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5 hours ago, AlphaLvSim said:

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?"

Oh, I also agree that the 24.99% GSRships don't offer very many benefits and know they're somewhat controversial. I know some GPS students who have 50% TA positions in undergrad departments, and while they have more benefits the workload is very heavy.

I don't have any firsthand knowledge of on-campus work opportunities, so I'll not comment on them any further!

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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

2 hours ago, mapiau said:

Oh, I also agree that the 24.99% GSRships don't offer very many benefits and know they're somewhat controversial. I know some GPS students who have 50% TA positions in undergrad departments, and while they have more benefits the workload is very heavy.

I don't have any firsthand knowledge of on-campus work opportunities, so I'll not comment on them any further!

I still appreciate your information/perspective, because my other source (the grad office) has quite an incentive to paint everything in the most favorable light possible.

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On 3/17/2018 at 8:01 AM, 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.

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 think is the best method to obtain these positions? Are some incoming students already appointed to these positions? Thank you! 

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On 3/18/2018 at 4:36 PM, weimala said:

Can anyone tell me what the prep program is like? 

When I took the GPS prep program last year we had two weeks of math camp reviewing high school math and derivative calculus, followed by three weeks of introductory Quantitative Methods and microeconomics. The QM and Econ classes are taught by the professors teaching those classes in the fall quarter, so these prep classes are basically extensions of those classes. Prep is roughly four hours of class time a day, and the QM and Econ classes have finals. Grades aren't recorded however, and it's a good opportunity to get back into the groove of school if you've been away for a few years.

There are also various orientations scattered through prep. Career services does a mandatory orientation covering things like how to format a resume and business etiquette, which is pretty basic if you've worked in the US before but is useful for international students or people straight out of undergrad. 

17 hours ago, aqua123 said:

I just had a follow-up question regarding GSR and TA positions at GPS. What do you think is the best method to obtain these positions? Are some incoming students already appointed to these positions? Thank you! 

I haven't pursued TA or GSR positions at GPS, so I'm not sure. I regularly get emails recruiting for these positions, though.

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Hi @mapiau 

I echo what @aqua123 said. Thank you for providing such detailed insight into GPS.

Do you have any experience with the grad housing? In the limited information I've found online, I've seen mixed reviews. They seemed to be subsidized at a significant rate, making them quite attractive. I saw in a thread from years past that it's not a bad idea to jump on the waiting list ASAP. 

Any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks!

 

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4 hours ago, been_a_g said:

Do you have any experience with the grad housing? In the limited information I've found online, I've seen mixed reviews. They seemed to be subsidized at a significant rate, making them quite attractive. I saw in a thread from years past that it's not a bad idea to jump on the waiting list ASAP. 

I live in on-campus grad housing. When I moved in in Fall 2016 the grad housing was significantly impacted and students in my class often remained on the wait list through their first year. (I was able to move into grad housing in August by saying I wanted to move in during July—I paid for an extra month, but since most students want to move in during August I jumped to the front of the line.) This fall a large new grad housing complex opened (Mesa Nueva), and while I don't know the details my understanding is that the wait list is much shorter now. Most of the first years in the program now seem to live there.

The grad housing is fine. It is very subsidized: doubles are around $600 per month per person, and you'd be hard pressed to find comparable off-campus housing that is reasonably close to the university for under $1,000 per month. The apartments are for the most part comfortable and pretty new (the Mesa apartments are much older), and have full kitchens and shared laundry facilities. They are also close to campus, about a 15 minute bike ride or 40 minute walk. There's a regular shuttle, but it isn't much faster than walking.

The downside is that the surrounding area is mostly office parks and malls with few restaurants or bars and not much of a city life feel, and are about a 20 minute drive (without traffic) from the more exciting SD neighborhoods. Some of the One Miramar St apartments face Interstate 5 and have lots of highway noise. Also between the new grad apartments, San Diego trolley expansion, and other projects the East Campus grad housing will be surrounded by noisy (24 hour a day for the trolley) construction sites for the next few years. Most of the apartments aren't furnished either.

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Hi, I am admitted to MIA but I have not been awarded a merit-base fellowship... Thank you for information about TA and RA. I hope I can work as TA or RA to compensate the tuition to some extent.

I have a question about alumni's recent PhD admissions. According to an assistant director, some alumni each year go on to enter top PhD programs.

Does anyone know to which PhD programs MIA alumni were admitted over the past five years?

Because I pursue a PhD, I am intensely curious to know about that, but I didn't find such information on the GPS web page. I didn't get a reply to the question from the admission office, either . I have to compare several Master programs in terms of alumni's later PhD admissions to choose which program I should take.

Thanks.

