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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. Just want to point out that while this may be true in STEM, it is untrue in the social sciences.
  2. By the way, since your AW score is a tad low, make sure that your writing sample really shows that you know how to write! From what I understand, writing samples tend to mostly be skimmed to verify that the faculty won't have to teach you how to write. For domestic applicants, this usually means that their samples aren't looked at very long; international applicants tend to have these scrutinized a bit more closely, though.
  3. Hm, I'm not sure whether it is or not. It's probably about the same? But I'm pretty sure you can send both scores, which I think I definitely would in your case.
  4. If your goal is really social work, I'm not sure that it's worth applying to sociology PhD programs. The focus there is pretty much exclusively on social science research; if you're sure you want an MSW and the career paths that come with it, a sociology PhD will do almost nothing to get you there. That said, you could absolutely be competitive at PhD programs, but only if you're applying with a clear vision of the kind of research agenda you might wish to develop. Anyway, chances are that if you write an SOP talking about how you want to use your degree to work in the nonprofit sector, you won't be accepted by the PhD programs. They're looking for young researchers to train (which you definitely have the experience for, if not the desire); their aim isn't to train social workers. TL;DR: if you want to learn how to develop a research agenda, go for the PhD. Otherwise I'd recommend staying in nonprofits and applying exclusively to MSW programs. A sociology PhD just won't further your career unless you're deadset on being a researcher.
  5. It should be noted that MAPSS is a bit of an afterthought for Chicago faculty, who are occupied with students in their own departments first and foremost. That's not to say that MAPSS isn't worth it -- you just have to be a self-starter and make it worth it. Go to talks, really take the chance to think through your interests and ask faculty good questions, and it can absolutely be worthwhile. I have friends who came out of the program and benefitted greatly from it.
  6. Typically programs in the USNWR top 20-40 offer funding to students, at least in my field.
  7. This is extremely true. With a background like yours, you'll likely be a desirable prospect at a number of departments that have at least a couple folks working in computational social science. Places like UCLA, Cornell, Duke, Columbia, Michigan, Penn State, Chicago, UNC, Princeton, and even Harvard would look upon your work history and coding experience very favorably. That said, the computational folks at those institutions tend to very different things, so I recommend finding interesting work that was published in sociology recently and try to identify the departments with faculty who do the work that interests you most. Out of curiosity, what sorts of questions are you interested in answering within sociology?
  8. With regard to your first question: I, like you, became interested in sociology when I realized that the sorts of questions I'm interested in don't seem to be central to political science. (That said, since sociology is so broad, almost nothing is "central" to the field in any meaningful sense; there is much more consensus, at least among subfields, about what is "core" to political science as a discipline). In my case, I realized that political scientists (other than a handful of theorists) pay an inadequate amount of attention to the role culture plays in politics. Measuring the influence of meaning and systems of meaning simply isn't something political scientists are really concerned with (although in recent years there has been some political science research roughly in this realm). Anyway, based on what you identified as the thing drawing you to sociology (attention to social network influence), you should look into Harrison White's students. Breiger at Arizona, Granovetter at Stanford, Mische at Notre Dame, Laumann at Chicago, and Bearman at Columbia all play particularly close attention to networks in their social research. Bearman in particular has written about "analytical sociology" which is the approach that it sounds like you're most drawn toward.
  9. 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!
  10. 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!
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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!
  15. 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.
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