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5 Comments Already

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neniaf Said,
April 10th, 2011 @10:43 am  

Since your undergrad degree is from a strong school, you would be fine with an MA from just about any acceptable school. If it weren’t, I would advise you to get your master’s from the best school possible, because you would need to prove to the Ph.D. institution that you could handle the work at a good school.

My only concern here is that you seem to be equating cost with reputation. Frankly, TSU probably has a broader reputation than does Belmont, even if Belmont is more expensive.

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Sophia Said,
April 10th, 2011 @11:14 am  

Normally it wouldn’t really matter but since the economy has gone bad so many people are now applying for graduate degrees that they have many more applicants than ever before and they take so many things into consideration. All other things being equal, GPA, GRE scores and resumes, coming from a better school would give you a more competitive edge. I’m not sure where Belmont is on the hierarchy of private schools and grad programs for your discipline, I’ve actually never even heard of it but I am from the northeast.

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Tangent Said,
April 10th, 2011 @12:12 pm  

The school you went to always matters for PhD admissions. All the professors I have spoken to who are on admissions committees say you have much better shot if you come from a well known school, simply because the difficulty of course work is known at better schools. If they are debating between to equal students but one comes from a top school, they are likely to to the student from the better school because they have a better idea of how well he or she has been prepared. Doesn’t mean you can’t get in from an unkown school (I certainly did), but it is more difficult.

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ooooo Said,
April 10th, 2011 @12:53 pm  

Somewhat important. Not as important as having good stats and showing your preparedness to do research (SOP, writing sample, CV). Is there a reason you are stuck in Nashville? If not, could you go to a better state school (University of Tennessee)? That could make a difference.

But here’s another question for you: why don’t you just apply to PhD programs, which would be free anyway (in fact, they pay you to teach) at most good programs? You don’t need to have a masters first, and most PhD programs have a provision in place where you can leave early with a masters if you decide not to finish. The only real benefit to doing a terminal MA separately is if your application isn’t strong enough yet to get into a good PhD program or if you’re sure you don’t want the PhD right now. You could, of course, apply to the local MA programs as a backup in case you don’t get into the PhD programs the first time. But frankly, an MA in English isn’t going to give you huge advantages in getting a non-academic job, so I don’t know why you would want to pay for one if you don’t have to.

Of course, reputation of your PhD program can make all the difference in the world.

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Chuckles Said,
April 10th, 2011 @1:49 pm  

MY daughter went to a third tier undergrad school and a 2nd tier graduate school. However, she was still able to get a top, and I mean top ties fellowship and offers from several top tier school for a fully funded PhD. She starts in September.

What matters more is what you personally bring to the table to the doctoral school. ANd whether the research you propose to do will be worthy of research funding.

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