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5 hours ago, bonacia said:

Hi, I am admitted to MIA but I have not been awarded a merit-base fellowship... Thank you for information about TA and RA. I hope I can work as TA or RA to compensate the tuition to some extent.

I have a question about alumni's recent PhD admissions. According to an assistant director, some alumni each year go on to enter top PhD programs.

Does anyone know to which PhD programs MIA alumni were admitted over the past five years?

Because I pursue a PhD, I am intensely curious to know about that, but I didn't find such information on the GPS web page. I didn't get a reply to the question from the admission office, either . I have to compare several Master programs in terms of alumni's later PhD admissions to choose which program I should take.

Thanks.

I'm interested in finding out the same thing. I was lucky enough to be offered a full-ride, but one of my qualms is a lack of PhD program at GPS. According to their website, they only accept one or two PhD students each year. For this reason, I'm considering a similar offer at LBJ where they have an established PhD program, and, as they like to boast, "are a tier-1 research school." 

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17 minutes ago, been_a_g said:

I'm interested in finding out the same thing. I was lucky enough to be offered a full-ride, but one of my qualms is a lack of PhD program at GPS. According to their website, they only accept one or two PhD students each year. For this reason, I'm considering a similar offer at LBJ where they have an established PhD program, and, as they like to boast, "are a tier-1 research school." 

Thanks for your comment. Oh, congratulations on the fellowship! Yes, I  hear that the number of admitted applicants to the joint PhD program is very limited so that only few can enroll even from its Master programs. I am also considering other programs.

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1 hour ago, been_a_g said:

I'm interested in finding out the same thing. I was lucky enough to be offered a full-ride, but one of my qualms is a lack of PhD program at GPS. According to their website, they only accept one or two PhD students each year. For this reason, I'm considering a similar offer at LBJ where they have an established PhD program, and, as they like to boast, "are a tier-1 research school." 

The GPS PhD cohort is very, very small, but don't forget that you also have the UCSD Department of Politics PhD program on campus, and UCSD is a top 10 school.

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From what I understand the masters programs at GPS are not intended to lead into PhDs. Almost all graduates go straight into professional work and relatively few go on to get PhDs. 

For example, the stats here: https://gps.ucsd.edu/careers-internships/employment.html indicate that only 2% of recent GPS students go on to further study. 

 

I've talked to some current students at GPS and they indicated that the relatively low number of PhD students was a strength of the program. They said that since the professors did not have as many PhD students to manage they could focus their attention more clearly on the masters degree students. 

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I'm weighing Goldman and UCSD right now -- and something that gives me some pause about GPS is that such a high share of graduates go into private industry. This doesn't seem to be the case across other MPP programs -- does anyone here have any idea why this may be the case? 

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On 3/30/2018 at 1:42 AM, weimala said:

From what I understand the masters programs at GPS are not intended to lead into PhDs. Almost all graduates go straight into professional work and relatively few go on to get PhDs. 

Yes, while a few GPS students are admitted to PhD programs (and there are more who come in wanting to pursue a PhD in the future) it is a professional program and is not focused on preparing students for PhDs. The various capstone project options also are professionally-focused rather than an original research thesis. If you strongly want to pursue a PhD other programs may be more relevant.

On 3/30/2018 at 11:53 AM, glopez said:

I'm weighing Goldman and UCSD right now -- and something that gives me some pause about GPS is that such a high share of graduates go into private industry. This doesn't seem to be the case across other MPP programs -- does anyone here have any idea why this may be the case? 

I think there are a couple things going on here. First the GPS employment outcome statistics do not include MPP students since the program is so new. Second is that the overall program's high share of students going into the private sector may be due to the MIA degree's International Management career track offers more MBA-like courses than other International Affairs programs (this track was originally established before UCSD had a business school, and remains separate from it today). Third is the West Coast location, which in my mind makes it a bit easier to apply to employers here than in other parts of the country. While the Bay Area has a big tech-funded philanthropy cluster the West Coast has nowhere near the same number of nonprofit or government jobs as the East Coast.

As I've said before while many GPS students intern and subsequently get jobs in DC if you know you want to work there GPS may not be the program for you. There are resources to help DC focused students like the annual career services trip to DC (students have to pay for this; not an insignificant expense), a government-focused full-time career services employee,  and I *think* a new option to do a quarter in DC through the UC-wide UC DC program, though I don't know the details and you should definitely ask admissions if this is important to you. But job hunting in DC from San Diego is definitely puts you at a disadvantage compared to programs located in DC. Other financial, academic, etc. considerations may outweigh this downside for you, but it is real.

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Thank you for your answers here @mapiau. They've been really helpful. I was hoping you could answer a few more below.

