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Masters in History...What can I do?

TheNomadicCircleTheNomadicCircle Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
edited May 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm thinking of the future here so anyone in the same position can feel free to answer.

I'm an undergrad in Middle Eastern and Ancient Near East History B.A and the future plan is to become a PhD in the same field. Of course, knowing that going all the way to the PhD is some what expensive and most courses go on till the PhD, if I found a course which gives a MA in History, what exactly are the job options? Would I be able to teach in a university or college? Or if there are no courses that only gives PhD and MA combined, can I teach while doing it?

Thank you for all your help!

TheNomadicCircle on

Posts

  • Pure DinPure Din Boston-areaRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    So my roommate is a History PhD, like most PhD students at my school she teaches part time and gets a monthly stipend which covers a small amount of money for health insurance, food, tuition, apartment, etc. She applied to the PhD program with just a B.A. , no masters. I have a friend working on an English PhD who is in the same situation.

    I'm a PhD student in Computer Science, so I don't know if my experience is the same as the humanities. But I've always been told that if your goal is a PhD, and you're paying to go to grad school, you're doing it wrong. You might not be able to save money, but you shouldn't be racking up six figures in debt.

    Pure Din on
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Pure Din wrote: »
    So my roommate is a History PhD, like most PhD students at my school she teaches part time and gets a monthly stipend which covers a small amount of money for health insurance, food, tuition, apartment, etc. She applied to the PhD program with just a B.A. , no masters. I have a friend working on an English PhD who is in the same situation.

    I'm a PhD student in Computer Science, so I don't know if my experience is the same as the humanities. But I've always been told that if your goal is a PhD, and you're paying to go to grad school, you're doing it wrong. You might not be able to save money, but you shouldn't be racking up six figures in debt.

    I'm on my way to a PhD in Philosophy, and unless History is some bizarre standout field, paying for a PhD is a silly idea. They should pay you. Granted, they won't pay you much money, but if you're taking out loans so that you can be a professor in the humanities, you're not demonstrating the kind of critical thinking skills that we want to see in the people teaching our children.

    TychoCelchuuu on
  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    You don't pay for a liberal arts masters or PhD.

    You find a university that you fit in well and get a grant or a stipend where you teach undergraduate classes in your field while finishing your own classes / dissertation / thesis.

    MegaMan001 on
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  • minirhyderminirhyder BerlinRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    In order to teach at university level, for the most part, you must have a Ph.D.
    With a B.A. and even M.A. you'll only end up teaching in secondary education institutions.

    You can usually apply to Ph.D. programs without a master's, but beware it's a huge challenge. You need a lot of research experience, so while you're still an undergrad try to work in a professor's lab, that will give you necessary research experience Ph.D. programs are looking for, and if you're coauthored in a paper that's definitely a plus.

    Also when applying to Ph.D. programs look for professors you want to work with, read their research, and contact them, though that's not always a good idea, depending on University and their personal policies.

    Good luck!

    minirhyder on
  • DoobhDoobh She/Her, Ace Pan/Bisexual 8-) What's up, bootlickers?Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    The general consensus is, if I want to grab a P.D., I should go straight for the throat after my Bachelors?

    Huh. How hard is it to get on the fast track?

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  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Dubh wrote: »
    The general consensus is, if I want to grab a P.D., I should go straight for the throat after my Bachelors?

    Huh. How hard is it to get on the fast track?

    If you can get into a funded MA program that will also work, because you can go from there to a PhD, but generally the PhD programs are the ones that are funded. You don't have to do it straight out of college; lots of people take time off.

    As for difficulty, I imagine it depends on the field but AFAIK it's pretty tough no matter what. Acceptance rates are between 5 to 10% for the Philosophy PhD programs I applied to (not sure what history looks like). Getting into grad school is the easy part, though: getting a job once you have your PhD is pretty hard in the humanities.

    For getting into grad school, research experience is pretty important, so write a thesis/try to publish something/work with professors. All of this is stuff you should definitely talk over with professors in your field, because they're professors in your field and they know what's up. If your undergraduate institution has a graduate program, definitely talk with all the grad students too.

    TychoCelchuuu on
  • minirhyderminirhyder BerlinRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Check the programs available in your university, because mine had a whole lot of combined degrees where in five years you can come out with both a bachelor's and master's degrees, and it's a pretty good deal overall. And hey you get to stay in school longer, yay.

    minirhyder on
  • minirhyderminirhyder BerlinRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Dubh wrote: »
    The general consensus is, if I want to grab a P.D., I should go straight for the throat after my Bachelors?

    Huh. How hard is it to get on the fast track?

    You could, but it might be tough, especially if you hadn't worked on research in a professor's lab during undergrad years. The reason it's a good idea to go right into it after graduating is because it's easier to continue studying as your educational work ethic is still good, whereas if you take some years off, your studious practices get kinda dull and it can be tough to get back into it; you know reading all those research papers are a bitch, especially if you took time off from that world.

    minirhyder on
  • big lbig l Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Call up your favorite professor (preferably more than 1) and ask if you can schedule a meeting to talk with them about it. They will have done this, and they will be managing graduate students in the process of doing this, and they will be able answer your questions and be very helpful. You WILL NOT be able to do this without the help of professors.

    big l on
  • InvictusInvictus Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I too am a Philosophy Ph.D. student (where are you, Tycho? I'm at Ohio State), and there are a couple of things here. First, you can definitely get adjunct faculty positions with a master's. Those are basically temp jobs and they pay terribly, but you can do it, in at least the humanities.

