Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

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homestyle28
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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby homestyle28 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:52 am

theyoungintellectual wrote:The schools that I listed offer terminal MA programs in Philosophy. These school do not offer scholarships for their MA programs. Since posting this, I've realized that it is not worth paying $50,000+ for an unfunded program, especially in the current economic climate and the costs of law school. In law, I really want to work in Public Interest and putting myself into debt for academic exploration/intellectual stimulation is pointless if I can study Philosophy outside of the academic setting.


Grad school is almost never funded by scholarships per se, but by fellowships and assistant-ships (teaching or researching). If you can get a solid GRE score (even just 1300+) w/ your background you're a shoe-in for funding somewhere. Of course, all you can do is apply and see, but I wouldn't write-off getting funding until you go through the application process.

Also, I think this talk about terminal vs phd programs is a little overblown. While you'd have some problem getting into a PhD program if you say "I'm leaving in 2 years" I doubt adcomms will view you was a quitter/flight risk. People around academia know that folks change their minds all the time, it doesn't mean you're a quitter, just that you changed directions and that's how most people end up in law school in the first place.

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby jms2788 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:30 pm

homestyle28 wrote:
theyoungintellectual wrote:The schools that I listed offer terminal MA programs in Philosophy. These school do not offer scholarships for their MA programs. Since posting this, I've realized that it is not worth paying $50,000+ for an unfunded program, especially in the current economic climate and the costs of law school. In law, I really want to work in Public Interest and putting myself into debt for academic exploration/intellectual stimulation is pointless if I can study Philosophy outside of the academic setting.


Grad school is almost never funded by scholarships per se, but by fellowships and assistant-ships (teaching or researching). If you can get a solid GRE score (even just 1300+) w/ your background you're a shoe-in for funding somewhere. Of course, all you can do is apply and see, but I wouldn't write-off getting funding until you go through the application process.

Also, I think this talk about terminal vs phd programs is a little overblown. While you'd have some problem getting into a PhD program if you say "I'm leaving in 2 years" I doubt adcomms will view you was a quitter/flight risk. People around academia know that folks change their minds all the time, it doesn't mean you're a quitter, just that you changed directions and that's how most people end up in law school in the first place.


I'm American, but I did an M.A in Philosophy in Canada and just to want to make a note here. In the case the OP doesn't know, GRE scores don't come into play in Canadian M.A programs. Toronto requires it for the PhD, not the M.A.

To the OP, McGill does American-style direct entry PhD, and it seems that they do not they offer a terminal M.A. anymore. See below.

http://www.mcgill.ca/philosophy/graduate/requirements

I think it's sometimes a good idea for Americans who want a terminal M.A to look to Canada. The reason I did it was that even as an international student I was funded. Schools might low-ball you on their first offer, but I managed to get about $5,000/yr more than the original offer which meant I didn't have to take out any loans. Most schools in Canada(with the exception of McGill) offer funded terminal M.As(you have to get an M.A before doing a Canadian PhD, unless you go direct to McGill). I got into some of the US schools you mentioned, but due to the cost it was out of the question. If you're looking to explore philosophy a little more and not pay, I think throwing in applications to Canadian schools is worth the cost of applying to see what you get.

For political philosophy, Toronto is good and they just have a really strong department overall. Also, Queen's University it good too (see below).

http://www.philosophicalgourmet.com/bre ... down10.asp

For general jurisprudence(I'll just mention this briefly because you seem to have some interest in legal theory even if it's not your primary interest), McMaster is strong and getting stronger. They have Wil Waluchow(H.L.A Hart's final student) and Leslie Green(a former student of Joseph Raz) as an Adjunct(he's full time at Oxford) available for M.A and PhD committees. They also have a partnership with Osgoode Hall Law School(a very good law school in Toronto) and you can work with people there and take classes there too. François Tanguay-Renaud is at Osgoode, I like his work.

http://www.philosophicalgourmet.com/bre ... down11.asp

If you want more info on Canadian M.A programs, you can PM me if you want.

Cheers!

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby JamMasterJ » Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:45 pm

jump_man wrote:
kaiser wrote:
jump_man wrote:
Just out of curiosity, how does this hurt Biglaw chances? Do Biglaw firms perceive these kinds of people as unfocused?


I've heard from some hiring people that they like to see a slate of well-rounded practical courses so that you can at least speak the most basic lingo in certain core areas. Something like "Kant & the Law" is absolutely useless, whereas something like corporations or tax will give you at least a very base level of familiarity with the concepts and terminology.