The GPS website is very light on course sequencing. How does it usually work? Looking at the course schedule, I assume that during your first you take 3 core classes each quarter, and then delve into elections during you second year.

Language acquisition was certainly a draw for me, and your assessment of undergrad language classes as not so great is definitely worrying. Are there any language departments which are known to be better than others. I also noticed some languages like Korean are only taught by their respective departments, some like Bahasa are taught only by GPS, while others, like Chinese, are taught both at GPS and by their own departments. What's the difference in these classes? In the case of Chinese, for example, am I required to take it from the GPS school or am free to take it from the other departments? Is the instruction quality better at GPS or at the undergrad departments?

Are academic exchanges at all common? Do you know of any students who took classes at the Public Policy school of the U of Tokyo?

Finally, was wondering if you could tell us of any real standout, unmissable professors at GPS.

Edited by jcmachad
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5 hours ago, jcmachad said:

The GPS website is very light on course sequencing. How does it usually work? Looking at the course schedule, I assume that during your first you take 3 core classes each quarter, and then delve into elections during you second year.

Yeah, most of the first year curriculum is filled with core classes, with electives and the capstone during the second year. For the MIA a typical first year is:

Fall

  • GPCO 401. Microeconomics for Policy and Management
  • GPCO 412. Globalization, the World System, and the Pacific 
  • GPCO 453. Quantitative Methods I 
  • Language

Winter

  • GPCO 400. Policy-Making Processes
  • GPCO 415. Accounting and Finance for Policy Makers 
  • GPCO 454. Quantitative Methods II 
  • Language

Spring

  • GPCO 403. International Economics
  • GPCO 410. International Politics and Security
  • Language
  • Elective

Of course, if you're in the MIA but don't have to take language classes this opens up a lot of slots for electives. Some people also waive core classes, but this is pretty hard to do. (For example, I was an econ major in undergrad but was only able to waive QM 1.) Last year a lot of people wanted to waive International Security but weren't allowed to.

The career tracks usually only require two required classes and three electives (from a broad list), so there's a lot of room to customize them. While there is no waitlist for any GPS course unfortunately classes are only offered once a year and sometimes not every year (this is pretty rare). In a two year program this means that scheduling conflicts may mean you miss classes you want, and I wouldn't recommend choosing to attend GPS based on one specific course you want to take since you might not be able to.

5 hours ago, jcmachad said:

Language acquisition was certainly a draw for me, and your assessment of undergrad language classes as not so great is definitely worrying. Are there any language departments which are known to be better than others. I also noticed some languages like Korean are only taught by their respective departments, some like Bahasa are taught only by GPS, while others, like Chinese, are taught both at GPS and by their own departments. What's the difference in these classes? In the case of Chinese, for example, am I required to take it from the GPS school or am free to take it from the other departments? Is the instruction quality better at GPS or at the undergrad departments?

I only took one Spanish class at GPS so can only speak to that. I *believe* that Spanish and Chinese are only offered at GPS from the intermediate level up, so if you are just starting you would have to take undergraduate classes. Otherwise you would take the intermediate+ courses at GPS. I've heard complaints about the undergrad classes from people in my cohort (the undergrad language classes are five units and like 6 hours per week, more than GPS language classes), and personally had bad experiences in UCSD Spanish classes years ago as an undergrad. Your experience in other languages may be different, however. If you really care about the language course offerings I would encourage you to ask admissions.

One thing to potentially be aware of in the MIA is that international students can only waive the language requirement if they are native speakers of a GPS "Pacific" language—good news if you're from east Asia, not great if you are from Africa.

5 hours ago, jcmachad said:

Are academic exchanges at all common? Do you know of any students who took classes at the Public Policy school of the U of Tokyo?

I don't know. 

5 hours ago, jcmachad said:

Finally, was wondering if you could tell us of any real standout, unmissable professors at GPS.

The hands-down best instructor at GPS is Craig McIntosh, who teaches QM3 and QM4 and some of the development courses. Jennifer Burney who teaches QM2 is also good, as is 
Stephan Haggard who does Globalization and Asian security stuff. In environmental and energy policy David G. Victor is very famous and is a good lecturer. I haven't had either of them but I've heard good things about the new economics and marketing professors Uma Karmarkar and Renee Bowen. Bill Bold, who was a former VP at Qualcomm, just started teaching business classes and is a great lecturer and assigns lots of assignments with real-world feels.

I've taken mostly energy and business/finance, so only know those professors personally. Aside from these standouts most GPS professors are good-to-average. Unfortunately some professors are boring or bad lecturers, and there are two or three older professors who are disorganized and poor to very poor teachers. Aside from them I have been pretty satisfied with the overall quality of the teaching, though some students disagree.

