Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Starting a thread for UCSD since I haven't seen one for this year. 

 

Is anyone considering attending? I'm waiting to hear back on funding but I'm excited about this program. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 52
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Thank you for all the detailed responses you've provided in this forum. They are really insightful and informative. I just had a follow-up question regarding GSR and TA positions at GPS. What do you t

I'm a graduating second-year Masters of International Affairs at GPS, and happy to answer any questions people might have.

I think the strengths of the program are its variety, quantitative rigor, and the network (more on this later). GPS has a pretty broad variety of classes and the degree requirements are flexible, mean

I got into the MPP at GPS, and I am very excited thanks to the school's focus on S&SE Asia. However, most of their funding is for in-state students, and hardly any money is given out to international students. It might make it very difficult for me to attend the program. :(

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in for MIA with a generous scholarship. It's likely my final choice as I got into JHU, American-SIS, and GW but received little to no funding at each. I've heard it's a great program but I'll miss out on being in DC. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am considering attending if I receive a tuition waiver to supplement my Fulbright Award. I like the focus on Asia-Pacific and the location but it will be hard to turn down GWU Trachtenberg, which offered me a nice Fellowship. I am also an international applicant. 

Edited by Marius G
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, VeryCheesey said:

Hi @weimala, when did you receive the scholarship information? I am still waiting on the official admission letter from the University!

I got an email about it yesterday. I applied over a week before the Jan 15 deadline. Not sure if that makes a difference. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, mapiau said:

I'm a graduating second-year Masters of International Affairs at GPS, and happy to answer any questions people might have.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions!

I would love to hear any of your opinions or thoughts on the program, good and bad.  

Also, I'm wondering how likely it is for students who are admitted with no aid to secure funding in later semesters.

I'm anxiously awaiting news on financial aid, but considering biting the bullet if I receive no funding at first.  (I'm a CA resident already)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi guys. I have a dilemma. I was admitted into GPS but I did not receive any word on funding, yet. Did any of you receive the funding package together with the admission package or separately? I am reading the admission letter from the dean and it says 

"Please confirm your intention to enroll at the university by May 1, 2018 through the link provided in your
official notice from the UC San Diego Graduate Division. All fellowship decisions are made separate from
admissions decisions, and you will receive the result of the committee deliberation in mid-March
."

Which means that I should expect another email with funding info, if any?

Best to all.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Marius G said:

Disregard my previous post. I just got a notice that UCSD GPS will send the financial packages on March 19th.

Hmm..I did not receive this email..Does that generally mean I did not qualify for any funding?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @mapiau

Few questions:

  1. Can you tell me how "real" the curriculum is? What I mean is, how much of the class hours are actually spent looking at real-world policy issues?
  2. The MPP at GPS is a very new program - Can you still give some reasons to take it up?
  3. As an international student, I feel that the F-1 visa OPT of 1 year for public policy and international relations is very short, and I am not sure how the school links you to international careers. Do you have any information?

Thanks for your help! :) 

Edited by VeryCheesey
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/15/2018 at 12:02 AM, wms9768 said:

I would love to hear any of your opinions or thoughts on the program, good and bad.  

I think the strengths of the program are its variety, quantitative rigor, and the network (more on this later). GPS has a pretty broad variety of classes and the degree requirements are flexible, meaning that it is easy to take the classes that are relevant to your goals. While students have career tracks (MIA) and areas of specialization (MPP), the actual requirements for these are so broad that the actual track you take is fairly meaningless since they're so flexible. The downside of this is if you don't know what you want to do or which classes are the most useful given your goals the lack of structure can be lead you to taking electives you don't benefit from.

I can't speak to other programs but the quantitative methods courses stand out to me. Most students take the QM series through the optional QM3, and many take the QM4 research capstone.* I was an econ major in undergrad and I learned a lot more in even QM2 than my year of undergrad econometrics. While QM3 is optional I would highly recommend that you plan on taking it, since quantitative edge is a core competency of this program and it opens up a lot of second-year classes. Additionally, many other later classes (the GIS series, trade classes, some of the regional classes) rely on concepts from QM2 and 3 and if you avoid these classes you're put at a disadvantage. Be realistic about what these classes get you—they are not an econ PhD—but they seem pretty valued by employers and students regularly get quant-focused development jobs.