This makes sense. However, I've heard from some friends in law school that reading Kant in college was excellent preparation for the complex legal writing they later read in law school :)

More than anything, I've heard it can be perceived as a flight risk to academia

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby admisionquestion » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:11 pm

off topic: if I have a 3.9 and wanted to dual entry JD/phd phil what GRE would I need at schools in the top 6

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby jamesireland » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:18 pm

admisionquestion wrote:off topic: if I have a 3.9 and wanted to dual entry JD/phd phil what GRE would I need at schools in the top 6


Philosophy phd programs don't really care about your GRE. Some don't even require it, those that do just want your score to not be embarrassing. For phd admissions the most important factor is your writing sample (even more important than the LSAT is for law admissions), followed by grades in philosophy courses, followed by rec letters.

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby homestyle28 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:28 pm

jamesireland wrote:
admisionquestion wrote:off topic: if I have a 3.9 and wanted to dual entry JD/phd phil what GRE would I need at schools in the top 6


Philosophy phd programs don't really care about your GRE. Some don't even require it, those that do just want your score to not be embarrassing. For phd admissions the most important factor is your writing sample (even more important than the LSAT is for law admissions), followed by grades in philosophy courses, followed by rec letters.


This is the standard advice, but on the whole I've found it misleading. If you have a great, publishable writing sample (which few UG students have) and great, personal LORs from known philosophers, then your GRE fades, but lacking those things, you must have a GRE high enough to turn some heads - 1450+ or so - departments report GRE's to the university and they like to have high ones.

go poke around on the grad cafe (thegradcafe.com) you can usually find some In/Out forums from previous cycles to get a sense of things

Also, here's the bible on the admissions process (though it's aimed at PhD's) http://schwitzsplintersunderblog.blogsp ... sophy.html

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby jamesireland » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:39 pm

homestyle28 wrote:
jamesireland wrote:
admisionquestion wrote:off topic: if I have a 3.9 and wanted to dual entry JD/phd phil what GRE would I need at schools in the top 6


Philosophy phd programs don't really care about your GRE. Some don't even require it, those that do just want your score to not be embarrassing. For phd admissions the most important factor is your writing sample (even more important than the LSAT is for law admissions), followed by grades in philosophy courses, followed by rec letters.


This is the standard advice, but on the whole I've found it misleading. If you have a great, publishable writing sample (which few UG students have) and great, personal LORs from known philosophers, then your GRE fades, but lacking those things, you must have a GRE high enough to turn some heads - 1450+ or so - departments report GRE's to the university and they like to have high ones.

go poke around on the grad cafe (thegradcafe.com) you can usually find some In/Out forums from previous cycles to get a sense of things

Also, here's the bible on the admissions process (though it's aimed at PhD's) http://schwitzsplintersunderblog.blogsp ... sophy.html


He says that anything above a 1200 and you're good, anything below is a mark against you, but does not prevent you from gaining admission. It's impossible to tell from gradcafe how good someone's writing sample is. A good enough writing sample will get you in, a bad enough one will keep you out. Maybe there are programs that do things differently, but most programs make decisions based largely upon the quality of a students writing sample. Everything else is usually a disqualifier.

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby homestyle28 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:44 pm

jamesireland wrote:
homestyle28 wrote:
jamesireland wrote:
admisionquestion wrote:off topic: if I have a 3.9 and wanted to dual entry JD/phd phil what GRE would I need at schools in the top 6


Philosophy phd programs don't really care about your GRE. Some don't even require it, those that do just want your score to not be embarrassing. For phd admissions the most important factor is your writing sample (even more important than the LSAT is for law admissions), followed by grades in philosophy courses, followed by rec letters.


This is the standard advice, but on the whole I've found it misleading. If you have a great, publishable writing sample (which few UG students have) and great, personal LORs from known philosophers, then your GRE fades, but lacking those things, you must have a GRE high enough to turn some heads - 1450+ or so - departments report GRE's to the university and they like to have high ones.

go poke around on the grad cafe (thegradcafe.com) you can usually find some In/Out forums from previous cycles to get a sense of things

Also, here's the bible on the admissions process (though it's aimed at PhD's) http://schwitzsplintersunderblog.blogsp ... sophy.html


He says that anything above a 1200 and you're good, anything below is a mark against you, but does not prevent you from gaining admission. It's impossible to tell from gradcafe how good someone's writing sample is. A good enough writing sample will get you in, a bad enough one will keep you out. Maybe there are programs that do things differently, but most programs make decisions based largely upon the quality of a students writing sample. Everything else is usually a disqualifier.


