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The Elliot School or Uchicago CIR


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Hello, 

With the April 15th deadline for decision at GW fast approaching, I have been facing a lot of stress in deciding between two programs for IR. I was accepted into the IR and Latin America and Hemispheric Studies program at the elliot school and also received admission to Uchicago's Committee on International Relations. I was able to attend an online admitted student session for the Elliot School in addition to a campus visit day last summer- I came away from both of these events feeling very encouraged and amazed by the vast resources and opportunities Elliot has to offer, and have recently been in contact with several alums who have had nothing but positive experiences to share with me. However, yesterday I attending the admitted student day at Chicago and now feel torn between the two programs. After comparing both of the academic presentations,  I feel as though these programs are moving in different directions; Chicago has a mandatory thesis requirement with intense focus on academics, Elliot seems more geared towards professional development. 

Are there any alums from either of these programs that could comment on their experiences and maybe provide some more clarity to this decision making process? 

Anyone else making this decision- what are some of the areas that you think stand out from each program that made you decide to pursue or not pursue one or the other?

Of course I feel very lucky to be given a choice between these two great programs and most definitely appreciate any advice/comments about either experience. 

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I got accepted to CIR and considered but didn't finish applying to Elliot.  The Elliot school just didn't appeal to me as much because I wanted to be an academic.  Seems more of a personal question about what you want.

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I got into the same program as well and am very interested in going to their ASD this Friday.  I also heard great things from their alums as I reached out to them as well.  I'm waiting on a couple of schools to finally round out my decision.  Very seldomly hear about IR Latin American Studies  on here so it's nice to see others having the same anxiety (for better or for worse).

Were you able to sit in on a class? 

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What do you want to do with the degree? You already discovered the main difference: Elliot is professional and Chicago is pre-PhD. Obviously you can get a job after Chicago and you can get a PhD after Elliot (well, if you pivot that way early), but in terms of the natural advantages either program gives you, they are like this. If you go to Elliot, you'll have lots of opportunity and time to intern in the city while doing the degree, which for pre-professional is the more important thing. If you go to Chicago, idk how vibrant the local professional scene is for your interests, but it's a very intense and short program, so you might just not have the time to do anything substantial outside of school. Chicago is also seen as more academically rigorous than most programs, certainly Elliot - but that may not matter for you. Cost of living in Chicago is also 60% cheaper than DC.

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17 hours ago, RMadrid17 said:

I got into the same program as well and am very interested in going to their ASD this Friday.  I also heard great things from their alums as I reached out to them as well.  I'm waiting on a couple of schools to finally round out my decision.  Very seldomly hear about IR Latin American Studies  on here so it's nice to see others having the same anxiety (for better or for worse).

Were you able to sit in on a class? 

Hi RMadrid17- 

Are you referring to a class at GW, or a class at Uchicago? I was only able to attend the admitted student day for Chicago and did get the opportunity to sit in on a class there. It was through the law school, so that was a really fascinating perspective. I have also heard many great things from alums at GW from both the IR and the LA programs- it will likely be a difficult decision! 

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17 hours ago, ExponentialDecay said:

What do you want to do with the degree? You already discovered the main difference: Elliot is professional and Chicago is pre-PhD. Obviously you can get a job after Chicago and you can get a PhD after Elliot (well, if you pivot that way early), but in terms of the natural advantages either program gives you, they are like this. If you go to Elliot, you'll have lots of opportunity and time to intern in the city while doing the degree, which for pre-professional is the more important thing. If you go to Chicago, idk how vibrant the local professional scene is for your interests, but it's a very intense and short program, so you might just not have the time to do anything substantial outside of school. Chicago is also seen as more academically rigorous than most programs, certainly Elliot - but that may not matter for you. Cost of living in Chicago is also 60% cheaper than DC.

ExponentialDecay, 

Thank you so much for the thoughts on this! I think its easy to feel a little lost in the information that programs seem to inundate prospective students with and search for what the distinguishing strengths of each school really is, so viewing the respective schools in regards to their natural advantages is extremely helpful. Good point about the costs of living too! 

Edited by bakerrl5
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Yeah, I should've been more clear on that.  Did you sit in on a class at GW?  I'm looking forward to tomorrow though. and I'm especially interested in seeing what their study abroad programs as well.  Pretty critical to get in country experience too

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RMadrid17- 

No, unfortunately I was unable to attend a course at GW when I visited this past summer. However, looking over some sample syllabi from the courses offered there did give some helpful insight about whats covered and the depth of reading.

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I got into elliott's middle east and International affairs MA and CIR. I wish to pursue a career in academia so i'm bending towards CIR, however one thing that worries me is that my regional area of interest is Middle East - and CIR doesn't seem to have much on contemporary middle east ( in terms of courses) its more of theoretical IR program intensive of security ideas I guess. I'm hoping that I can cover up on ME via workshops etc and my prior experience. Idk how it is for latin american specialization though 

 

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