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BigTenPoliSci

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Everything posted by BigTenPoliSci

  1. I’m coming back here for the first time in a long time to give you a different perspective on placement figures. I don’t know of any departments that outright lie about placement, but departments have some deceptive techniques to make placement seem better than it really is. The most common technique is multiple counting. I had two one-year positions before getting offered a tenure-track and my program counts me each time. So if you don’t look carefully and critically at our placement page, I count as three placements. Most programs do some version of this little deceit. A better way
  2. I was being a bit metaphorical about the Uber thing, but since you are suggesting that I’m simply a loser let me reiterate: I have multiple peer-reviewed publications. I am one of the few from my cohort to get even this far. And unlike you, I have a PhD in political science and I am referred to as Professor _________ when I come in to work in the morning. But don’t worry. The market is fully meritocratic, it is not stochastic, and you are just as brilliant as your undergraduate professors say you are. You’ll be sipping coffee in your tweed jacket and strolling across that picturesque camp
  3. I haven’t stopped in here in a long time. Comparativist is 100% right. Program rank is absolutely critical. Hiring committees get hundreds of job applications. They need a heuristic to speed up the process. Program rank is key. Just as key is the professional network of your advisor. The professional network of the professor at Harvard is a galaxy removed from the professional network of the professor at Pitt. Outside of the Top 20 is really grim. I came out of a good but not the best Big 10 program. I’m a VAP with nothing lined up for next year. I have 3 peer-reviewed publications (1 sol
  4. Obviously the "reading in the shower" line was a bit of gallow's humor among graduate students. It simply meant that we read a lot our first two years in the program. Comparing experiences between disciplines is a tricky business. Your experience in social psychology and public health (fields with programs often geared specifically towards training professionals and offering part-time options) might not be comparable to a top 20 political science program that is interested only in training academics. I find the demands of economics phd's to be really scary and I don't presume to tell the
  5. I just looked up my school and program. A few people with some large external fellowships reported those. These survey results might not be a good guide for what the standard packages for most students look like.
  6. Good eye, bubbatubba. I'm in the American subfield.
  7. RE: rank. I am referring to US News rankings. RE: directional/regional. Same thing. I just mean directional, but I was writing quickly, didn't want to use the same word in the same sentence, and didn't bother to go back and edit to create a better and clearer sentence.
  8. One additional thing: I don't want to be too gloomy here. Pursuing a Phd might be great for you. Some of you will end up being professors. Most of you won't. Many of you will end up having PhD's. That's pretty cool.
  9. The most memorable piece of advice I got about my first two years (the classwork portion): "If you're not reading in the shower, you're falling behind." I had an MA from a terminal masters track before I got here. i thought that experience was what PhD-track seminars and methods courses at a top 25 would be like. I was wrong. Until you are through comps, all you do is work. You mostly read, but you also write a bit (you'll write a whole lot more later). All of you on this forum will get through that process - this board is clearly biased towards better students - but don't think like I did tha
  10. People in our program that came from abroad seem to have better outcomes. Several take academic positions in their home country after finishing here. So you are probably right - international students have more options and access to job markets that attach a premium to a top 25 US PhD.
  11. The ones who came here with prior professional experience (real salaried jobs, not internships) are the ones with options in the private sector and government. Students straight from undergrad rarely have the network, the professionalization, or concrete experience that is essential to getting those interviews. Graduate school is sufficiently time consuming and isolating that it is pretty much impossible to build a professional network outside of academia after you start.
  12. I will be finishing my dissertation in the near future and moving on to the next phase of my life and career. Like most grad students, I stopped visiting this site once I started and the whirlwind of grad school kicked in. I recently had a conversation with a cohort-mate about the correct and incorrect impressions we had when we applied for grad school. That conversation made me think of this site, so I have visited again a few times lately. The biggest misconception I had was about how program rank translated into job prospects. I thought that getting a PhD from Harvard, Michigan, or S
  13. The notion that we "only" want to write books and teach is a bit unrealistic. Going to a top 20 or 30 isn't a path to getting a TT job at a top 15 school; it offers just a chance at getting a TT anywhere at all. The "consolation prize" for those of us in the 15-25 range isn't a TT at a directional or liberal arts school. Directionals and liberal arts TT jobs are the prizes that go to the very best and lucky candidates in departments like ours - oftentimes after doing one or more VAP / post-doc appointments.
  14. I have to politely but firmly disagree with some of the remarks about the University of Georgia. The statement that they have "a solid methods curriculum" is dubious since they don't have a clear methods track and suite of courses within the department. A huge red flag is that the department encourages students to go to econ and elsewhere for methods training. The statement that it is unusual to be able to comp in methods is simply false. Virtually all top political science programs offer methods as a major field with a prelim/comp. Further, the "fast track PhD" is just a gimmicky way of showi
  15. aronburn, Your best play is to walk away. You have a great degree with an MA in Econ. Your best pathway into government or NGO's is getting some work experience, working from the bottom up. A PhD from a middling institution won't give you many good connections, it will bog you down for six years, and will render you "overqualified" for a lot of jobs when it's all over.
  16. Several people here do outside work on occasion. They rarely tell faculty they are doing the outside work since it can earn you a reputation for not being "committed to academia" among some (but certainly not all) professors. I don't know if it violates the fine print of our TA or RA contracts. If it does, nobody has ever enforced that.
  17. Love this move. 1. I wish I had the cajones to do this in my cycle. 2. I hope this person let them know that he got accepted somewhere better.
  18. The people in our program who found careers outside academia related to their work here did so because they already worked in those areas before starting graduate school. If you don't know anyone in the non-academic part of your field (i.e. you came to grad school straight from undergrad and have no real work experience) it will be extremely difficult to get hired. Non-academic careers are much more plausible outcomes for some than for others.
  19. I think the reason that we all whistle past the graveyard when we start out is because we come from places where we were distinctive. Students that apply to and get accepted to PhD programs were elite undergraduates. Part of us thinks that we have risen to the top before as undergrads and we have beaten odds before in the application process, so we can easily imagine doing it again. All of those people who didn't get any job offers and just drifted away, or who shuffled around a couple post-docs until settling into an adjuncting career were just as special and elite as the rest of us when
  20. If you already have a master's-level background in philosophy and core math skills then you are already better equipped than most to start a PhD in poli sci. Assuming you have some basic research ideas in mind, you should go straight after the PhD.
  21. I don't mean to pick on AultReekie by quoting this, because this is a common myth on this board (and something I thought when I started). State directional schools and non-selective liberal arts colleges are not consolation prizes. They are prizes that newly minted PhD's from very good programs compete to get.
  22. Oftentimes it isn't their job. More importantly, it's only February 5th. If it's March 15th and you need to make a decision, that's fine. Pestering coordinators just a few weeks after submitting your file merely because you're curious is unprofessional.
  23. This is bad form. When you don't care about the decision (you already have a better offer) why bother an overworked administrator during a busy time?
  24. Maybe Testingtesting isn't being a troll. I think s/he just thinks that the degree of program quality curves steeply with the rankings, but in reality it is a gentle slope.
  25. Testingtesting is right about UConn. That's not a viable pathway into academia, if that's your goal. Testingtesting is overreacting a bit about Wisconsin, though.
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