What he says is that at UC-riverside, the #30 school according to the gourmet, "The GRE scores for this year's entering class at UCR ranged from 1230 to a perfect 1600, with most in the 1300s and 1400s. At UCR I'd say below 1250 is a strike against an applicant, above 1400 is a bonus."

From personal experience I can assure you, go 1450+ you'll get into some programs with $$, go under 1300 and you'll really struggle.

edit: fixed for some memory fail

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby jamesireland » Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:06 pm

homestyle28 wrote:What he says is that at UC-riverside, the #30 school according to the gourmet, "The GRE scores for this year's entering class at UCR ranged from 1230 to a perfect 1600, with most in the 1300s and 1400s. At UCR I'd say below 1250 is a strike against an applicant, above 1400 is a bonus."

From personal experience I can assure you, go 1450+ you'll get into some programs with $$, go under 1300 and you'll really struggle.

edit: fixed for some memory fail


"GRE scores are less important to your application than grades, letters, writing sample, and statement of purpose. A few schools don't even require them."

A bad GRE can disqualify you. A good GRE will allow you entry, but only if everything else is great, most importantly the writing sample. 1600 with a bad writing sample is getting in nowhere with any real standards. Great writing sample with 1000 is getting into some places with real standards.

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby jms2788 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:14 pm

http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2 ... sions.html

There was a discussion of GRE scores on Leiter's blog. Some respondents had interesting views. Several people claim that it is often the case in their departments people with low GRE scores often have less-than-acceptable writing samples and letters. This makes some sense because if somebody doesn't make time to study for the GRE, perhaops they didn't put enough time into their writing sample. This isn't absolute though.

I completely bombed the Quantitative sections on the GRE and ended up with a freakin 1080 total and I don't think it hurt me admissions wise, as I was lucky enough to gain admissions to a couple schools in the top 10 on the PGR. I'm told it hurt me in unversity-wide fellowships(I didn't get one), but luckily my departmental funding is enough to live on. Would I have liked $5,000-$10,000 more? Sure, but I'm just thankful to be going to a very good program for free, even if I can't afford some things I want.
Also, I already had an M.A so that probably helped since most people who apply to US schools are coming right out of undergrad. Therefore, I was able to produce a better writing sample. Plus, the GRE is meant to predict how you'll do in a graduate programs(particularly your first year), but I was in a graduate program when I applied so my first year was already complete.
Last edited by jms2788 on Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby homestyle28 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:15 pm

jamesireland wrote:
homestyle28 wrote:What he says is that at UC-riverside, the #30 school according to the gourmet, "The GRE scores for this year's entering class at UCR ranged from 1230 to a perfect 1600, with most in the 1300s and 1400s. At UCR I'd say below 1250 is a strike against an applicant, above 1400 is a bonus."

From personal experience I can assure you, go 1450+ you'll get into some programs with $$, go under 1300 and you'll really struggle.

edit: fixed for some memory fail


"GRE scores are less important to your application than grades, letters, writing sample, and statement of purpose. A few schools don't even require them."

A bad GRE can disqualify you. A good GRE will allow you entry, but only if everything else is great, most importantly the writing sample. 1600 with a bad writing sample is getting in nowhere with any real standards. Great writing sample with 1000 is getting into some places with real standards.


That's almost certainly wrong. Two cases: I got into some solid (top 30ish) PhD programs with a 1450 and a turd of a writing sample. Had friend at my MA program with a published writing sample couldn't get into a ranked program with his 1200.

I was told by an admissions member at Notre Dame that their cutoff is 1500. While it's not as much of a #'s game as law school admissions, it's still a #'s game. the top schools get hundred of apps, and barring some crazy connection to app with a GRE of 1000 is getting reviewed. Even at the fairly substandard MA program I attended they wouldn't look at a 1000.

In my experience as someone who has actually gone through the phil grad school admissions process and seen 7 or 8 friends go through it, you really need 2 things: a letter from someone who will also make some phone calls on your behalf. Every one I know who got into a top 10 or so program got in this way and a GRE score of 1350 minimum. That's the lowest score I know of getting into a ranked program with funding.

