Divisions & Units - Arts & Humanities

Finding the Best Program Match

Identifying the best programs for you to apply to is a formidable task. You should start as soon as you begin to think about graduate school. By learning about graduate programs, you will have a sense of the nature of individual programs (for example, small or large, reputation, specialties, graduation rates). Similarly, if you are familiar with the requirements of a program, you can also align your current coursework to strengthen your preparation for graduate school. Please consider the following activities:

Academic Preparation

As you consider graduate school programs, note the requirements and the backgrounds of competitive students. Keeping this information in mind, review your courses and experiences. Please consider the following as your evaluate your academic preparation:

The Versatile PhD

"The Versatile PhD" is a resource for Berkeley’s graduate students and Ph.D. holders, giving our community of students and alumni valuable guidance about career options beyond academia. While the focus is on careers for those in the humanities and social sciences, graduate students in all disciplines can benefit.

Private/Government Sector Resources

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a private, nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics, and social welfare. The institute sponsors research and conferences and publishes books, monographs, and periodicals. 

Professional Memberships

Join an Organization

Graduate students are encouraged to join professional organizations early in their graduate career.

For example, the Modern Language Association (MLA) offers a discounted membership price for graduate students. Job interviews are often conducted at their annual meetings.

Many other organizations offer similar benefits and opportunities to network and advance your career. Speak to your faculty adviser about professional associations you may wish to join.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are another important component of your application materials. They provide a professional opinion of your intellectual abilities and preparation for graduate school, and are usually written by a professor who not only addresses your specific strengths, but compares you to the many students with whom the professor has worked during his or her career. In other words, the admission committee wants to know how you "stack up" against all the students the recommender has ever had! In general, most programs/universities require three letters of support.

Application Etiquette

As you move through your undergraduate years and into graduate school, you will have increasing contact with graduate students and faculty in your discipline. Knowing how to interact with them can be helpful as you begin to negotiate a larger sphere with future colleagues and mentors. Building strong relationships begins with your initial interactions with busy faculty members and graduate students. As you begin to apply to graduate school, please keep the following suggestions in mind: