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Decisions - Oxford vs. Columbia SIPA or others?


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Hi all. I've luckily received a few great acceptances, but am having a hard time deciding what is the right choice, and would love to hear some experiences.

I am torn between Oxford (MSc Refugee and Forced Migration Studies) and Columbia - SIPA (Masters in International Affairs, focused on Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy).

I've also had offers from Sciences Po (Human Rights and Humanitarian Action), IHEID (MDev), SOAS (Migration, Mobility and Development) and LSE (Int'l Development and Humanitarian Emergencies).

I'm a Brit who graduated 4 years ago from a US university, and have since worked abroad in the UN. I'm not sure exactly what I want to do, but am interested in further UN work (humanitarian/refugee and maybe conflict focused) as well as in the long run working back in Europe (UK). 

Any advice on these programmes, or factors to weigh up? (e.g. 1 year vs 2 years, international city vs. Oxford, strength of careers networking, importance of doing a thesis or not, practical focus or not, etc.) 

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Hmm... it sounds like some of these are more focused on refugees/forced migration/human rights than others. In terms of being prepared for a wide range of options, there might be some benefit to a more general degree. In general, I think you get the chance to grow a lot more in two years than you could/would in one year. I realize that wasn't most helpful. Is funding a factor? In general, my advice is to follow the funding. If that's not an issue, personally I'd do Sciences Po, SOAS, or Oxford for the name recognition.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi! I don't know if you've already made the decision, but definitely do a thesis! There's basically no point doing a Masters if you don't. Everyone will expect you to have one, once you're in the job market post-Masters.

If you want to work back in the UK in the long-run go to Oxford - networking will be key, and Oxford has the name recognition in the UK/Europe, more so than Columbia. (I went to Cambridge and have applied for studies in the US, and of six top-tier universities I applied to, including two Ivies, hardly anyone recognised names).

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  • 9 months later...

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