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About Raex

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    2017 Fall

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  1. So...it's been a couple of months but I'm still unable to choose between MA in Computational Social Sciences (MACSS) at U Chicago MPhil in Economics at Oxford and I'd really appreciate if someone could help me a bit... With partial tuition waiver at U Chicago and no funding from Oxford, the cost of attending is roughly the same so that's not a factor. In terms of curriculum, I like MACSS better because I have double degree in IT and economics, so I believe that I have a unique edge in a computational social sciences program coz I can program and do math and at the same time know economics. Its structure is also quite flexible so I can explore other social sciences. But since this is a new program, no one can say for sure what the outcome will be yet.... Meanwhile the MPhil Econ at Oxford looks like a really traditional economics program and I wouldn't say I'm too excited about it, but it's less risky, I suppose? The problem is that I'm still not sure whether I'll go for a PHD or go back to work afterwards. I'm confident that I should be able to earn a decent salary anywhere, but I can't quite think of a job that I want to make a career out of. I'm relatively positive that I'll like teaching, but that requires a phd and I'm not looking forward to being poor and stressed in my early 30s by doing a phd.......so while I think Oxford will be better for landing a job and U Chicago will help me prepare for phd better, I still cant' decide which one to go because I'm not sure which path (academic or professional) I prefer. In terms of country, I'd say I'm slightly inclined to go to the US at the moment since there seem to be more opportunities in general and I personally want to experience the country, plus I have a few relatives and friends there. I would love to experience the UK as well but I think if I'm to choose a country to end up with eventually, US is probably a better fit, culturally. But then again, that's just from my impression of the two countries.... To sum it up, I like the program at U Chicago more but Oxford is kind of too famous to let go (all my family members just love the name....), and since I don't have a very strong preference for country or work/phd afterwards, those factors also can't quite help me decide. I know that ultimately this is about personal preference so I'll have to make the tough decision on my own, but I think some more information would be really helpful(since I've been to neither US nor UK), like: What do you think of the two universities/programs or what are your experiences with them? (like, is all the fun really going to die at U Chicago? :p) What's the life like at those two cities/universities? How feasible it is to graduate from Oxford and then work in the US? How helpful is a degree from U Chicago in terms of finding a job in the US? My personal impression is that U Chicago is as prestigious as, if not more than, Oxford, in the field of social sciences. Am I right about that? I'm just not quite sure how things are going in the two countries. Are people friendly to foreigners? Are graduates and companies feeling optimistic about the future? Thank you so much in advance to anyone who has any opinion or information to share!
  2. It seems that MAPSS has sent out many decision letters! I've received admission with 1/3 tuition waiver (not much, I know, but no complaints since I'm prepared to pay and my other choices wouldn't be much cheaper anyway), but since the econ concentration is a recent addition to the MAPSS program, maybe I'm not the only one who wants to discuss and know more about it? So, I'm wondering are there any current MAPSS econ students (or someone who knows more about this program) out there willing to share a bit about your experiences so far? Like, what's the difficulty level of the math camp? (And if you're an international student like me, have you attended the English prep course in Aug?) Have you taken some courses in other disciplines? What is your goal (phd, or work?) and whether/how is MAPSS helping you so far? What's the typical class size? How's your experience with the thesis? Do you have any time for extracurricular activities or part-time work? Anything And for those who're admitted, have you made a decision, and what are your reasons, if you don't mind sharing? If you're still hesitating, what are your doubts? As for me, I'm still considering, but I'm very inclined to go since I really like the interdisciplinary nature of MAPSS, and I want to incorporate some sociology elements into my study. But I'm not sure whether I'm just being naive or idealistic here since 9 months is a short time and I've kind of been working in an unrelated field in the past two years, and I'm not too sure what kind of phd studies (or even whether I want to pursue a phd) I want to do afterwards. Is everyone very clear about exactly what you want to get out of the program?
  3. Hi, everyone! I'm just wondering has anyone directly applied for the MAPSS and got accepted, especially anyone with economics background, or does anyone know someone like that? I'm asking because I'm having difficulties with the candidate statement. More specifically, do I have to make my research interest the focus of it like a PHD statement, even if I directly apply to the MAPSS program? So my situation is like this: I have an economics degree with quite a lot of math and programming from a non-US university with a decent ranking, got pretty good GPA, GRE, English language test scores, some not-so-relevant working and volunteering experiences. But....I'm not too sure about my research experience and research interest. Sure I did my coursework and group projects and all those stuff. I've written enough essays, and some of the courses did involve research-like projects, and I did well in all of those, but....it's still just a course project, isn't it? Even if I can use them to show my ability to do research, the point here is that I don't have a clear research interest yet...I can think of a few topics that I'm interested in, and probably talk about it for as many words as I need to, but I doubt that it'll sound convincing without relevant research/work experiences to back it up, isn't it? That leads to my question: if I apply directly to the MAPSS program, do I still have to have a very specific research idea? Do I still have to write my candidate statement as if I'm applying to PHD? I know that this program is for those whose goal is PHD and many are referred applicants from the PHD programs, but..isn't it the point of an MA that one can start searching for a research interest during that and decide whether PHD is right for them? And the curriculum certainly looks like it wants you to do that. So can I be honest about that and just say that I'm still exploring? Besides, since U Chicago is one of the best in the economics field, I believe that the PHD applicants who are just a tiny bit below their admission standard will be legion, and many of them may be offered MAPSS instead. So will they even consider direct applications at all? Thank you all for reading so much!
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