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Hi there, I'm starting the process of applying to grad schools for the Fall 2019 semester. Looking at all DC metro area based schools for IR/ Foreign Policy/ Security related programs. Ideally would be going to American or GW. Wondering how much a few things factor into your application when applying. I'm applying directly out of undergrad decent enough grades (3.3), I haven't taken the GRE yet, I have stunning recommendations, and Teaching assistant (in a related course) experience. The one thing I'm hoping will really set my application apart from other direct from undergrad applicants is my internship experience- I've held 5 political internships during my under-grad career (Will be 7 by the time I graduate). 3 of my internships are direct foreign policy/ IR experience (think tanks & DOD), 3 are in Congress, and one is directly political. Question for those further along in the admissions process- how much good does my experience actually do for my application? Thanks in advance.
As with all gigantic life decisions, I am teetering back and forth on which school/program to attend and ultimately getting nowhere. That is why I have decided to reach out to the collective wisdom of you all on Grad Cafe to hopefully give me some insight on which program would be the best for me or at least verify that my concerns are valid. Unfortunately, outside of dealing with Russian Affairs, I have not fully committed to a specific concentration of Global Public Policy (ei Security Policy, Human Rights Policy, Global Governance, etc..). Also, after browsing a few other posts regarding decisions I have noticed that people simply say "School 1 or School 2." I am going to specifically state the schools' names in the hope that former or current students can possibly provide some insight. With that in mind here are my thoughts on the two programs. University of Pittsburgh - GSPIA Would be pursuing Masters in Public and International Affairs with a Major in Security and Intel Studies, a minor in Public Policy Research and Analysis, and a Graduate Certificate in Russian and Eastern European Studies Yes, they call their concentrations and sub-concentration majors and minors I am currently in talks to see if I can switch the major and minor, but one is in the MPIA program and the other is in the MPA program so I have received mixed answers Unique Positives $$$ - Received 75% tuition scholarship and a PA Resident Allows me to really hone my Russian area knowledge with an abundance of interdisciplinary Russian course. Also Pitt also has its own Summer Language Institute with intensive language classes and trips to Moscow Offers a semester in DC in which I would be able to intern and take classes at the prestigious Center for Strategic and International Studies with fellow GSPIA and Maxwell Students Concerns Fear that future job prospects may be lower because of the lack of qualitative themed courses (in comparison to UMN) Poor rankings in comparison ( I know I should not worry about this but its always there) University of Minnesota - The Humphrey School of Public Affairs Would be pursuing a MPP with a Global Policy concentration with a self made sub-concentration Unique Positives Heavy focus on breath of courses and bigger picture ideas. (Multiple stat, finance, and econ courses required) Seems to give students skills instead of strict knowledge which would be better of job prospects Has a very expansive alumni base which seems to almost run the Twin Cities which makes it possible to, for lack of a better term, "experiment" with policy ideas and initiatives USWNR 2016 rank #8 in Public Policy Concerns Only offers 4 Russian Language classes. No other area specific courses Appears better suited to for local and state government affairs (area I am in now and trying to get out of) $$$ - received decent scholarship, but comparatively it is more expensive. However, not unbearable (unlike other top schools which I ruled out) Dean which brought the international element to the program is stepping down in a few months I realize this probably an oversimplification, but I feel as though the decision comes down to specific knowledge v. broad skill set. Which is better? I have no idea that is why I am asking for your help. Anything you all can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Hello, would appreciate thoughts regarding graduate school decisions/comments from people in the same boat. Interested in the Middle East, development, and human rights. I have State Dept. experience and did some volunteer NGO work in Lebanon. Accepted to: Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey - International Policy and Development MA program ($14k fellowship over 2 years) George Washington University - Middle East Studies MA program, concentration in International Affairs and Development ($5k/year fellowship) - waiting on another fellowship that would fully fund 1st year. Fletcher at Tufts University - MALD program ($24k fellowship over 2 years) SAIS at Johns Hopkins University - MA program, no funding still waiting on a decision from the Ford School at University of Michigan (MPP program). SAIS was my #1 because I wanted to strengthen my economic/quant skills.. took an online econ course to prepare and started to reconsider haha, and the $0 funding doesn't help. Fletcher seems up my alley with their human rights rep, and they gave me the most funding, but they're also more expensive than GWU and don't have the DC advantage. Michigan would probably be my top choice if I get accepted because of in-state tuition. Their MPP is ranked 3rd after Berkely and HKS, and they offer several international-oriented courses so I'd still walk away with the skills and expertise that I want. Middlebury is great but can't compare with the other schools, especially considering I will still have to take out significant loans to go there, so it's probably out of the running. I prefer to be abroad post-graduation, and am also considering going the PhD route at some point in the future, so I'd like to be somewhere where I could do an MA thesis. and with that I welcome any thoughts/advice