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Old April 19th, 2015, 03:43 PM   #1
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Can I have a job in academia with online degree?


Hello

I was planning in applying for online undergraduate program in history in LSE. I already have a degree in engineering (with low gpa)but my true passion was always in humanities fields. I already know it is difficult to get a job in academia but I know two languages and I am wiiling to go to anywhere in the world to work in academia. So my question is will a distance learning undergraduate degree hurts my chances in get acceptance in a decent graduate program and having a career in academia?
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Old April 19th, 2015, 04:01 PM   #2

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It would be an impressive feat. Humanities people are looking for jobs all the time.

Good luck to you.
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Old April 19th, 2015, 04:09 PM   #3

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Originally Posted by Walker888 View Post
... will a distance learning undergraduate degree hurts my chances in get acceptance in a decent graduate program and having a career in academia?
Welcome to the forum!

Speaking from a UK perspective, I would think that your greatest obstacle would be getting the funding for a graduate degree. A degree is a degree and, with funding, you shouldn't have too much difficulty getting onto a graduate program as universities are always looking for people to take their graduate courses. The real competition is for postgraduate funding. If you get the funding, a career in academia is gained from that point onwards depending on the work you do and the contacts you make.
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Old April 19th, 2015, 04:20 PM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker888 View Post
Hello

I was planning in applying for online undergraduate program in history in LSE. I already have a degree in engineering (with low gpa)but my true passion was always in humanities fields. I already know it is difficult to get a job in academia but I know two languages and I am wiiling to go to anywhere in the world to work in academia. So my question is will a distance learning undergraduate degree hurts my chances in get acceptance in a decent graduate program and having a career in academia?
As far as I know you will need a minimum 3.0 GPA to apply to Graduate school. I don't think any online courses unless taken through an accredited 4 year university will count toward your official GPA.

Last edited by Bishop; April 19th, 2015 at 04:23 PM.
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Old April 19th, 2015, 04:50 PM   #5
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Thanks for the informative feedback.

Yes i am planning to take a full online degree( the one offered by university of london international program). For the fund my plan is To work while I am studying for the undergraduate and then taking student loan(fortunately I don't have any student loan debt now). I know it will be tough to land a job in academia and I know my odds but I really want to pursue my passion. My concern for now is undergraduate online degree would be an obstacle in having a decent job on universities/research institutions?

Any thoughts, suggestions are really appreciated.
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Old April 20th, 2015, 05:09 AM   #6
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The place of your undergraduate degree isn't going to be a problem.

As a general rule, professional academics have also carried out postgraduate study, often to Doctoral level. They combine teaching/supervision with their own research. So, if you get a good undergraduate degree, you will have a better chance of getting on to a Masters course somewhere. You can then upgrade your Masters to a PhD. Some postgrads reduce their fee burden by teaching undergrads and this might be a good way of getting in to academia.
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Old April 20th, 2015, 08:52 AM   #7
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If you want to get a job as you described above, make sure that you study a foreign language. It'll come in handy for any people with a humanities-related background.
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Old April 20th, 2015, 09:05 AM   #8
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I know several Americans who have gotten into graduate programmes in Oxford and Cambridge with mediocre undergraduate degrees, if all else fails everyone seems to at least be able to get into Durham. But they know international students are going to have to pay the full tuition and there's really no getting out of it, there's very little possibility of help or reduction in cost by the University or the State; so their providing a service at what they regard as a fair cost, that you might not have the best qualifications doesn't really matter since you're paying your way. However, if you're British, I'm not sure if this logic will hold, even if you intend to pay the full tuition I don't know if there are programmes that might allow you to get out of it, making them more wary of accepting you without a particular good undergraduate degree; but already having a degree from a traditional university in Engineering (assuming you had decent grades) would probably help a bit.

As others have mentioned here, once you get your doctorate, nobody really cares what your undergraduate was in. It really just comes down to whether or not you can get into the graduate programme you want/need.
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Old April 28th, 2015, 04:13 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker888 View Post
Thanks for the informative feedback.

Yes i am planning to take a full online degree( the one offered by university of london international program). For the fund my plan is To work while I am studying for the undergraduate and then taking student loan(fortunately I don't have any student loan debt now). I know it will be tough to land a job in academia and I know my odds but I really want to pursue my passion. My concern for now is undergraduate online degree would be an obstacle in having a decent job on universities/research institutions?

Any thoughts, suggestions are really appreciated.
I really don't think an LSE online degree is going to hurt your chances in the long run. There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to go on into academia, however. First, study languages. Study the languages related to your field of interest, and then pick up a couple of European languages at least at a reading level. Having easy access to French or German scholarship when you get to grad school will make your life so much easier (and set you above most of your colleagues). Second, keep in mind where you want to go (in terms of fields/themes/topics) but don't limit yourself. Keep a mental list of scholars whose work really interests you, and in a couple of years time start looking them up to see if they're alive/employed/taking students. These are the sorts of things that will help you get into a graduate school. I would suggest that you do not consider distance/online learning options for that, since who you know counts for as much as the work you do and you'll never make the connections at home in front of a computer. This is also one of the real advantages to Oxbridge/London/the Ivies: there is always a pile of foreign scholars and presenters passing through them so they're ideal for networking (and tend to have pretty good libraries).

And really, really try to avoid paying for grad school. These decisions aren't always nice. I would very much like to join my girlfriend in Cambridge next year, but they didn't offer me any money. As a non-European national, I'm looking at 30,000 quid a year, so instead I'm taking a generously funded offer from an American institution. So keep in mind the personal aspect of this, too.

And finally, job placement in the humanities is awful. Be prepared for under-employment or unemployment. Although it's a bit more US focused, do read some of the regular horror stories on the Chronicle of Higher Education so that you know what you're getting in to.

Since I see that you're from Canada too, shoot me a PM if there's anything more I can help you with.

Last edited by Kirialax; April 28th, 2015 at 04:15 AM.
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