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sociopolitic last won the day on February 11

sociopolitic had the most liked content!


About sociopolitic

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    Espresso Shot

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  • Interests
    cultural sociology, public opinion, political sociology
  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
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  1. Fun fact: Harrison White (the sociologist who pioneered social network analysis, which has now been adopted across the social sciences) actually got his first PhD in physics. I know that sociology programs love being able to admit student with serious quantitative chops. I know more than a few sociology grad students with engineering degrees. I can't speak for political science, but you are extremely competitive at top 10 sociology programs with this background. If you provide a good writing sample, write a SOP in conversation with the contemporary academic literature of the field, and your GPA/GREs are good (and if you're at LSE for Econometrics, I expect they are), getting full funding at a top sociology PhD program will not be a problem. I imagine that this would be the same for political science programs, but I can't say for sure. If you're deciding between political science and sociology, I'd definitely concentrate on reading qualitative work that interests you in each field to see which you like more. There's a good bit of overlap between comparative political science and political sociology; a lot of quantitative work in each field can be found in the same journals, for instance. Message me if you'd like suggestions for where to start reading in sociology. How qualitative is the research you envision doing, though? I could give better advice if I knew that, I think. I'm also taking a class with a qualitative political scientist this coming semester, so hopefully I'm in a better position for advice then. Anyway, hope this helps!
  2. Not at all! I simply meant that the way sociologists write papers and the way economists write papers is different. Mixed methods research is absolutely alive and well in sociology, though of course there are plenty of folks who specialize in either quantitative or qualitative methods. I'm not as familiar with qualitative research in political science (so take what I say next with a grain of salt) but it seems like political scientists who do qualitative work also tend to be pretty knowledgeable of quantitative methods. And getting a quantitative degree but expressing interest in qualitative methods is definitely not going to count against you, at least not in sociology. Remember, you're applying to train as a social scientist -- you aren't expected to be one already!
  3. Since you're coming from outside the discipline, I should also mention that your SOP is by far the most important part of your application. You need to exhibit that you can understand sociological research and demonstrate that you have the potential to contribute to sociological knowledge. Adcomms want to see you do that in your SOP, and you'll be in an even better position if you're lucky enough to legitimately pique some of the faculty's interest with your research statement.
  4. You definitely have a shot at top 20 departments. If your heart is set on UChicago, I probably would recommend trying for a higher GRE score, as that should help compensate for your GPAs being ever so slightly on the low side for PhD applications.
  5. sociopolitic

    Graduate Application for Fall 2020

    Our interests have some decent overlap! I'm a little more focused on quantitative methods personally, but based on your interest in qualitative methods I think that you ought to take a really good look at UMichigan and UCLA sociology. Both departments have a lot of qualitative political sociologists, and even scholars that are specifically interested in populism. UNC might be worth looking at as well, but their department tends to be known for quantitative rather than qualitative training. Speaking in terms of general fit between the department and the somewhat broad interests you mention here, I think that UCLA, Michigan, Berkeley, and Chicago all have a good number of folks you could work with. Harvard too, though I think they're a bit more quantitatively focused. NYU and Wisconsin are also possibly good fits. I'm not as familiar with the work being done at Northwestern, Yale, and Arizona, but I think some of their faculty may do research that interests you as well. I recommend reading through faculty bios for the top 20 departments (assuming that's where you're hoping to land in the rankings) and seeing whose work sounds interesting, then reading some of their work to see if it's the sort of research you'd like to produce. Hope this helps some! I'm happy to read over your SOP whenever you get around to drafting that.
  6. sociopolitic

    Do I have a chance at a highly ranked Ph.D program?

    Happy to help/provide a confidence boost! Just make sure to ground your SOP in the actual conversations sociologists working in your area of interest are having right now (so that adcomms know that you're serious about sociology and know what you're getting into) and I think that with a bump in your quant score, you'll be very competitive at top departments. Provided you do that, your admissions cycle will really come down to the question of fit. Best of luck!
  7. sociopolitic

    Do I have a chance at a highly ranked Ph.D program?

