My Cup Runneth Over: Flexible Approaches to Funding and Finding Post-Doctoral Positions

Hans-Friedrich Mueller (Union College)

Graduate students nearing completion of their degrees in Classics have many questions to consider, and in this talk I will discuss two of the most pressing: 1) how to procure proper funding to complete the dissertation, and 2) where to look for a job as the dissertation draws to a close.  The best advice to the question of funding is to look first to your home institution.  It is your job-before-the-job to find out everything you can about what funds your department, the graduate college, and the institution at large have available to qualified ABDs.  If your department can’t support you through a teaching or research line, ask the powers that be if there are dissertation fellowships to apply for.  Secondly, make it your task to find out who at your school runs the office for finding grants and fellowship and talk to them about external funding through travel grants or similar programs that might allow you the time required to finish.

As the dissertation process draws to a close, those going on the job market have a few more options to consider than they might at first realize.  In addition to the usual academic teaching jobs, some alternatives exist that offer post-doctoral experience in the field.  I will mention a few of these, using as an example from personal experience the year-long fellowship to the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae in Munich.  What can one expect in the application process, and what can one expect from a year in Munich? 

We begin with general questions. How crucial is a close reading of Latin texts and the use of lexica to your own research? Does broader acquaintance with Latin literature in all its genres from its fragmentary beginnings to the early middle ages, including inscriptions, medical texts, legal texts, et al. mult. Appeal to you?  To apply, one must already have the Ph.D. or will have it in hand by the summer after your application.  Some questions to consider: Would an NEH grant and refereed articles in a venerable serial help your prospects for tenure? Would deep inquiries into Latin lexicography and Latin literature help you think about new directions in your own research?

What might the Latin life look like in Munich (and with limited German)? The fellowship generally runs from summer to summer. The working language of the staff at the TLL is German, but the permanent staff derive from a wide range of countries, including Britain. You are sure to find a suitable language for discussion as you work up your German. Life in Munich is very pleasant: cultural and travel opportunities abound. The staff of the TLL plan numerous outings.

By being aware of the varieties of opportunities for funding as well post-doctoral positions beyond those usually considered, a student graduating with the PhD will have the advantage of maintaining the highest degree of flexibility in shaping his or her future career.

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