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Penelope Higgins

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Everything posted by Penelope Higgins

  1. Just to point out that you won't find Blattman too interested in qualitative work - see his blog for his views on how to do social science, and remember that he has a joint appointment in economics. Wood, on the other hand, would be a better fit; she works on women in civil war, and teaches the qualitative methods class for grad students in the poli sci department at Yale. And her two books have little to no stats in them.
  2. The AW score doesn't matter, especially for students also submitting TOEFL scores. Just don't worry about it.
  3. Don't do it. The only people who care about your scores (admissions committee) will get them alongside your CV in the file. Nobody else has any interest in them at all.
  4. What we may be seeing here is that different departments consider different things in admissions. In the two grad departments where I have been involved, no publication in a peer-reviewed journal (with the exception of those specializing in publishing undergraduate work) will hurt you. In Wesson's experience, that may be different. This reveals that there is no one set of admissions criteria; with the exception of the very top candidates, people often get quite different results from departments that seem like equally good fits.
  5. No hard numbers, but a minority of applications I see... not too common. That said, my department has rejected applicants with publications, and accepted many without.
  6. If you have published something in a real peer-reviewed academic journal - any peer-reviewed academic journal - it will help your application, while other publications will not make a difference. No publication (unless it is a racist screed or something) will hurt any candidate applying for graduate school admission. But the way the publication is presented will make a difference. Do not trumpet a publication in an undergraduate research journal like an article in the journals that faculty aim for.
  7. The data in the rankings is mostly from before 2005. Take them with a large grain of salt. That said, time-to-degree is worth asking about - but I would expect to get a fuller answer after admission than before application.
  8. First, there is no harm to sending a fourth letter where you can - where you are not explicitly limited to three. Second, a letter from a prominent historian will help you if the person can speak to your research skills and preparation for grad school. If the junior faculty person is well connected and a known quantity to admissions committees, their letter will carry some weight, so you need to evaluate for yourself a sense of this. On the one hand, this is a tough choice (where you are forced to make it) - on the other, you've got 2 great options.
  9. A few scattered thoughts: The top place to do Latin America, especially if you're not inclined toward quant work, is certainly Berkeley, where you could work with the Colliers. They have a record second to none in producing great dissertations. Other great overall departments with strengths in Latin America include Harvard (Dominguez, Robinson, Levitsky), Northwestern (Gibson, Mahoney, etc.) Princeton (Yashar, Lieberman), and Columbia (Murillo), though the last two are likely more quant-focused departments than the OP seems to want. I'm not sure that I can think of a traditional Latin Amer
  10. Speaking from personal experience, cutoffs can be quite a bit higher than 1200. I know nothing about where they are at Northwestern. My sense is that admissions are quite competitive there. But horacepinkert should certainly apply; the rest of the file looks very strong.
  11. You're welcome. And Amaney Jamal is a woman. The Middle East Studies (or whatever it is called) also has at least one poli sci PHD on the faculty.
  12. You may or may not like the focus of these folks/departments, but here are a few more places with senior folks doing at least partly qualitative work on the Middle East. I am sure that there are others - I am not a Middle East person myself. Brown (Melani Cammett) Princeton (Amaney Jamal now has tenure) UMass (Jillian Schwedler) Berkeley (Kiren Chaudhry) Your lack of poli sci background will not be a hindrance to you in applications, so long as you can explain your interest in a poli sci PhD. The math background will be more of an obstacle some places (Princeton, UCLA, maybe Michigan) t
  13. I don't think NYU is a great fit for your interests (though there may be some folks there I can't think of) - I would look at adding to your list Will Reno at Northwestern (where there are also some great Latin Americanists) and Texas if I were you.
  14. I'd add Harvard to your list; Hall, Ekiert, and Ziblatt (to name just 3) cover a wide range of Europe-related questions and are qual-friendly; and Iversen and others also work on the area. Plus the Center for European Studies is an amazing resource as a graduate student. Your raw numbers make it look like a reasonable candidate for many of the schools you've listed, and I can't think of any you've left out except maybe Duke/UNC, but hopefully folks who do more Europe-related work (not my area...) will chime in.
  15. I don't have any systematic info on placement and there is none on the Brown website. But the department and the IR group have gotten stronger in the last couple of years with the hiring of Varshney, McDermott and a few other folks, and placement should improve accordingly.
  16. Just to point out that an MA in political science is not the same as an MPA or another public affairs/policy masters. Terminal MAs in political science require the same coursework, thesis, and/or comps as the PhD; they just don't come with funding. Lots of places have them, few will admit candidates who apply just for the terminal MA. Why would you do that when you could apply to the PhD, be funded, and leave after 2-3 years?
  17. In political science, most faculty-student relationships are not so formal or intense: your funding does not come from the faculty member, and you're not working in their lab on their research for your PhD. So individual faculty don't decide to take students in the same way as in the sciences. So I would not worry about this if you're applying in political science.
  18. Most of the work your undergrad professor or letter writer can do is in the letter itself. I will take more seriously a letter from someone I know and respect in evaluating a candidate. At times I get contacted (usually by email) by an old friend about a student, but this isn't common. Think about it like this: where you go to school is a very high stakes issue for you, but for the faculty who will supervise you this is just an administrative decision in which most of us are reluctant to participate. Even if someone contacts me, it won't do much if I'm not on the admissions committee. And if I
  19. Not my subfield so I hope someone else will chime in, but I know that UCSD is strong in this area.
  20. "Best IR school" is too broad. What areas of IR interest you? Different schools would appear on a list of "best departments" for IPE, security, cooperation, etc.
  21. I just want to respond to the question about how to find schools. You should start as follows: take research you've enjoyed reading, figure out where the author is teaching, and look at their colleagues to see whether you would be happy in the intellectual environment. What is lost in applying somewhere you don't get in? Just the application fee: you should be spending minimal time tailoring an application to each individual school. In the scheme of things, the $100 application fee (or whatever it is) isn't so much. Apply everywhere that you think you'd be happy and let the admissions committe
  22. You are only looking at schools in a very small geographic region. It seems like you're sacrificing both fit and rank for location now. But this will give you no more control over location after you finish the PhD, and indeed likely less. There may be good reasons to do this, and none of us can judge those for you. But you should be sure that you're willing to make that choice.
  23. From the list above: Harvard Berkeley Cornell Chicago Northwestern Madison Washington are all qual-friendly (and in some cases qual-dominated) comparative groups.
  24. Talk to some of your professors - many of them got PhDs in the US! With strong letters from them and good GRE scores, you will be very competitive for admission.
  25. You should do a search on this board for relevant discussion, but in my opinion there is no need to contact faculty. I would simply write a strong statement of purpose (on the short end of the length range you mention or shorter) and apply for admission to the university. This view of the process is based on my experience both as a grad student and as a faculty member. Others on this board have found it useful to contact faculty before applying; you should search the board for discussions of how to go about doing so.
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