    This was exactly my thought, as well. I'd personally recommend studying hard for the quant section and taking it again. Since you're coming from a background in the humanities, adcomms are going to want evidence that you'll be able to handle the required Stats sequence in their programs. Unless there are other things in your profile that could indicate your quantitative aptitude, it's worth trying to get your score up as much as possible. I probably wouldn't take out the money to get an MA first. The rest of your profile is strong enough that by bumping your quantitative score a bit and writing a convincing SOP, I think you should definitely be able to get into a top 20 program.
  8. sociopolitic

    Need help figuring out area of specialisation

    I'm not super familiar with this area, but it sounds like you're interested in studying social norms from a social psychological perspective. Have you read any Erving Goffman? I think the Presentation of Self in Everyday Life is a must-read given your interests, but I bring it up because I think Goffman would argue that's there's no such thing as a "true, authentic" self. In determining your area of specialization, I think it's best that you browse the academic literature that engages with these questions of what constitutes the self, as well as on social norms more broadly. Since you don't have a bachelor's in sociology, you'll need to convince admissions committees with your SOPs that sociology is the discipline for you. The best way to do that is to read enough actual sociological research in your area of interest that you can speak clearly to which lines of research you might wish to pursue or build upon.
  9. sociopolitic

    Graduate Application for Fall 2020

    Wow, congrats on improving your GREs so much! From what I understand, GRE scores are more salient in adcomms' decisions regarding whether to admit international students, so it sounds to me like you've already strengthened your profile an awful lot. I guess I would also advise to cast your net wide, so to speak. If I remember correctly from the last cycle, you only applied to a handful of departments. I think I would recommend applying to at least 8 this cycle. That said, I can't offer you much advice regarding where you'd be a good fit since I'm not familiar with your research interests. Would you mind sharing a little more about what you hope to study? And out of curiosity, where did you apply last year? With a profile like yours, I think you're very competitive. It's very much possible that your GRE scores were the biggest factor holding you back last year. I think that to make this cycle as successful as possible, you really need to concentrate on 1) applying to departments where fit is really great, and 2) taking care to explain that fit in your SOPs.
  10. Political economy is absolutely something you can pursue in any of these disciplines, OP. Find the field that does PE research that appeals to you. @staylite, it is rare for anyone in any discipline to land a TT job in a field outside their discipline. Occasionally IPE economists land political science jobs, occasionally political scientists land sociology jobs, and occasionally sociologists land communications and business school jobs, but for the most part any given field hires PhDs in that field. You clearly are not familiar with either political or economic sociology, but there is a great amount of work being done in each that could be of interest to the original poster. Especially given that he/she wants to advance "qualitative, philosophical arguments." In any case, I've never argued for the supremacy of one PhD over another. Though you may be dismissive of sociologists' ability to analyze political economy, I merely suggest that the original poster take the time to read relevant work in each of these disciplines before deciding where to apply. My own research interests are similar to OP's, and I found that this was tremendously helpful in finding a disciplinary home.
  11. While I doubt that staylite has ever spoken with a sociologist, let alone a quantitative sociologist, he's probably right that a soc PhD will likely prevent you from entering the econ job market. An econ PhD will also likely have trouble on the soc job market. An econ PhD is comparable to a degree in applied mathematics. Because of econ's emphasis on advanced mathematics, the field tends to see itself as more scientific than other social sciences. Qualitative methods have effectively been abandoned by the field. Something similar but less pervasive has happened/is happening in political science. Sociology is actually also becoming steadily more quantitative, but in general there's widespread respect for the ability of qualitative research to generate theory. I think that you'll likely have trouble on the econ market with anything other than an econ PhD, though, because economists tend to view their training as superior to that of other social scientists (see: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/jep.29.1.89). You'll also probably have trouble on the soc market with training in economics, as it's less likely that you'll be able to frame your work in a way that interests both quantitative and qualitative scholars. That said, at the best sociology programs you're absolutely able to receive outstanding quantitative training, especially if you make it a priority. As I said before, I think it's best that you read work produced by scholars in each field to see what grabs your attention: what theory interests you, what methods persuade you, whether empirical rigor is sufficient. There are slight "philosophical" differences, so to speak, across these disciplines, so you'll want to pursue training in whichever field produces the kind of research that you most wish to produce.
  12. You're absolutely competitive for these schools, in all three disciplines. Sociology adcomms are very open to applicants who come from other social sciences. I get the impression that this is generally true for political science as well. Political science has in the past few decades really made a move towards applying econometrics to political questions, so I'd imagine your economics credentials will serve you well. Economists might be less open to admitting applicants from other social sciences, but with your MSc that obviously isn't an issue. You'll really need to figure out where you fit, though. You sound like you'll make a strong applicant (especially if you have the GRE scores to match) but you should focus on figuring out where the best disciplinary home is for you. Luckily, you have time. Read articles that interest you from each of these fields and figure out what you find most convincing, most thought-provoking, etc. Best of luck!
  13. sociopolitic