Overall I think the program is strongest in international development, economics, and energy. GPS offers a lot of international security classes and the professors in this area are quite accomplished, but while I can't speak to this firsthand I think the distance from DC is a real handicap here. The alumni network is a mixed bag: on the one hand it is certainly smaller than the networks from older, larger programs like SAIS, but on the other hand I think GPS' lower profile makes alumni more motivated to lend a hand to current students. The alumni network is also pretty concentrated in California, which can be a plus or a minus depending on if you want to remain here or not. For an international affairs program most alumni aren't working in particularly "international" positions, but I think that is true of many programs and again may be a plus or minus depending on your goals.

The final strength of the school is its carer services department. There are four full-time career services folks for around 300-ish students in the program, which I understand is a pretty good ratio. While of course they can't get you a job they are very consistent about send out positions and connecting students with alumni, and can usually review a cover letter or conduct a mock interview with you on a few days notice. Additionally many of the classes have a strong emphasis on memo writing (I personally haven't written many research papers in this program) and presenting, which is very helpful on the job market.

The weaknesses of GPS are pretty obvious: the alumni network is more limited and West Coast-focused than other schools, and in some fields being so far from DC can be limiting. The School's name recognition is not amazing, and worse so after the recent name change. (Until a few years ago it was International Relations/Pacific Studies or IR/PS.) The quality of teaching is in my opinion pretty good but also highly variable, and there are a couple not great-to-terrible teachers that students avoid. Professors also regularly launch new classes, which is general a plus but sometimes are very poorly planned. The quarter system is also very fast-paced and makes the capstone classes with major projects or outside consulting work very challenging because it leaves so little time (ten weeks) to complete these classes' work products. Students' work suffers in these classes because of the fast pace, but this is arguably good practice for the private sector.

I also think the popular international management track leads to students graduating with an "MBA-lite" degree but without much finance that doesn't seem too useful. You can seek these finance classes out, but it's something to be aware of and you should avoid applying for jobs where you're competing directly with MBAs since the degrees are not equivalent.

Despite recently dropping "Pacific" from the school name GPS is still very Pacific focused, and if you want to study Africa, the Middle East, or Europe there is nothing for you here. (There are very few foreign students from these regions as well.) The regional classes in general vary in quality: there are lots of students who aren't too motivated because they're in the MIA but don't care much about their region of focus (mostly in the Latin America track, which has the easiest language requirement), and the smaller regions like Japan and Southeast Asia are neglected in terms of numbers of professors and classes. The language classes are also not amazing and if you're just starting a language you have to take undergrad classes, which by all accounts are terrible.

The student body is also a mixed bag. There are a LOT of very motivated, impressive students here, and some stars that go on to very impressive careers. However, GPS is not a particularly competitive program and there are a lot of students who are straight out of undergrad or 22 year olds coming directly from UCSD's undergrad through the BA/MIA program. This doesn't make them unintelligent of course, but the lack of real-world experience or career direction is sometimes obvious. Classroom participation is also sometimes low and there are classes where there are the same half-dozen students talking. 

On 3/15/2018 at 12:02 AM, wms9768 said:

 Also, I'm wondering how likely it is for students who are admitted with no aid to secure funding in later semesters.

I'm anxiously awaiting news on financial aid, but considering biting the bullet if I receive no funding at first.  (I'm a CA resident already)

I don't know if it's possible to receive financial aid later on. I do know being awarded a Dean's Fellow (which are awarded to like 15–20 first years) only gets you like $500 and is more of a social obligation (as in Dean's Fellows have to organize/attend events) than a scholarship.

*QM3 and QM4 have misleading course names. If you're looking at the course catalog QM3 is listed as Applied Data Analysis and Statistical Decision Making and QM4 is titled Evaluating Technological Innovation for some reason.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

7 hours ago, VeryCheesey said:

Can you tell me how "real" the curriculum is? What I mean is, how much of the class hours are actually spent looking at real-world policy issues?

I can't give you an exact breakdown, but the courses are more "real" than theoretical. Most courses focus on real-world problems and use real data for quant assignments. I believe that all of the capstone classes also involve working with outside clients, which is challenging and clients can very a lot in attention/quality but is certainly real-world. (Occasionally clients fall through for these classes, but they remain focused on concrete policy problems.) In addition to the capstone courses the QM and GIS courses have a project component, as do most of the business courses. These are usually pretty rushed due to the quarter system, but that's good training in my opinion.

