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Jun. 30th, 2008 @ 01:59 pm Phd abroad
Hello all-

I'm just finished my first year of a masters in musicology, and I'm trying to think of where I should go for my Phd. For the most part, I've decided to wait a year or two before pursuing for my Phd (I'm sure most people can relate as to why I'd want to do that!) I want to pursue it abroad, in either France or Germany. I have a BA in German, which would work well for Germany, and I'm currently taking private lessons in French.

Before asking about any specific programs, as I already have a few ideas for that, could I have some feedback about this decision?

In my undergrad (U of Texas at Austin) every was pushing me to go abroad for grad studies. I decided to hold off on that for financial reasons and pursue my masters at Texas State University. At my grad school, I have a German adviser who is completely against it and gets all parental and over-protective on me when I bring it up (and never gives me a reason - he avoids talking about it (!!))

I understand it's a big decision and that will effect me the rest of my life, but I'm really willing to take that risk, especially given the state of my country at this time.

Any help/advice would be much appreciated.
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colonelperry42n:
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From:keg41
Date:June 30th, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC)
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I would first consider where you want to have your career as a musicologist. It is harder to stay in touch with AMS meetings and the general tenor of the discipline if you are in a different hemisphere. I once briefly toyed with the idea of getting my MA or PhD in Europe, but the nay-sayers eventually won with precisely the same argument.

Also, rumor has it that the German government and higher ed has by and large stopped supporting Historical Musicology as a discipline. Positions are being cut. It's ugly. I was on a faculty search committee this last year and the sheer number of German musicologists looking to break into North American universities was staggering.
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From:colonelperry42n
Date:July 1st, 2008 04:01 am (UTC)
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wow, I had no idea about the rumor about Germany. I'm attending a conference in Oldenburg later this year, I'll have to ask around. It sounds weird because my undergraduate adviser was from Berlin, and she was encouraging me to get a graduate degree in Germany! Do you know if the same is true for Austria?

Also, there are other organizations like AMS (like IMS-International Musicological Society), no? I wouldn't have to necessarily stay in complete contact with AMS, right?
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From:raesstienway
Date:June 30th, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC)
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I agree with keg41 in the sense that you really have to think about where you want to be employed. With a degree from Canada, England, or the US you could work in any of those countries and others in Europe, South America, or various other locales based on your language abilities. If you matriculate at a European university the US schools may or may not hire you and you may not get hired in Europe because you are a US citizen. Now, if you matriculate here and do 1-2 years of research/study abroad then American universities will find you an attractive candidate and you could still probably teach at other European schools, or at least be a good competitor for fellowships and post docs - its all about what you want to do really - I advise if you want the best of both worlds look for a school that is really well respected in England or Canada - then you have a touch of European respect and you can still get hired in the US - just my throughts
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From:colonelperry42n
Date:July 1st, 2008 03:56 am (UTC)
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thank you, your advice was really thoughtful and reasonable.
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From:nightingale0
Date:July 1st, 2008 01:58 am (UTC)
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Hard to advise without knowing more about what you want to study. I wouldn't go abroad just for the sake of being somewhere different, but if there is a school whose program suits you aims, or a professor that you really want to work with, go for it. Why are you considering Franc and Germany?

In my case, I stayed at the same school after finishing my BA (a situation that has its good and bad points), but if I could afford to study full time & travel, I would be in England - I've only done one course so far, and most of the work I find really interesting has been published by people there.
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From:colonelperry42n
Date:July 1st, 2008 03:55 am (UTC)
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My thesis is on music of East Germany, and France attracts me because of the contemporary music establishments there (IRCAM, CDMC - it might sound random, but they still attract me!) and the atmosphere there. I have a contact with a professor in Tours, and she really knows the system through and through and from what I understand, although it would be hard (as any Phd would be!), it's feasible.

Environment plays an important part for me. During undergrad, I had to go to school while going through cancer treatment, which really sucked, being in America with the system they have here. Being a poor student, I qualified for government insurance, which was good for what it offered, but France would has the second best health care system in the world. It sounds like a weird reason, but if I'm thinking of a place where I might want to settle down, I would never want to raise a family in the US where my family would have to deal with the same type of stuff I did. I might be jaded, but I always seem to be able to handle the gut-decisions I make.
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From:nightingale0
Date:July 2nd, 2008 01:09 am (UTC)
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I agree about the US medical system - I'm very glad to have raised my child in Canada, which while not the best, is certainly better than what you have.

With your interests, it does sound like you need to be in Europe. Go for it & good luck!!
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From:colonelperry42n
Date:July 2nd, 2008 02:54 am (UTC)
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Yes, the health care system can be scary at times!

Just to be clear, I have visited Canada (Montreal) and loved it, but I fear the Canadian dollar wouldn't do it for my American debt!

Thanks for your support!
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From:allegro1020
Date:July 1st, 2008 03:36 am (UTC)
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One of my German professors earned his PhD in Germany, and when he moved back to the US, his degree wasn't recognized by American universities. He had to do it all over. I am not sure if it is the same way with musicology (he did linguistics), but please be VERY careful about this type of decision!
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From:colonelperry42n
Date:July 1st, 2008 03:41 am (UTC)
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yes, I promise I'll be careful! Do you know if he was a professor in Germany? I think if he gained recognition as a suitable professor in Germany before he came back to the States, he could have secured a job somewhere over here.
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From:ephraim_oakes
Date:July 1st, 2008 08:51 am (UTC)
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i was pretty strongly advised against doing my PhD in Canada because it would make it harder to get jobs back in the states. (i was doing my applications right after the last presidential election and it seemed like a real good idea to have an escape route at the time) i can only imagine this is even more of a concern when you're father afield. but, it's worth considering the job markets in the other parts of the world. as poor as the US job market for musicologists seems, the Canadian one is worse; but maybe France is in dire need of more musicologists?
It's good you're doing a terminal masters here though; because the whole combined MA-PhD program thing really doesn't exist too much outside of the US.
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From:colonelperry42n
Date:July 1st, 2008 12:10 pm (UTC)
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yeah, I wasn't too keen on Canada at any rate.

I think that as a whole, Europe fund the arts more the US could ever hope to. I could be mistaken, but I studied abroad twice in undergrad (Vienna and Florence) and was encouraged to come back!

thanks for the positive feedback, I'll keep everything in consideration as I make my decision.
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From:nightingale0
Date:July 2nd, 2008 01:11 am (UTC)
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yeah, I wasn't too keen on Canada at any rate.


Right. Usually I'm pretty nationalistic, but given your interests, Canada would not be the best place for you.
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