English Graduate School - MA or PhD?

<p>Hello Guys,</p>

<p>Here are my aspirations:
I want to become a College Professor, specializing in the field of Old English/Medieval Studies.</p>

<p>Here is my situation:
I came to America when I was 13. I'm currently at UCLA studying English(transfered from Irvine Valley Community College).</p>

<p>I'm currently on an E-2 Visa, under my parents. Once I turn 21, which is August of this year, my visa will expire and I will be debating whether to get an F-1 Visa, or become illegal here.</p>

<p>Now most English programs I've been looking into require me to be a T.A., which obviously will need me to have a SSN.
So getting an F-1 Visa would be ideal for me.</p>

<p>My question is:
What should I pursue? a PhD or M.A.? I already know what I want to study, so I dont really see the point of pursuing a M.A.
Since my GPA is so low for me to get into schools taht I want(such as UCLA/NYU/Northwestern/Brown/UCI) and I dont have any research experience, would it be better for me to get a Masters first?</p>

<p>Should I look into getting a PhD at lower ranking schools rather than getting a M.A.?</p>

<p>As a side note:
I'm trying to graduate from UCLA as soon as possible with a 3.5GPA and no research experience besides independent research. The reason I'm graduating from UCLA in 1 yr, after transfering, is due to financial situation.
(Since I have an E-2 under my parents I do not have a SSN, which means I get to financial aid, furthermore my brother is currently an international student at UCSB, also getting no financial aid)
I will be Graduating by Fall '12, which is when I plan to apply for Graduate School.
I will be studying for the GRE During Spring and be taking the test during Summer.</p>

<p>When I was in grad school in English in the 1980s, there were plenty of slots in graduate programs, but very, very few jobs teaching English at the college level. As a result, every year there were hundreds of new graduates with Ph.D.'s who couldn't find the kinds of jobs they wanted.</p>

<p>One thing has changed since then: many universities that used to have large doctoral programs now have small doctoral programs.</p>

<p>Many things have not changed. You may be able to teach community college with an M.A., but you'll need a Ph.D. to be competitive for a job at a four-year college or a university. Year in and year out, there will be very few tenure-track job openings for medievalists in the U.S.--a dozen at the most, and quite often in the single digits. In order to land such a job, you'll need not just any Ph.D., but a Ph.D. from a highly regarded program and a publication-ready dissertation and amazing recommendations.</p>

<p>Trouble is, there aren't as many slots in high-ranking doctoral programs as there used to be. For that reason, if you're going to follow this path, you may need an M.A. first. If your grades aren't stellar, you may need to get an M.A. at a solid-but-not-top-tier university, and then apply again for doctoral programs after you've earned top grades, gotten stronger recommendations and and written a strong master's thesis.</p>