There's also a big focus on concise memo-writing and presenting, which I think is much more "real-world" than 15 page essay writing if you're aiming for a job outside of academia.

7 hours ago, VeryCheesey said:

The MPP at GPS is a very new program - Can you still give some reasons to take it up?

I'm not a MPP student, and the program's newness is definitely a valid concern. There is no MPP alumni network anywhere because none have graduated with, and this is a downside you will have to weigh against the strengths of the program. One thing I would recommend is poking around on linkedin and identifying MIA students (this was known as the MPIA degree in the past, Masters of Pacific International Affairs) in MPP-type careers to investigate whether the MIA network could partially make up for the lack of an MPP network. 

7 hours ago, VeryCheesey said:

As an international student, I feel that the F-1 visa OPT of 1 year for public policy and international relations is very short, and I am not sure how the school links you to international careers. Do you have any information?

Sorry but I can't help here—as am American student I don't know much about and have no personal experience of this.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am currently on the fence RE: UCSD.  I applied to the MPP program, and despite its newness, the program seems solid.  In the end, funding is likely a factor; currently the only fellowship that they awarded me is for the first year out of state tuition.

Since I live near DC I am going to go to the event on March 29th; anyone else planning to go?

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, mapiau said:

I don't know if it's possible to receive financial aid later on

Hi @mapiau, thanks for your detailed response. From what I understand the quarter system is extremely hectic. Does this imply that it would be impossible to take up RA/TA positions to receive funding from the university?

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, VeryCheesey said:

Hi @mapiau, thanks for your detailed response. From what I understand the quarter system is extremely hectic. Does this imply that it would be impossible to take up RA/TA positions to receive funding from the university?

PhD student here, but I spend some time at GPS.  As far as I know, TAships are fairly rare for GPS students - econ/poli sci have their own grad students - but I do know people on RAships.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, artibasos said:

PhD student here, but I spend some time at GPS.  As far as I know, TAships are fairly rare for GPS students - econ/poli sci have their own grad students - but I do know people on RAships.

I disagree that TA and RA (GSR or Graduate Student Researcher is the more common term) positions are rare for GPS students. While GPS students don't TA for undergrad econ or poli sci classes many have TA jobs in the undergrad college writing programs (which don't have their own grad students), and a decent number of second year GPS students TA for first year classes. I don't know the actual numbers, but off the top of my head I'd say roughly a quarter to a third of second years are TAs or GSRs. And yes this is extremely hectic with the quarter system, but people make it work.

I don't know the details, but be aware that a decent number of GSR positions are for 24.99% time and have less benefits than 25% time positions. You could probably reach out to admissions or student affairs if you have more questions.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, mapiau said:

I disagree that TA and RA (GSR or Graduate Student Researcher is the more common term) positions are rare for GPS students. While GPS students don't TA for undergrad econ or poli sci classes many have TA jobs in the undergrad college writing programs (which don't have their own grad students), and a decent number of second year GPS students TA for first year classes. I don't know the actual numbers, but off the top of my head I'd say roughly a quarter to a third of second years are TAs or GSRs. And yes this is extremely hectic with the quarter system, but people make it work.

I don't know the details, but be aware that a decent number of GSR positions are for 24.99% time and have less benefits than 25% time positions. You could probably reach out to admissions or student affairs if you have more questions.

This is interesting.  I had a length conversation with staff at GPS and they indicated that essentially I should decline any 24.99% positions (9.5 hours) since 10 hours was the threshold for 50% base tuition remittance, and the impression I got was that departments that offered 24.99% were being scuzzy.  Of course that is just one person's opinion. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, AlphaLvSim said:

This is interesting.  I had a length conversation with staff at GPS and they indicated that essentially I should decline any 24.99% positions (9.5 hours) since 10 hours was the threshold for 50% base tuition remittance, and the impression I got was that departments that offered 24.99% were being scuzzy.  Of course that is just one person's opinion. 

I'll defer to you then. I don't know which portion of GPS students with TAships or GSRs are at 24.99% versus higher.

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, mapiau said:

I'll defer to you then. I don't know which portion of GPS students with TAships or GSRs are at 24.99% versus higher.

Well, I don't know how much stock I would put in my conversation.  I didn't mean it to sound like I was contradicting you, but more along the lines of "hm, the grad office has a product to sell, I wonder if they were sugar coating?"

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.