    In agreement with the rest of the thread, you absolutely need funding (meaning they pay you) in order to pursue a Ph.D. Admitting unfunded Ph.D. students in the current environment is...awful, akin to making a young songwriter or musician pay to play gigs on the off chance that a talent scout turns them into the next big thing.

    That brings me to my last point: be very, very careful that you really really want to do this before you go to grad school. Postsecondary education, particularly in the U.S., is in a time of serious upheaval right now. There are far fewer good jobs than there used to be, and more new Ph.D.s looking for them because all the universities are using grad students to teach the classes that tenured professors used to teach, and in the humanities it will probably take you five years of living on near poverty-line income just so you can not get a job.

    I am happy to be an academic and satisfied with the decisions I've made, but the job market is many times worse for new Ph.D.s than it is for college graduates with humanities degrees. You are overqualified for all of the 'easy' jobs to get and therefore won't get them for fear that you'll leave for something else, and very soon, the jobs you have trained for are not going to exist in the ways they have for the last hundred years.

    You will need assistance from professors to get in to grad school, you'll need recommendation letters. But I know more than one faculty member who simply refuse to write undergrad recommendations on the paternalistic basis that the practical drawbacks outweigh whatever benefit the student might get. And those professors might be right.

    I just want to give you the full picture of what higher education looks like right now. If you are going in for any other reason that you love the environment and you want to stay in school forever, then /do not go to grad school./

    EDIT: all of this, of course, is just for the humanities. I don't know how it is for other disciplines.

    Invictus on
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  • InvictusInvictus Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Great. I wish you the best.

    Invictus on
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  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Most of my professors have told me its a pretty bad idea about getting your M.A and PhD from the same institution so, i'll have to search for a place where I want to go which has what I want.
    Edit: I seriously want to be a professor and my mind is made up, I've worked as an IT person and hated a cubical job and didn't see myself doing it forever. History was my first love and seeing how I going against doing what you were meant to in search of money is not the way forward. I realize its going to be pretty damn tough but I'm up for it.

    I wonder about this myself. I've actually heard something similar--namely, getting your BA and your MA from the same institution is a "bad" idea, but I'm basically suspecting that this is partly because the institutions in question have a number of reasons to try and push people through the feeder in as large numbers as possible.

    I just finished my first year of a history MA at the same school I got the BA in (I was one of perhaps two incoming students who got the BA in the same place). Despite the implications, I haven't actually had any problems (on the contrary, being better acquainted with the department can be a really big advantage), but then again, I haven't started applying for a PhD program either (and I'm not certain that I will, to be honest).

    Synthesis on
  • Pure DinPure Din Boston-areaRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Most of my professors have told me its a pretty bad idea about getting your M.A and PhD from the same institution so, i'll have to search for a place where I want to go which has what I want.

    Eh, I can kind of see the point of that (more schools means more people you've worked/networked with). But doing your masters and PhD at the same time has the advantage of it usually takes a shorter time to do. Also masters students are less likely to get funded, or to be considered for better research opportunities (I assume you might want to travel abroad at some point during your studies, given your field).

    I do advise against doing your bachelors and PhD at the same school however.

    Pure Din on
  • lessthanpilessthanpi MNRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Pure Din wrote: »
    Most of my professors have told me its a pretty bad idea about getting your M.A and PhD from the same institution so, i'll have to search for a place where I want to go which has what I want.

    Eh, I can kind of see the point of that (more schools means more people you've worked/networked with). But doing your masters and PhD at the same time has the advantage of it usually takes a shorter time to do. Also masters students are less likely to get funded, or to be considered for better research opportunities (I assume you might want to travel abroad at some point during your studies, given your field).

    I do advise against doing your bachelors and PhD at the same school however.

    This whole "get your master's and phd at different places" is dying out in Hard Science and the like. Most schools simply don't even have a MA/MS program anymore. I've got 2 masters' degrees (Economics, and Math) and I got both of them by applying to PhD programs and being admitted as a PhD students. You pick up your Master's along the way after you have enough credits and pass a few high pressure exams. Most everyone I know with a Master's degree went this route.

    Beyond that, in a lot of fields, if you get your Master's at one school and try to get a PhD at another they'll assume you've been tainted by your previous experiences and make you start all over again so they can teach you to do things their way. You don't want to spend 2 or 3 years getting a Master's only to move on and have to repeat most of the classes and material you just spent a sizable chunk of time on.

    Apply to PhD programs. Quit once you get your Master's if you're sick of it.

    lessthanpi on
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I can only speak about Philosophy PhD programs, but it's the opposite for those: a fair amount of Philosophy PhD students have an MA from somewhere else, although I think the majority went straight into the PhD programs.

    TychoCelchuuu on
  • CptKemzikCptKemzik Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    While it can vary by personal circumstance obviously, I think the whole "you get your masters and phd at different institutions" thing as just a general rule is now considered bullcrap by most. If you're working at a graduate program that is worth its salt, ideally you would be doing enough networking outside of the department without having to uproot yourself and move to a completely different program to finish your education.

    Again unless circumstances suggest otherwise, if you're gunning for a phd, go for the phd program of your choice (that accepts and funds you) and stick with it for the masters and doctorate levels.

    CptKemzik on
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