a constant reminder of the complexity of the human condition even to those whose research interests lie elsewhere.” Some additional information about Tulane includes: admittance into their graduate program requires a 20-30 page writing sample, admittance is extremely selective (Tulane admits between 4-8 students annually), all graduate students are required to be full-time, and students may only be admitted in the fall.

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Top 5 Graduate Programs: Geology

The Grand Canyon is a geologic testament to the wonders of nature.

In an effort to not let my liberal arts bias permeate my every post, this week we will examine the top five programs in a truly scientific field of study: geology.

Geology, derived from the Greek gê, which means Earth, and logos, which means study, is the (surprise!) study of the Earth; specifically, it is the study of the rocks which make up the Earth and the process by which they evolve. People considering a graduate program for this titillatingly tectonic subject should also consider that according to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) the average annual salary of geologists has seen a 15% increase over the last 3 years. In fact, today’s average starting salary for a M.S. Geology graduate (0-2 years experience) is $99,000.

Salary aside, another important factor for students considering a graduate degree in geology is the current employment climate; like the rocks they study, a geologist’s job prospects are solid. According to the United States Department of Labor, the employment rate of geoscientists is projected to increase 21% from the year 2010 to 2020. There are a number of reasons for this, the main one being that the number of students expected to pursue a degree in geology is expected to remain constant while the demand for such experts is expected to increase.

“Granite”-d that’s all you might want to know about a potential future in geology, but of-“quartz” some of you will know Geology Rocks! and let me tell you the top 5 geology graduate programs in the country (according to US News).

#1) University of Arizona

#1) University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

#3) Pennsylvania State University – University Park

#3) University of Texas – Austin

#5) Stanford University


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Top 5 Graduate MFA Acting Programs

Shakespeare’s fool frequently grounded more complex and dramatic scenes with humor, often providing a reinterpretation of events that allowed audience members to better grasp the ideas and emotions at play.

So,  you have chosen acting not just as a hobby, but as a career choice. You defied your parents expectations, went to college, and majored in the love of your life, theatre. Then four long years later, after numerous voice, movement, and acting styles classes, your alma mater sent you away with high hopes and dreams. Then, six months out on your own, with less money in your pocket than a family of five with food stamps, you find yourself asking… what now?

Well, if you are a little reticent about making the big leap to New York or LA, you may consider auditioning and staying in the world of academia just a wee bit longer. Graduate MFA Acting programs can allow you to specialize in a type of theatrical expression (e.g. Shakespeare or Mime/Clown/Mask work) or to merely spend time honing your craft. The next step is to select a MFA program that fits your needs. What are the top 5 nationally ranked programs, you ask?

The American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco, CA

One of the best known programs, ACT is a highly competitive 3 year intensive MFA. They only select 8-12 actors each year, who will work as an ensemble in class and in performance. They strive to cultivate “transformative actors”, who can give breath to a wide variety of dramatic literature. ACT also helps MFA students supplement the cost of education with paid acting and teaching opportunities.  ACT melds classic and contemporary dramatic literature and allows the interplay between the students and the professional acting company.

The Actor’s Studio at Pace University in New York, NY

With such notable alumni as Bradley Cooper, Sally Field, and Paul Newman, and supervised by the Actor’s Studio (originally created by Eli Kazan), The Actor’s Studio Drama School totes that it offers “…the authenticity, continuity and authority of the Stanislavski System and the Method.” The Actor’s Studio Drama School offers three years, lovingly named after Stanislavski’s three books, An Actor Prepares, Building a Character, and Creating a Role. During the third year, the actors will apply the intensive training to a full-fledged repertory season. This is the only MFA officially sanctioned by the Actor’s Studio.

Florida State University in Sarasota, FL

This college may not have been on your radar. Why go here? How about a full-tuition waiver and an assistantship to help with living expenses? Eligibility to join Actor’s Equity? The third year as a full time member of Asolo Theatre and performing in repertory? This program selects 8-12 students a year, and offers many reasons to consider a little drive down to Florida.

CALARTS (California Institute of Arts) in Valencia, CA

This three-year MFA Acting Program is designed for advanced student actors who are adventuresome, imaginative, and highly motivated. The admissions process is very competitive. The program’s curriculum focuses on all facets of each actor’s art and technique. It also strives to question commonly held assumptions about theater while exploring new possibilities. During the first year of the MFA program, students take courses in speech, voice and movement, and clarify and refine acting techniques and personal aesthetics. In the second year, the emphasis is on classical texts, Shakespeare and other style work, while the third and final year is devoted to performance. Additional coursework can include seminars in play analysis, history of the avant-garde, contemporary drama and other topics.