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby jamesireland » Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:30 pm

homestyle28 wrote:
jamesireland wrote:
homestyle28 wrote:What he says is that at UC-riverside, the #30 school according to the gourmet, "The GRE scores for this year's entering class at UCR ranged from 1230 to a perfect 1600, with most in the 1300s and 1400s. At UCR I'd say below 1250 is a strike against an applicant, above 1400 is a bonus."

From personal experience I can assure you, go 1450+ you'll get into some programs with $$, go under 1300 and you'll really struggle.

edit: fixed for some memory fail


"GRE scores are less important to your application than grades, letters, writing sample, and statement of purpose. A few schools don't even require them."

A bad GRE can disqualify you. A good GRE will allow you entry, but only if everything else is great, most importantly the writing sample. 1600 with a bad writing sample is getting in nowhere with any real standards. Great writing sample with 1000 is getting into some places with real standards.


That's almost certainly wrong. Two cases: I got into some solid (top 30ish) PhD programs with a 1450 and a turd of a writing sample. Had friend at my MA program with a published writing sample couldn't get into a ranked program with his 1200.

I was told by an admissions member at Notre Dame that their cutoff is 1500. While it's not as much of a #'s game as law school admissions, it's still a #'s game. the top schools get hundred of apps, and barring some crazy connection to app with a GRE of 1000 is getting reviewed. Even at the fairly substandard MA program I attended they wouldn't look at a 1000.

In my experience as someone who has actually gone through the phil grad school admissions process and seen 7 or 8 friends go through it, you really need 2 things: a letter from someone who will also make some phone calls on your behalf. Every one I know who got into a top 10 or so program got in this way and a GRE score of 1350 minimum. That's the lowest score I know of getting into a ranked program with funding.


Perhaps you are misevaluating the writing samples. They look for potential, not necessarily for whether or not the paper is publishable as is.

Also, see the above post and read the comments. Are you saying that all of those admissions directors are lying?

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby jms2788 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:37 pm

homestyle28 wrote:
jamesireland wrote:
homestyle28 wrote:What he says is that at UC-riverside, the #30 school according to the gourmet, "The GRE scores for this year's entering class at UCR ranged from 1230 to a perfect 1600, with most in the 1300s and 1400s. At UCR I'd say below 1250 is a strike against an applicant, above 1400 is a bonus."

From personal experience I can assure you, go 1450+ you'll get into some programs with $$, go under 1300 and you'll really struggle.

edit: fixed for some memory fail


"GRE scores are less important to your application than grades, letters, writing sample, and statement of purpose. A few schools don't even require them."

A bad GRE can disqualify you. A good GRE will allow you entry, but only if everything else is great, most importantly the writing sample. 1600 with a bad writing sample is getting in nowhere with any real standards. Great writing sample with 1000 is getting into some places with real standards.


That's almost certainly wrong. Two cases: I got into some solid (top 30ish) PhD programs with a 1450 and a turd of a writing sample. Had friend at my MA program with a published writing sample couldn't get into a ranked program with his 1200.

I was told by an admissions member at Notre Dame that their cutoff is 1500. While it's not as much of a #'s game as law school admissions, it's still a #'s game. the top schools get hundred of apps, and barring some crazy connection to app with a GRE of 1000 is getting reviewed. Even at the fairly substandard MA program I attended they wouldn't look at a 1000.

In my experience as someone who has actually gone through the phil grad school admissions process and seen 7 or 8 friends go through it, you really need 2 things: a letter from someone who will also make some phone calls on your behalf. Every one I know who got into a top 10 or so program got in this way and a GRE score of 1350 minimum. That's the lowest score I know of getting into a ranked program with funding.


Notre Dame had a 1500 cut-off for admission or funding? If the latter, I may agree you, although I'm very hesitant to do so. If the former, I strongly disagree. If you look at the link I posted, Ned Hall(Harvard) states there is no GRE cut-off. Eric Schwitzgebel states there is no cut-off at UC-Riverside. Jamie Tappenden(Michigan) states the same. NYU states the same on their website.

If NYU, Michigan, and Harvard have no GRE cut-off for admissions, I doubt many do(maybe Notre Dame is an exception). I mean if these big time programs(NYU in particular) don't think the GRE is important enough to cut people off because of it, why would lesser ranked programs? It just doesn't make sense to me. Surely NYU, Michigan, and Harvard know what they're doing.

