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Advice for grad school?
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Posting Junkie
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Sep 14, 2007, 10:58 AM
 
So I graduated from college with a BA in Computer Science in 2004. I'm now seriously considering/planning on applying to grad school for the '08-'09 academic year. The only problem is that the field I want to go into is in no way related to anything in my academic background at all. I want to go into archaeology (ok, they're somewhat related if you're talking about GIS, but that's not really what I want to focus on). So I'm thinking I'll apply to some MA programs (we just bought a condo, so that pretty much limits me to Brandeis University, Boston University, and the University of Massachusetts Boston; Tufts also has an archaeology graduate program but only classical archaeology which isn't what I'm interested in). Once I've got my MA I'll be in a better position to decide where I want to go from there, but I'm seriously interested in MIT's HASTS program.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone here has any advice on the best way to proceed. Mostly I'm worried about the fact that my undergrad studies didn't really prepare me at all for this field of study. I'm confident that I could do the work and willing to play catchup if necessary at first, but I don't know how big of an issue that will be for admissions departments. I know we've got a few members who are/were in grad school in various fields, so hopefully someone can give me a few pointers. Maybe I should try taking some undergrad courses at one of the (many) schools around here?
     
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Sep 14, 2007, 11:02 AM
 
You're young (presumably). I'd get an MS in your field, then get a job. Work for 5-7 years making a ton of money, then "retire" into your preferred field of archeology.
     
Posting Junkie
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Sep 14, 2007, 11:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
You're young (presumably). I'd get an MS in your field, then get a job. Work for 5-7 years making a ton of money, then "retire" into your preferred field of archeology.
I've been working in my field for 3.5 years now. I'm pretty well sick of it. I'd rather make less money doing something I really enjoy.
     
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Sep 14, 2007, 11:20 AM
 
I'm curious how did you just buy a condo coming straight from college pretty much. Parent's help?

Anyways, I don't think archaeology, or even a MA/MS in that has a steep learning curve. Just read the text and go. Maybe take some related or non-related courses in your way to your Masters and se what you want to do from there.
{{{ mindwaves }}}
     
Posting Junkie
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Sep 14, 2007, 11:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
I'm curious how did you just buy a condo coming straight from college pretty much. Parent's help?
When I was a couple year old my great grandmother died. She left me about $3,000. My dad put it all in Bell South. With the Bell South / AT&T merger last year I sold it all for about $40,000. Made a nice down payment.

Anyways, I don't think archaeology, or even a MA/MS in that has a steep learning curve. Just read the text and go. Maybe take some related or non-related courses in your way to your Masters and se what you want to do from there.
Thanks. This is sorta what I was thinking, but I really have no idea how the whole grad school thing works...
     
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Sep 14, 2007, 12:37 PM
 
If I were in your position I would go and talk to some of the archaeology professors who are at the schools you are considering. Pick a handful who's work interest you. You could also talk to the dean of the school for more information on how your particular circumstance would affect admission. Sometimes schools are actually glad to get students with backgrounds different from the norm.
     
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Sep 14, 2007, 01:30 PM
 
Archaeology is a tough field to make a living in though.
     
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Sep 14, 2007, 01:33 PM
 
I think that most grad school programs are happy (read: lucky) to have you, so long as you're genuinely interested and not a total loser. Unless the field is unusually competitive (and I would be mildly surprised if archaeology is).

I'm in grad school now too, and while I didn't really change fields (neuroscience) to get here, plenty of my classmates did.

Absolutely good advice though: do some legwork before applying. Talk to profs, sit in on classes, get a hold of some text books and read them. This will help you both for interviews and to make sure it's really something you won't get tired of before another 3.5 years goes by (and give you a head start on catching up to your soon to be classmates).
     
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Sep 14, 2007, 01:38 PM
 
If you have aspirations to teach beyond community college or a public university's local branches, you should plan on getting your doctorate (or become very famous and renowned).
     
Posting Junkie
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Sep 14, 2007, 01:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
If you have aspirations to teach beyond community college or a public university's local branches, you should plan on getting your doctorate (or become very famous and renowned).
Oh I know. But getting a masters first will a) make it easier for me to get into a good doctoral program and b) give me the opportunity to make sure I want to do this before committing more than two years to it.
     
Posting Junkie
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Sep 14, 2007, 01:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
Archaeology is a tough field to make a living in though.
What do you mean? Indiana Jones seems to do pretty well.
     
Clinically Insane
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Sep 14, 2007, 01:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
What do you mean? Indiana Jones seems to do pretty well.
Are you kidding? Compare his wardrobe to a British public servant like James Bond and tell me he's making good money.
Chuck
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"Instead of either 'multi-talented' or 'multitalented' use 'bisexual'."
     
Posting Junkie
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Sep 14, 2007, 02:06 PM
 
Hmm, good point. I have a friend who works for MI5, maybe he can get me an in at MI6...
     
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Sep 14, 2007, 02:12 PM
 
Your combined MIs would go to eleven
     
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Sep 14, 2007, 08:19 PM
 
Advice? Study hard.

As for what to do about graduate school, there are a LOT of things that can work in your favor in getting into archeology. First, you are familiar enough with computers to be able to make use of GIS in whatever context you'd need it. Sure, it's boring when you really want to get into the civilizations and their relics, not mapping everything, but that's part of the investigation involved in archeology-don't knock it. Any entrée into the new field is a good one. I have a BS in computer science, and my masters will be in occupational therapy-there is NOTHING that computer science does not touch today, and thus no field you can't work your training into.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
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