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dagnabbit last won the day on February 2

dagnabbit had the most liked content!

1 Follower

About dagnabbit

  • Rank
    Double Shot

Profile Information

  • Location
  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
  • Program
    Political Science PhD
  1. Do you still have a chance at any school at all? Yes. That being said, your current score will probably not make it past the first cut at many places. From what I've heard, admissions committees often use stats like GRE/GPA to make a long list out of the initial application pool, and a very low Q score might lead to your app being thrown out before they even see your application materials. Your GRE score is not the defining element of your application by a long shot, but the truth is that many programs have score cutoffs/quotas/etc., and you don't want to be rejected simply because you fell on the wrong side of these. There are a lot of good arguments out there about why the continued use of the GRE in graduate admissions is problematic, but for now it's still part of the dance. You should retake the test if it is within your means to do so. I would recommend purchasing/renting/obtaining the Manhattan Prep series on the quantitative section, as they really try to provide a complete understanding of the mathematical/logical concepts that underlie the questions on the test. One last thing: I disagree with your postscript. Political science is a pretty quantitative discipline, and IR is probably the second most quant-heavy subfield behind American politics. Everyone who studies IR at the graduate level will at least be required to read and understand quant research, and admissions committees will be looking for signals of quantitative literacy regardless of your specific research interests. Of course you can do qualitative IR research, but I just wanted to make the point that it's probably best to get comfortable with quantitative analysis instead of writing it off.
  2. I have personally never heard of such a program, and have no knowledge of anybody who has completed such a program. I can think of a few examples of scholars who have completed both a political science PhD and an economics PhD, though not at the same institution and not at the same time. If somebody has two PhDs, it is usually because their interests changed and they needed the second one to work in the desired field (though I have heard of math PhDs going on to do econ PhDs due to the terrible job market for mathematicians). It is not unheard of for political science doctoral students to acquire an economics MA, though I would not say that it's common. The real question is this: what is your desired career path? If you want to study IPE/CPE from the perspective of a political scientist/using political science research methods (and seek employment as an academic political scientist), you should aim for top political science PhD programs that are strong in these areas. If you want to study issues of political economy from the perspective of an economist/using economics research methods (and seek employment as an economist, academic or otherwise), you should target economics PhD programs that are strong in political economics. The top political economy programs (Stanford/Harvard) do place their PhDs into academic/non-academic positions in both fields, but their admission rates are extremely low - it would be unwise to place all of your eggs in that basket. It's also worth noting that the political economy programs (as well as most top econ programs) will expect you to have taken specific math courses as an undergrad, unlike most political science programs.
  3. 1. I don't think you're giving yourself enough credit here. After months of efficient studying, you should certainly be able to bring your score above 320. After all, your grades are exceptional and surely you've aced quite a few timed exams as an undergraduate. Check out this list of free studying resources. The unfortunate truth is that an exceptional GRE score is more or less necessary but not sufficient for admission to top programs; low scores might keep you off the short list. I would encourage you to browse through the results page on this website, and note the scores of applicants who were admitted to the programs to which you are applying. You should aim for the median score of the accepted students. Finally, be wary of "average admitted GRE scores" posted on department websites - these are inevitably brought down by students who have poor scores but are otherwise truly exceptional (rec letters from Gary King, etc). 2. You have a pretty good list so far - I would add Vanderbilt and Stony Brook. 3. No, I don't think that's justified. Look at grad student profiles at the programs that you're considering, read their CVs, see where they did their BAs. Personally, I attended a research university ranked >130 and am heading to a T20 PhD program this fall. 4. Nobody will expect you to have published anything, so don't worry about that. I think that your challenge as a history major is to sell yourself as somebody who knows what political science research entails; your letter writers can help attest to this, but a strong SOP and your conference presentation should be good signals. 5. I basically agree with @IR44 on this one. I have heard that it's a big plus for comparativists to have lived/worked/studied in the region that they plan to research, but this isn't applicable to your case.
  4. Certainly not problematic to highlight APs that you would like to work with - I did this, and I know that many others did as well. However, I would advise against identifying them as your prospective advisor (or planning on them being your advisor), largely due to the reasons that you mentioned. Additionally, you want your advisor to be somebody with enough clout in the discipline that he or she can adequately promote you and your work, both before you go on the job market (introductions at conferences, etc) and while you are on the job market (making calls for you, writing letters that carry weight); senior faculty are typically better at this than junior faculty.