Tisch School of the Arts in New York, NY

The arc of production at the Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program is organized over three years in a variety of projects and productions that build and evolve your ability to master different texts, different experiences, and different collaborators on an evolutionary route towards entering the professional arena as an actor prepared–and open to–any eventuality and experience. Faculty members support these productions with their involvement in your progress at rehearsals; they will both work with you directly on these productions and/or support the professionals who come to work at Grad Acting. This school allows you to engage with New York City and strives to mold actors to be able to do theater, film, or emerging theatrical media.

These are just a smidgen of the information contained at the websites for these schools. Most MFA programs cultivate an ensemble relationship with your fellow students, and my best advice would be to go in person to the campus. See which program speaks to you artistically, stylistically, and financially. Once you find the one that fits, you will know.

By Curtis Barber

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Sometimes it is Greek: Polysemous

Many people would argue abstract art is polysemous because it is open to multiple interpretations.

Each week, “It’s not GREek!” will discuss a new word likely to appear on the GRE.  We aim not only to give you a new word to memorize, but also to provide you with some background and etymological history to help you remember it.  At the end of the post, we will also give you a sentence with a few other new words to add to your flash cards.  By following this weekly series, you should be more prepared than ever to tackle the sentence completion, sentence equivalencies, and reading comprehension questions on test day.

This Week’s Word: Polysemous

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the variances of language or the myriad potential interpretations of a single word or sentence? Has a precise definition or explanation eluded you because of an intentionally opaque phrase or passage? Polysemous is an excellent descriptor when confronted with vague or abstract material.

Polysemous is the characterization of something as having many possible meanings; its etymological origins come from the Greek roots poly-, which means many, and sêma, which means signs.

Linguistically, a polysemous relationship is one in which a single word or phrase can be understood to have multiple meanings. Consider this example, “In my hands rests the only antidote ever developed, and the fate of the world.” In this example, the verb ‘rests’ refers not only to the antidote but also to the fate of the world, one resting physically and the other metaphorically, and is therefore polysemous.

More generally, polysemous may simply refer to a passage or word that is open to multiple explications; it is also a word that will surely wow any grader when used in the appropriate context. For example, when presented with a complicated or convoluted passage, one might argue the author has a polysemous relationship with his work or that the work itself is polysemous.

Sample Sentence:

Peter’s polysemous prose perplexed postmodernists with its potency.

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Economic Value of an Advanced Degree

Will going to graduate school and obtaining an advanced degree lead to a higher salary?  According to the ETS Commission on Pathways Through Graduate School and Into Careers, an advanced degree can double or triple your lifetime earnings.

Here are the expected lifetime earnings for each degree calculated by the commission:

Degree Lifetime Earnings
no high school diploma $973,000
high school diploma $1.3 million
bachelor’s degree $2.3 million
master’s degree $2.7 million
doctoral degree $3.3 million

Continue reading “Economic Value of an Advanced Degree” »

My Path to the GRE and Graduate School – From Astronaut to Linguistics

Isaiah Scroll

Yup, I can (sort of) read that!

Hello there! My name is Rachel, and I’ll be one of the new bloggers responsible for providing you, prospective or current graduate students that you are, with the tips, tricks, information, and stories that will help you be better prepared for what lies ahead. I’m a recent college graduate myself, and will be walking you through the process I’ll be going through to apply for the graduate program in linguistics I’m interested in. Continue reading “My Path to the GRE and Graduate School – From Astronaut to Linguistics” »

The Myth of Grad School? What To Think About Before Applying

Seems the servers needed a little nap.

Sorry about the downtime yesterday, folks! The server crashed, and the whole site was down for the entire day while they were restoring from backups. All in all, it could have been a lot worse (this is why you backup your stuff, people!).

So here’s an interesting article I found today that presents an interesting perspective on why one might not want to go to grad school. I don’t want to discourage anyone from going to grad school, but the decision to pursue a graduate degree is not one to be taken lightly!

Continue reading “The Myth of Grad School? What To Think About Before Applying” »