The character of grad programs
I am intending to finish up my series on applying to graduate programs once I finish finals this week by discussing sample papers. However, the discussion following my last post made me think of something to look for concerning the nature of grad schools.
“Nobody” mentioned that at Chicago the Akkadian professors fly through the text and expect you to keep up. Having never studied at Chicago, I am not sure if this is a general character of their classes, but here at Hebrew Union it is the exact opposite. Drs. Weisberg and Greengus like to dwell on every jot and tittle of the text so that we might get through 10-20 lines in a 1 hr 15 min class period (sometimes it can be a little frustrating). Dr Kaufman is usually pretty thorough as well, but he reserves the right to speed up at any time so you always need to have prepared plenty of material. I wonder if this is partly why Charles and I are wanting to stress the difficulties of reading Akkadian, while “Nobody” is concerned to stress its general opacity?
I have mentioned before that it is important to find a grad program that is a good match for you. This is one of those characteristics. Are you interested in studying the minute details of the language, or are you interested in the history and ideology that you learn from reading the texts? Both are important, but each professor is different in what they emphasize and how they expect you to prepare for class.
(Note: Chicago’s program is certainly oriented toward the languages as well, so I am not implying that you will not get to study the details of language there.)