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ultraultra last won the day on February 8 2016

ultraultra had the most liked content!


About ultraultra

  • Rank
    Double Shot

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  • Location
  • Application Season
    2016 Fall
  • Program
    Political Science
  1. Should I stay or should I go?

    I was in a parallel situation last year -- I was completing a Master's, so I ended up spending most of the summer working on my thesis and finishing up courses right before (and honestly, slightly during) the beginning of my PhD. If I could do everything over, I would have planned to take a few months off before my program began, and in your case I would recommend taking off that summer semester from courses. Re: methods -- I'm not sure which school you are going to, but methods sequences at top US universities start from the beginning; they assume you have little to no knowledge of statistics and must be taught everything. Besides giving me a vague familiarity with the general concepts, the methods courses I took in my MA (also non-US) have not been very helpful in my PhD -- they were just at a much lower level of detail/quality than the ones I am taking now. I would have probably been better served by just spending some time brushing up on my math and learning calculus (for all the complaining I did about the irrelevance of GRE-Q scores last year, knowing that math better would have helped me a lot this year). Re: lifestyle -- only you can decide what's best for you here, but I doubt you would get to enjoy most of the benefits of living in a new city while taking a full course load, trying to adjust to a new life/program, and planning another big country move. Also working/saving money might not be the worst thing, if you're about to move to the United States. We have pretty good stipends in my program, but it's definitely not enough to go on big trips or buy all the things for my apartment that I would want. Re: brain turning to mush. I mean, this is fully in your control. The summer before the PhD would probably be a good time to read some of the books in your field that you've always wanted to read but haven't had a chance to -- you probably won't have any time to read them in the first year of your PhD. All in all, I wouldn't say that the people in my program who took the summer off have been substantially better off (in terms of relaxation, preparedness, etc) than the ones who didn't (and vice versa). But I certainly wish I had. Best of luck, and congrats on your acceptances!
  2. Fit with assistant profs?

    I don't think you need to fully axe schools if there are only junior faculty to work with but I would recommend looking at where those assistant professors go their PhDs and considering adding those schools to your list.
  3. Political Behavior/Political Comm Programs??

    Also look into Berkeley and NYU!
  4. Political Behavior/Political Comm Programs??

    Would second Michigan, Stony Brook, Duke. I'd also suggest Stanford, UCLA, Vanderbilt, UVA, and maybe UCSD and Princeton. I don't check this website too often but I had good luck last cycle with a similar research focus, so feel free to message me and I can try to give you some advice. I'd also recommend checking out the results threads from previous cycles to get a sense of where behaviour people applied and where they were competitive given their stats.
  5. Co-authored writing samples?

    Saudiwin is right, also many schools stipulate in their admissions directions that you can't coauthor your writing sample. For what its worth, I get the sense that most places don't pay that much attention to the writing sample. During my admit visits last year, not a single person mentioned my writing sample to me though people often mentioned my letters, SOP, research experience, etc.. I got the sense that no one had read it. I also had a bunch of appendices for my writing sample, which didn't fit in the page limit so I uploaded them separately and included a link in the document. They included important components of my experiment such as my treatment materials and coding manual. I recently, out of curiosity, checked how many people visited the link during my admit cycle. Only 2 did. And since I applied to 11 schools and got into 8, I would estimate that (at minimum) around 24 - 30 people were tasked with reading my file. To me this indicates, at the very least, that people aren't going over the sample with a fine tooth comb, if they are even reading it at all. Though this may be different if English isn't your first language.
  6. Welcome to the 2015-2016 Cycle!

    I ended up choosing Harvard! So excited!!
  7. As others have said, fit is very important. You should definitely think hard about what you want to study and mainly apply to departments where those needs would be supported. I applied to (and got into) Stony Brook and you should know - its basically only Americanists and methodologists there, with almost everyone self-identifying as a political psychologist. So I'm not sure that it makes sense for your interests unless you want to study those substantive topics from a political psychology perspective. I also think its worth it to throw an application or two at top schools where you have reasonably good fit - they sometimes admit people with lower numbers if the rest of their profile is good and their fit with the department is good. Definitely pour over the results threads, they're very informative.
  8. UMich and UCSD

    yes both! maybe we met?
  9. Welcome to the 2015-2016 Cycle!

    I'll probably add some but, just curious, why do you think it will "go a long way to help a lot of people"? At least in my opinion, it would have been nice to know stipend info in advance and I was certainly curious about it, but it wouldn't have had an impact on my applications... especially since most schools seem to give out stipends that provide a similar standard of living given the COL in the specific city.
  10. Less Quant-Heavy IR Masters Programs

    I think Oxford has a migration studies program that fits what you're looking for. Though maybe your best bet is to look at researchers working in your ideal jobs and try to chart their education/professional history?
  11. PhD Programs with out GRE

    The schools you can get into without GRE scores (in the US at least) will not put you in a good position for the job market. Just take the GRE? There are some respectable schools that will still take you with weak scores if you have an otherwise strong file. Also - US political science is increasingly math driven, so you'll need to have that numeracy anyway (for your career, not just your applications). If you're really set on not taking the GRE, apply to other European schools or Canadian ones..
  12. Welcome to the 2015-2016 Cycle!

    Turned down my Northwestern and Stony Brook offers (as well as UPenn and Vandy earlier), hopefully this helps someone in waitlist purgatory!
  13. Welcome to the 2015-2016 Cycle!

    I don't think I would take on that much debt for an MA, especially a theory MA. If I were in your position, I'd probably try to find a research position or other way of building up my profile over the next year and then re-apply, including some cheaper MA programs in the mix next round (such as U of T which has a large group of theorists and a political theory MA). Or you could also check out European programs, some of which are quite affordable and haven't finished accepting applications yet.
  14. Choosing One Field Over Another

    I think the lack of responses on this and the other thread probably indicate that this is probably a question best addressed to your advisors and letter writers, or more specifically to people who know your field well. I don't feel qualified to give you an answer, though I feel bad that you've been left hanging. I don't know your field very well, personally, though from what you've said, your approach seems to be a lot more in line with sociology than political science, particularly the heavy reliance on theory - most fields in political science are moving in a much more empirical (and quantitative) direction. What I can give you is some generic advice, which I've been previously given about my interdisciplinary interests: think about where you want to end up. Do you have a strong preference for ending up in a sociology department, or a political science department? Is there one type of department where you think your research needs would be supported more? Then perhaps choose that type of department for your graduate work. If you don't have a strong preference, then think about your options for field-switching: is it the case that sociology departments hire political scientists, but not the opposite? Or vice versa? You'll want to go to the school/department that will make you most competitive on the job market in 5 years, so think about what type of program will give you the most options/make you the most competitive for the specific types of opportunities you're interested in. With the interdisciplinary programs, look into their placements and see if they mesh with your goals. In the end, you might want to apply to both sociology and political science programs, and there's no harm in that!