In regards to your friend, to be quite frank, that's either nonsense(he lied to you), it was published in the east bumf*ck afternoon gazette, or his artcle was called "Why Whites are The Supreme Race" . If it was published in a legitimate journal (Oxford journal of..., etc), he would have gained admission to a ranked program regardless of his 1200 unless some other part of his application was seriously screwed up. Programs aren't going to keep out people who are already doing professional philosophy because they can't memorize tricks to solve geometry problems in 90 seconds. In fact, my link provides statements from professors at top programs who either explictly or implicitly support this claim.

Edit- I just noticed that Warfield(Notre Dame) posted on the link I provided earlier and he states that ND has no GRE cut-off.

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby homestyle28 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:36 pm

jms2788 wrote:
homestyle28 wrote:
jamesireland wrote:
homestyle28 wrote:What he says is that at UC-riverside, the #30 school according to the gourmet, "The GRE scores for this year's entering class at UCR ranged from 1230 to a perfect 1600, with most in the 1300s and 1400s. At UCR I'd say below 1250 is a strike against an applicant, above 1400 is a bonus."

From personal experience I can assure you, go 1450+ you'll get into some programs with $$, go under 1300 and you'll really struggle.

edit: fixed for some memory fail


"GRE scores are less important to your application than grades, letters, writing sample, and statement of purpose. A few schools don't even require them."

A bad GRE can disqualify you. A good GRE will allow you entry, but only if everything else is great, most importantly the writing sample. 1600 with a bad writing sample is getting in nowhere with any real standards. Great writing sample with 1000 is getting into some places with real standards.


That's almost certainly wrong. Two cases: I got into some solid (top 30ish) PhD programs with a 1450 and a turd of a writing sample. Had friend at my MA program with a published writing sample couldn't get into a ranked program with his 1200.

I was told by an admissions member at Notre Dame that their cutoff is 1500. While it's not as much of a #'s game as law school admissions, it's still a #'s game. the top schools get hundred of apps, and barring some crazy connection to app with a GRE of 1000 is getting reviewed. Even at the fairly substandard MA program I attended they wouldn't look at a 1000.

In my experience as someone who has actually gone through the phil grad school admissions process and seen 7 or 8 friends go through it, you really need 2 things: a letter from someone who will also make some phone calls on your behalf. Every one I know who got into a top 10 or so program got in this way and a GRE score of 1350 minimum. That's the lowest score I know of getting into a ranked program with funding.


Notre Dame had a 1500 cut-off for admission or funding? If the latter, I may agree you, although I'm very hesitant to do so. If the former, I strongly disagree. If you look at the link I posted, Ned Hall(Harvard) states there is no GRE cut-off. Eric Schwitzgebel states there is no cut-off at UC-Riverside. Jamie Tappenden(Michigan) states the same. NYU states the same on their website.

If NYU, Michigan, and Harvard have no GRE cut-off for admissions, I doubt many do(maybe Notre Dame is an exception). I mean if these big time programs(NYU in particular) don't think the GRE is important enough to cut people off because of it, why would lesser ranked programs? It just doesn't make sense to me. Surely NYU, Michigan, and Harvard know what they're doing.

In regards to your friend, to be quite frank, that's either nonsense(he lied to you), it was published in the east bumf*ck afternoon gazette, or his artcle was called "Why Whites are The Supreme Race" . If it was published in a legitimate journal (Oxford journal of..., etc), he would have gained admission to a ranked program regardless of his 1200 unless some other part of his application was seriously screwed up. Programs aren't going to keep out people who are already doing professional philosophy because they can't memorize tricks to solve geometry problems in 90 seconds. In fact, my link provides statements from professors at top programs who either explictly or implicitly support this claim.

Edit- I just noticed that Warfield(Notre Dame) posted on the link I provided earlier and he states that ND has no GRE cut-off.


I think the no-gre cutoff thing is largely mythical...I know people say it, but once you talk to them IRL they all say there's a cut. I don't think they mean "Our policy is w/o a 1500 we won't consider you" I think the reality is "we've got 600 applications, and 50 of them have GREs over 1500, and we're looking to fill a class of 15. So w/o a 1500 you're almost certainly out of luck." The one exception to the you need a decent GRE score that I know of got into a top program because Alvin Plantiga made a call for him. I'm not saying it's universally true, I'm sure there's a counterexample somewhere. I've just not seen it. It's probably true that if the publishing had been in PPR or Nous, yeah you can get in with a 800 GRE, of course I bet there hasn't been a non PhD published in a top journal in decades so it's kind of a moot point. His publishing was in a regional journal, but the paper was presented at an APA regional conference. Before you scoff, try to do something better, that is a genuine accomplishment - it did get him into a program and got him some funding, but the program isn't ranked and he'll have some rough job prospects.

