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Penelope Higgins

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Everything posted by Penelope Higgins

  1. I believe that Emory traditionally flies people in for interviews.
  2. Princeton announces searches in every subfield every year. Does not mean they will hire in all of them.
  3. Look, I've got no dog in this fight. NYU may indeed be the best option on the list. I don't know. But the earlier post saying that because NYU is a top-15 department it is the best option was, I believe, misleading because of the separation between the MA and the PhD program. I've found that when I see applications to my PhD program from students coming out of the NYU MA program, they don't in general seem to have letters from people I would like to see or the training I would expect from the NYU political science department, and I want to make sure that the person making this decision has tha
  4. The MA in Political Science at NYU is not a good place to get academic training. I can't compare it to the other options, which I don't know as well, but at NYU (as discussed on here before) the MA is a separate program from the PhD. Students do not normally take classes with the main political science faculty or with PhD students, and it does not prepare you well for PhD programs. Again, I can't offer advice as to how to choose among these options, but the NYU program is not as good a pre-PhD option as the name of the school would suggest. Here is a post from last year that discusses the
  5. My advice here, and in general for situations in which the candidate needs to explain a serious problem with their file, is to consider letting a letter writer do so. This requires finding a letter writer you trust, confiding in them about the situation, and explicitly asking them to address it. They will know how to contextualize the situation, and it sounds less like an excuse or justification coming from them than it does coming from the applicant.
  6. Yeah, fair enough. I was responding less to the original post and more to the general tone of this and other threads, which seem to me to be over-emphasizing math courses as the core preparation for PhD admission. Failing a course is not going to look good on your file. But I'm not sure that the specific course (basic or upper level) or what subject area makes a difference in how it will be seen. The problem here is a failed course, not a failed math course.
  7. Folks, I sit on an admissions committee at my university most years. I have had students admitted to top 5 departments in empirical political science in the last 5 years who had little to no math background since high school, no programming skills, and certainly little beyond intro calculus. So I just want to point out that there's a bit of exaggeration about the math background needed going on in this conversation. Applicants should simply seek to show that they are smart and able to build the needed skills once admitted.
  8. I've posted this on here before, but it is only one data point. My department's admissions spreadsheet doesn't even have a column for the writing score from the GRE. Everyone knows it is a ridiculous test, and nobody takes it seriously.
  9. I've sat on the admissions committee about every other year for a while now at two departments that sit in different places on the academic food chain. I can guarantee you that It makes NO difference at all when you apply as long as your application is in before the deadline, and your letters of recommendation arrive within a week or two after the deadline. The committee does not even see the files for a couple of weeks after the deadline since an administrator has to organize them and upload them to the server we use to view them. The only exception is one that arises at departments that
  10. One name comes to mind off the top of my head: Jeff Colgan, who I think is moving to Brown. He got his PHD only a couple of years ago, so rather than planning to work with him, you might look at where he studied and who he studied with.
  11. You can find a lot of the info you seek on department websites. I suggest you do some research of your own.
  12. This is not my field, but my sense is that some departments that are strong in the intelligence area include Harvard (Rosen), Penn (Horowitz), and Princeton (Shapiro and Yerhi-Milho).
  13. For analytic style work in political theory of the kind you seem to describe, Princeton and Oxford are the strongest departments. Other good places in the US besides some of the places you mention include Harvard, NYU and Brown. I don't see Chicago or Columbia as being places to do this sort of work. Outside the US, the LSE has a strong group. And more generally, most departments in England except Cambridge do analytic work in political theory. In Canada, Magill might also be a very good option; perhaps better for the style of work you're interested in than the other Canadian options you list.
  14. I've advised students who have transferred for a variety of reasons, including opting for better funding, a better ranked program, and a group of faculty that better suited their interests. I've got no hard feelings about it at all. If they're happier, I'm happy. More relevant than my own personal views is the fact that I've seen job applications that include letters of recommendation from two different departments because the applicant has transferred in the course of their graduate training while keeping a close relationship with faculty at the school they left. So while people may have diff
  15. This is a great post. Thanks for providing a fuller picture to complement my impressionistic sense of things. I would add that this advice applies much more broadly than just at NYU. The payoffs of an MA in applying to PhD programs depend largely on how you use it.
  16. My impression is that the NYU MA program is not a great stepping stone to PhD programs, for the reason I spell out below. Others should feel free to correct me on this issue, and of course my comments here should not influence your choices unduly. Based on what I know about the MA program, it is not staffed by the faculty from the PhD program, and courses are offered separately. See, for example, this list: http://politics.as.nyu.edu/object/ma.scheduleFall2014 of courses for Fall 2014. None of the folks teaching MA only courses, except Cohen, are regular faculty. Other courses are open to
  17. In nearly every case (read: every case I have seen), waitlists are not ordered. They consist of a small group of students, all of whom we would be happy to admit, who can be used to balance the cohort as those who are admitted inform us about whether they plan to attend. This balance can be by sub-field, within subfields, or by gender or other ascriptive characteristics. Because there isn't much comparison that I have seen among students on the wait list, there isn't anything you can do except express interest, and given that that expression is not a costly signal it isn't clear how much it do
  18. At the department where I used to teach, where a lot of you have applied, each subfield was given the files for its candidates, and came up with a ranking. Sometimes that entailed broad input, sometimes one person read the files and made their decisions. At my current department, the admissions committee is 4 faculty but in practice the DGS does nearly everything. He or she reads the files (we don't get very many) and decides which ones are 'above the bar' before sending them to representatives of each subfield for ranking. General similarities, but lots of minor variation. Sometimes t
  19. So long as you can convince an admissions committee of people who specialize in areas other than your own that your research is relevant to broad questions in political science (like the ones you mention; democratization and political stability) your background shouldn't hurt you. To the extent that your finance background translates into quant skills, it should in fact help you. Lots of applicants to PhD programs in poli sci have limited poli sci training in their background. You're in good company.
  20. A couple of thoughts on the rarity of European PhDs in teaching posts in American universities. This is a general statement that should be read as a description of reality that is neither an endorsement, nor without exceptions. There are few recent PhDs from non-US schools teaching at US universities. Of those, the vast majority come from Canada and England. This is largely a result of the fact that American political science is quite different from political science in Europe. Different research questions, different standards for qhat makes good research, different emphases of methods, et
  21. It does happen. But without other information, I wouldn't read too much into a faculty member being on leave for a semester or a year.
  22. At US institutions, leaves are only very rarely a signal that someone is moving to a different university. In nearly every case, they are sabbatical or fellowship leaves.
  23. I could be wrong about Chiozza; I've heard that rumor but it might not be true. In any case, there are at most 2 IR faculty at Vandy these days.
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