  5. Honestly, I think that you should start by seeking guidance from your former professors. GradCafe is very helpful regarding certain aspects of the application process (GRE studying tips, SOP advice, Interview advice, etc), but not so much when it comes to something as major as choosing a field of study. Sure, we can list all of the best places to study political psychology, but we can't really tell you whether you should be studying political psychology or not. You should contact a professor who knows you and knows your work and have a conversation with them regarding your research interests and how to best pursue them.
  6. To briefly address your questions: 1. Yes, I think that you are competitive for T20 programs provided that your application materials are top quality. Apply to every T20 program that fits your interests, and especially consider Davis/Wisconsin/Penn. 2. I don't think that your stats are such that you should plan on doing an MA before applying to PhD programs. That said, it might not be a bad idea to research a few MA programs to apply to in addition to the doctoral apps that you send in.
  7. Your profile looks very strong. Regarding your concerns: 1. I think you should try to frame your professional background as an asset, focusing on the skills you gained and projects you completed, and explain how your time in the professional world motivated the academic questions that you are interested in exploring. Make a strong case for why you are actually an academic, but certainly don't waste time explaining your initial motivations for pursuing professional training; I don't think admissions committees would care. 2. Seek advice from your letter writers on this, but I would imagine that academic writing > non-academic writing.
  8. I don't have extensive knowledge about either program, but here are some thoughts: 1. From what you wrote it sounds like you would have to pay at Kentucky and you would receive a stipend at Ole Miss, which is a big plus for Ole Miss. It would be less of an issue if your plan was to find gainful employment after completing the MA, but if you are interested in doing a PhD then you are looking at ~6 years post-MA of making very little money - more debt is not a good idea. 2. As you've noted, the Patterson School MA is not designed to prepare students for academic careers. This is kind of a big deal, because... 3. With very few exceptions, PhD program admissions committees will care more about what you did during your MA than where you did it. Mississippi's program is more likely to provide you the opportunity to create a solid writing sample and narrow your interests well enough to write a great SOP, as well as RA/TA experience. Perhaps Kentucky is ranked above Ole Miss, but the program will not be focused on training you as an academic.
  9. Your post is kind of confusing. Are you saying that you would be interested in either academic political theory, public policy, or law school, but that your main requirement is staying close to home? You sound like you're not quite sure why you want to go to grad school - my advice is to do some soul-searching to figure out your career goals before you spent tens of thousands of dollars and years of your life on a degree. Of course, maybe I just misunderstood your post, in which case I am sorry.
  10. I don't think that you should be concerned with your grades, seeing as you took difficult courses and admissions committees will take that into consideration - regardless, a 3.8 GPA is fine. What you should absolutely do is take a seminar paper and build it into a polished writing sample, and study harder for the GRE and make sure that you nail the quant section on your next try. With a solid writing sample/SOP and a better GRE score, I think you would be competitive for top programs. It's difficult to recommend specific programs without more information on your interests - are you more interested in IPE or CPE?
  11. @mstama123 Congrats on your decision! Did U of T provide you with their placement record? I can't find it on their website, but I'm curious.
  12. I think that all of @Bibica's advice is very good, but I just want to emphasize the importance of this point. Chicago and Columbia both have a lot of PhD students, and the tenure-track/tenured faculty are likely spread thin between advising them, teaching, and conducting their own research; before you spend the money on one of these programs, make sure that you will be working (at least some of the time) with faculty that can write letters for you. Remember this, too: the value added from either of your current options will be the connections you make with faculty (resulting in rec letters) and the strengthening of your research abilities, not the name brand on your CV.
  13. Thanks to all who have posted so far! We really do have an impressive community of scholars on GC, and I am glad to know that our "cohort" will be well represented in the nation's top programs. Seeing as April 15th has come and will soon be gone, I figured I would bump this thread one last time - if you are reading this post and you have not yet contributed, now is your chance! The fact that this thread has already accumulated over 4,000 views is proof that the hard-learned lessons and advice that you post here will reach many inquiring eyes, and your posts will likely help to quell the anxiety of future prospectives who are scrounging for any insights into this stressful process.
  14. I second the above advice to retake the GRE. Your current scores are definitely respectable, but as an out-of-field applicant you need to give every possible signal that you can handle the workload of a PhD student in the social sciences. Go to the results page and look at the profiles of past applicants who were admitted to the programs that you would like to attend, and make it your goal to score (at least) as well as the median admit.
  15. I agree with @MickeyRay that scholarly development and hard work are essential to success on the job market, but it is simply not true that program prestige does not make an enormous difference. Academia is an intensely elitist institution, and there is empirical evidence to show that the majority of academic jobs go to graduates from the top programs. If you are not happy with a program's placement record, you should not attend with the belief that your outcome will be significantly better.