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Guys, while I received my admission package two weeks ago, I am still to receive the financial package reply, which I understood from the admission email that it will be decided separately. Is anyone else in this situation and what would you recommend me to do? Should I call them?

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1 hour ago, Marius G said:

Guys, while I received my admission package two weeks ago, I am still to receive the financial package reply, which I understood from the admission email that it will be decided separately. Is anyone else in this situation and what would you recommend me to do? Should I call them?

I  called the office a few weeks ago to ask about funding, and they were very friendly and provided me with an update. I think you should call them. 

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Thanks so much for your thoughtful responses.

On 4/3/2018 at 7:03 PM, mapiau said:

The hands-down best instructor at GPS is Craig McIntosh, who teaches QM3 and QM4 and some of the development courses. Jennifer Burney who teaches QM2 is also good.

Some of the core classes are pretty huge w/ more than 100 students. How are students assessed in these large classes? Assume multiple choice exams with some essay questions that are graded by the TAs?

More broadly, beyond the 100+ student courses, what would you say is the prevalence of group projects vs. papers and individual projects as final assignments? What about for the quant courses?

 

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8 hours ago, jcmachad said:

Some of the core classes are pretty huge w/ more than 100 students. How are students assessed in these large classes? Assume multiple choice exams with some essay questions that are graded by the TAs?

Yes, the core classes are held in an auditorium-style lecture hall and are large. These classes usually have homework assignments and midterms and finals graded by TAs. For example, QM2 has 4 pretty intense homework assignments that are done in the statistical program Stata (students turn in their writeups as well as their code), as well as an individual final project and in-class written final. Policy-Making Processes (PMP) has in-class tests, 2 individual policy memo homework assignments, and cold calling. (Cold calling in such large classes is kinda challenging and some professors manage it more naturally than others.)

8 hours ago, jcmachad said:

More broadly, beyond the 100+ student courses, what would you say is the prevalence of group projects vs. papers and individual projects as final assignments? What about for the quant courses?

It depends, but group papers are pretty common. Just the other day I was wondering whether I had a good qualitative research paper to submit for a writing prize and realized that I'd only written one research paper by myself in two years at GPS, and that was supposed to be a paper authored by two students but there was an odd number of students in the class!

There are a good number of courses with individual paper requirements, but I would say that in the school overall the emphasis is more on shorter policy memos and group projects. Of the MIA capstones only QM4 has an individual paper requirement (not sure about the MPP or MCEPA capstones), with the international politics capstone is a group research paper and Strategy & Negotiation and the new energy capstone is a group consulting project for an external client. Especially during the second year there are more final projects than final exams: I think during fall and winter quarter this year I've only had three finals but six final projects of varying intensity. (For example, one of these was a capstone group consulting project with a 20 minute presentation, one a group quant research paper, one an individual corporate strategy proposal.)

Quant courses tend to have individual projects. QM2 and 3 both have (kinda hectic and rushed, since you do them during week 9 and 10) individual final poster assignments. QM4 and the GIS series all produce single-author papers.

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7 hours ago, mapiau said:

Quant courses tend to have individual projects. QM2 and 3 both have (kinda hectic and rushed, since you do them during week 9 and 10) individual final poster assignments. QM4 and the GIS series all produce single-author papers.

Won't let me edit, but I checked and the GIS series lets students do their projects in groups.

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  • 1 month later...

Hey all! I'll be attending GPS in the fall and I'm excited for classes to start. So far, I have not heard anything from the school if I should be doing anything as classes start. (I know there's a calendar that they posted in their website but it's pretty vague). 

Is anyone actively doing anything to prepare? I know the class schedule for the fall was released. Have you all set up your triton accounts? Do you plan to attend the summer prep? 

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Hey folks, I'll be starting the MIA program this fall, and will also be attending summer prep.  I would love to start linking with people.  Also, I just recently made the move from LA to SD, and if anybody has any questions about off campus housing I might be able to help!

Out of curiosity did any of you folks attend the admitted students day? I'm wondering if we might have bumped into one another

Also, I wanted to add my 2 cents on the PhD side of GPS.  I originally applied to the PhD program, and was subsequently denied and offered a spot in the MIA program.  I talked with career services and they assured me that although they don't put out a ton of PhD students there are definitely resources for those who are considering that route.  I also believe one of the capstone courses is geared towards creating a research paper for academically/PhD minded folks.  I also second that UCSD's Political Science PhD program is phenomenal.  I've heard it referred to as one of the best routes in the US to a full time professorship.

Also, regarding the private sector statistics, Career Services really seems to take pride in that number. For me, it was one of the reasons I chose GPS.  I see it as a broadening of options particularly for those who, like me, are worried about debt/job prospects post masters.

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