    GRE Scores for Top Sociology PhD Programs

    I think it largely depends on the rest of your profile, and perhaps to a lesser extent on the kind of research you wish to do. If you're applying to learn computational methods, it might be worth studying for the math section and taking the GRE again (unless you have other things you can point to in your profile as preparing you to be a quantitative sociologist). If you're interested in historical research or ethnography, however, it really does depend on the rest of your profile, and probably particularly your GPA and research experience. And of course, pretty much no matter what your SOP will be the most important part of your application.
  14. sociopolitic

    UK PhD or re-apply?

    As far as I've been told the structure of UK PhD programs tends to be rather different than those in the US, and US programs have a definite bias towards hiring US PhDs. If your end goal is a TT job in the US, options 2 and 3 might be safer bets.
  15. I'm doing this on behalf of a friend. Here's her profile. BA in Sociology from a top 20 private school; minors in poverty studies and public policy GPA: 3.636 Research: Senior thesis where she collected interview data 3 years of research experience from 4 different RAships; two of these involved coding newspaper archives, one involved transcribing interviews, and one involved database management Coursework in Statistics (for research, where she became familiar with Stata), sociological methods (where she gained familiarity with Qualtrics) Work: Internship with an education nonprofit GRE: Not taken yet -- what scores should she be shooting for? LORs: Not sure what she would choose. Her senior thesis adviser would write her a stellar rec and is a prominent figure in his field, though because her thesis was qualitative he can't speak to her quantitative skills. She also has a policy professor that would write her a fantastic rec, though he can't really speak to her quantitative ability either. She has a few professors she's RA'd with and taken multiple classes with that would write her great recs, though again they can't speak to her quantitative experience. Her statistics instructor would write a strong letter as well but he was a graduate student when she took his class, so I'm not sure if that's okay (he is a professor now, at another institution). All her recommenders would speak very highly of her but almost none of them can speak to quantitative skills. Concerns: Lack of quantitative research experience. This seems like a potentially large weakness. How can she leverage her qualitative experience to convince admissions committees to admit (and ideally fund) her? Does she need to achieve a stellar quantitative GRE score in order to offset this potential weakness? I should note that she's not going to apply for a couple of years. She's looking for a job in the Ann Arbor area at the moment. It's likely that she'll end up in a research position of some sort. Based on the applications she's submitted recently, it's likely that what job she lands will require mixed methods or more strictly qualitative methods. Any advice for leveraging her resume into a work experience that better prepares her to apply to the Survey Methodology program? Sidenote: We're especially curious whether she might be eligible for any sort of funding. Also, is she competitive for the MPP program at Michigan?

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