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Thread: Graduate Studies in Literature

  1. #11
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Re: Graduate Studies in Literature

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    Hello all--

    I'm graduating from my undergrad with a degree in English Literature, with a concentration on general lit (as opposed to creative writing). I want to get a PhD in American Literature, and I'd like to study everything from the American Romantic period all the way up through modern and postmodern poetry and lit. My second favorite would have to be stuff from the Victorian period. I haven't taken the GRE yet, but I hope I'll do well enough to get into a good PhD program. I'm graduating with a 3.9 cumulative GPA, good recommendations, and hopefully a killer application and statement of purpose (although I currently have no idea where to begin!) I'd love love love to get into the University of Michigan Ann Arbor because it's pretty close to home and they have a good program, but I've heard it's pretty competitive--does anybody know anything about this?

    I'm currently studying like crazy for the GRE so I can get it over with and start studying for the GRE Subject Test, an experience which I've heard is something like being hit with a car?? I'm pretty good at math, so hopefully I'll be able to have strong scores in both the verbal and quant sections. However, I do recognize the potential of these tests to be very humbling..... But thank God for the Internet! I feel like I'm in good company here, since I don't really know anyone else going through this experience. I wish us all the best of luck!

    SaraMari

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    every thing is good
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  3. #13
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    GRE Lit Test--Plans

    I think I'm unique--I'm hoping to get a second bachelor's in English (my first one was in Business, years ago). While that's a very handy major (useful, practical, yada, yada, yada) plus I did well in the courses and have used what I learned a lot...it doesn't see you through life like literature.

    When the tough stuff comes along (hopefully MUCH later in life, for most of you guys) you're going to find your old Norton a lot more useful than the latest copy of Fortune magazine with some grinning CEO idiot on the cover. Trust me on this one, but (if you'll pardon the expression from an old business major) you can take that to the bank.

    Anyway, that's the "why" - here's the "how": My alma mater will grant 30 undergrad English credits IF you get in the 80% or above on the GRE Lit Subject Test. I started with Cracking the GRE Lit in English test by Doug McMillan, and the book basically talked me into attempting the test at all. I'm planning to get the new "Cracking" in September when it's published.

    I also bought second-hand copies of the 6-volume Norton English Lit series specifically because I have to travel, and anyone would balk at lugging six pounds of Norton to zone out in the Airport Holiday Inn. Even when you're home, the physical size of these guys (also the type's a little easier on the eyes) encourages you to keep going because they don't look SO BIG.

    From the library, I am using Masterplots to avoid feeling overwhelmed (biggest hazard, I think). I borrowed a big American Norton from there and am working on it, but of course I have to keep renewing it. Annoying but not fatal.

    I am planning for the test that presumably will occur next December, or if I fall behind for some reason, April. But so far (month and a half) I'm surprised at how much progress I've made.

  4. #14
    Trying to make mom and pop proud phinlit's Avatar
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    GRE Lit Test--Plans-not so unique

    pkkim, not sure about the reasons, but I think there are a number of us out there with the plan to score undergrad credits based on GRE subject test performance.

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    I klnow my alma mater, Excelsior in New York, grants undergrad credit for the GRE Subject Tests, so Charter Oak and Thomas Edison probably do, too.

    So...who else? Enquiring minds want to know!

  6. #16
    Trying to make mom and pop proud phinlit's Avatar
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    I'm a returning Excelsior student. Was enrolled in Regents College waaay.... back. BTW...I don't think Thomas Edison awards credit on GRE subject exams. Charter Oaks does.

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    Did you graduate from Regents/USNY before it was named "Excelsior," by any chance?

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    Trying to make mom and pop proud phinlit's Avatar
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    Nope. I was enrolled for a few years while taking a few courses. The credit bank at Regents College was very helpful in a few early job positions and I was able to complete my third year of college, but....no degree yet.

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    PhD in Literature questions

    Hello everyone,

    I am an English Undergrad, going into my senior year this fall. I am preparing for the GRE and starting to look at GRE subject test for literature. I am researching PhD programs at schools such as Columbia and Yale. Yet, I was wondering whether any of you know what the chances are to get into a PhD program directly after your undergrad? Do most people obtain their Master's first?

    Also, have any of you taken the English subject test? I am interested in hearing more about the test and what works it covers.

    Thanks

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    Hi! I think most Americans don't get an MA first. Foreigners, on the other hand, usually have an MA in order to make themselves more competitive. (as it is, adcoms compare foreigners to each other, and Americans to other Americans, because the backgrounds are usually very different.)

    As far as the Subject Test is concerned, I have decided not to take it, since I'm applying for Comparative Literature programs, and most don't require it. I have checked out the test, however, and I think your background will help you a lot. For me, the test seemed nearly impossible and would've taken a lot of time to prepare, since i have a background in languages and American Studies and I've only taken 7 literature courses, most of which were graduate course on specific topics. For the Subject Test, you'll need to know a lot of basics, not many details. You need to know the basic plots and characters of a wide variety of books (mostly classics), and you need to have some experience with the main poets as well. So, if you have an undergrad degree in Eng Lit, you will probably have done most of this in your courses, so you can take out your notes from previous courses and review them as a preparation for the Test. For standardized testing material, you can search this section of the forum, since we've been posting a lot of information about that here. GOOD LUCK!!!

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