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Columbia QMSS vs. UGA MMR vs. WMU EMR


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Hi all,

I am a current senior looking to go to a short masters program. I am interested in doing applied social research in industry, while leaving myself open to eventually pursuing a PhD. I have a significant other who is a year younger than me that will be graduating next April, so I'd like to coordinate my plans loosely with that if possible.

I just received my first rejection from my top choice (Brown's Masters in Social Analysis and Research) and I'm still reeling from it, but I am fortunate to have some really great options on the table (one of which I have 3 days to accept) and I really have no idea where to go. I'd like to hear some opinions.

Program 1: Columbia University, Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences

Pros: Ivy League prestige and recognition, great focus for what I want to do (market research, program evaluation, data analysis, etc.), 1 year program (works well for me), starts in Fall, great for career outcomes AND as an eventual stepping stone to PhD, opportunity for research assistantships (but they are competitive upon accepting)

Cons: It's incredibly expensive (upwards of $80,000 tuition+CoL), I'm not keen on NYC as a location (too busy/stressful of a city for me), does not include any qualitative research applications (which I think is extremely important)

Program 2: University of Georgia, Master of Marketing Research

Pros: Mid-range cost (~$50,000), opportunity for funding through tuition waiver/assistantship (but not definite), has an almost perfect job placement rate for the past 5 years, is a year long program

Cons: Starts in June, I'd have to defer for a year due to some personal circumstances, it only covers one aspect of my interests (market research), it's a full 12 month program as opposed to 9 months at QMSS, still pretty pricey

Program 3: Western Michigan University, Masters in Evaluation, Measurement, and Research

Pros: I have an assistantship offer that would provide me with valuable experience while also covering all of my tuition AND would pay me a stipend of $13,000 each year, I wouldn't have to uproot my life since this is also where I earned my undergraduate degree. There are a lot of personal factors that also make this a very logical decision.

Cons: The program is not prestigious or well known, an advisor from the program has told me that it's more of a stepping stone to a PhD than a program to go into industry with. The focus is on paper just general social sciences, but almost all of the faculty do research pertaining to k-12 education, something that I have very little interest in.

So, there are my options. What do you think I should do? If anyone has any information about these programs I would LOVE to hear them.

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