Tag Archive for 'master’s'

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 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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Student Spotlight: MFA in Film Production at Boston University

As part of a new series, “It’s not GREek!” will be interviewing current graduate students about why they picked their program, their experiences in graduate school, and what they hope to do with their degree.  Today, we spoke with Joe, who just finished his first year in the MFA Film Program at the Boston University College of Communication.  It is a small (14-person) two-year program where students take courses in film production, screenwriting, acting, directing and producing, as well as electives such as editing and film studies.
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Doctorate vs. Master’s Degrees: Factors to Consider Part II

In our last post, we discussed the financial and temporal considerations that should be at the forefront of your mind when deciding whether to pursue a Ph.D or a master’s degree.  This week, we will continue this discussion with some more factors you want to consider.

Career Goals

Unlike college, graduate school is not the place to go to figure out what you want to do with your life.  Prospective graduate students should have very clear career goals in mind.  Not only will this help you write a more effective personal statement, this will also help you decide whether a doctorate or master’s degree will be more helpful to you in your field.


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Doctorate vs. Master’s Degrees: Factors to Consider Part I

If you’re visiting this site, you’ve probably already decided that some form of graduate school is the best way to further your career goals, but one critical question remains:  Should you apply for a doctorate or master’s degree program? While only you can ultimately answer that question, here are some important factors to consider while making your decision.


Fact: Graduate school is expensive.

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Should I Take a Year Off Before Grad School? What a Year Off Did For Me

You wish. Do something useful! This is for when you retire with millions.

A competitive graduate student application should ideally include a high GPA, a competitive GRE score, applied work experience, and professional presentations (e.g. publications). If you are like one of the many applicants that actually had a social life during college, you may be deficient in one or more areas! As a current grad student, I can attest that in my cohort of 10 people, only one person chose this path to grad school.

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