Regardless, to the OP's concern, he's at a pretty good phil school in tOSU, so he can just walk down the hall and ask someone.

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby jamesireland » Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:49 pm

Read the comment made by the person from Notre Dame. He claims that both he and the director read every single application, and that he at least starts reading every writing sample - because GRE alone does not rule one out. If nobody with a GRE below some threshold gets admitted it's only because nobody below that threshold has an otherwise good application file.

Also, if we don't count honorary degrees, Saul Kripke has published, in the last decade, in a reputable journal, without a phd.

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby jms2788 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:31 pm

If the no gre cut-off is mythical as you claim, I would like to think departments would just be honest about it so students would know what to expect. Why hide the information? Other departments admit GRE's are important(math, sciences, etc), why wouldn't philosophy departments admit it if it's the case?

I don't know, everything you say is exactly the opposite of what I've been told, and it's all anecdotal.

Show me something I can read like I provided that says the GRE is used for more than a tie-breaker and for university wide fellowships. For all I know, you could be lying and not even in philosophy. I have no idea who you are. If you have something like this, I'd like to read it, because sometimes my undergraduate students ask and I would like to have as much information as possible.

Nevertheless, I would recommend that the OP asks his professors if they know people where he's applying who he wants to work with. If the answer is yes, email the person you want to work with and see if you can send them a copy of your writing sample and letters directly. This way there's a greater possibiltly they will be read-worked for me.

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Re: Pursuing an MA in Philosophy before Law School?

Postby homestyle28 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:17 pm

jms2788 wrote:If the no gre cut-off is mythical as you claim, I would like to think departments would just be honest about it so students would know what to expect. Why hide the information? Other departments admit GRE's are important(math, sciences, etc), why wouldn't philosophy departments admit it if it's the case?

I don't know, everything you say is exactly the opposite of what I've been told, and it's all anecdotal.

Show me something I can read like I provided that says the GRE is used for more than a tie-breaker and for university wide fellowships. For all I know, you could be lying and not even in philosophy. I have no idea who you are. If you have something like this, I'd like to read it, because sometimes my undergraduate students ask and I would like to have as much information as possible.

Nevertheless, I would recommend that the OP asks his professors if they know people where he's applying who he wants to work with. If the answer is yes, email the person you want to work with and see if you can send them a copy of your writing sample and letters directly. This way there's a greater possibiltly they will be read-worked for me.


It is true that it's all anecdotal, and from a pretty small sample size in the greater scheme of things, so certainly feel free to disbelieve me, especially if you have people you trust IRL telling you different, they may know something I don't. The conversation I had with the admissions chair of the dept I got my phil B.A. (I have a convoluted academic background, long story) went something like this. In their hearts, philosophers want to believe that they can evaluate applications holistically and on the merits that philosophers value: writing (and knowing some other people to vouch for them). But the reality of the process is that all the top programs recieve hundreds of applications and you need ways to whittle that down. The most objective way to do that is the GRE, everyone takes it and it has a track record of correlating to success in grad school. So most schools have a de facto cut off, where if an app is below that #, they'll only look at it if there is a compelling reason to. The top schools receive many qualified applicants at a ratio over 20:1 applicants:spots in the program, philosophers on the whole rock the GRE, so they have great applicants with great numbers. It's true that occasionally someone with a lower GRE is admitted, but generally the numbers are very high. While philosophers tend to think of themselves as people who think outside standardized tests, when it comes to the practical part of the process, they value the data the GRE represents.

I got the impression that you're in a position of advising undergrads on the admissions process, so my best suggestion would be to reach out to a number of programs and ask the 2 questions: Do you use the GRE to pair down applications? What was the median score of your most recent class? I'd bet a nickel that those questions would solve it. I'm not actually in Philosophy anymore, I'm a 1L, finished my MA in 2009.

Now, while I could be a very elaborate troll, I'm really not...not sure how I'd prove that I'm not...ask me something about Kant's moral theory or epistemic justification or modal logic I guess.




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