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MA in Political Science

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Hello everyone!

As I have been learning about grad school, I have been learning about the realm of political science. I have been told that there are generally two types of masters. One of the types is more professional, aimed at placing students in the industry world after graduation. Meanwhile, there are other masters programs that are more academically focused and are aimed at placing students further in academia, into a PhD program. 

My goals are to eventually receive a PhD in political science, or more specifically international relations. That being said, I feel like my academic profile is not very competitive for PhD programs. My GPA is terribly low at 3.0. Regardless of that, I have many papers published between student journals, think tanks, and magazines. I have decent GRE scores (165v/162q/4.5aw). have presented posters and panels at MPSA and NPSA's conferences. I also have a fantastic academic internship with the Institute on Counter Terror in Israel which resulted in a very strong academic letter of recommendation (I have 2 other strong letters from notable professors from my undergrad). Lastly, I have a formidable professional background involving military service which includes a strong professional letter.

For personal reasons and other interests (I can explain if necessary), I am really striving to enter a PhD program in some of the top schools. I have been told that the other parts of my academic profile can make me acceptable for top professional programs. That being said, I am curious if the same is true for academic programs. Furthermore, I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions of midpoint Masters programs I should be looking at with my profile that could provide me with the platform I would need to become a competitive applicant for some of the top schools.

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Hi there! I can't speak to your PhD admissions questions since I'm only an applicant myself, but if you have any questions about the applied politics programs, I'd be happy to help. I teach at GWU's Graduate School of Political Management and graduated from the same program in 2002. I've spent the last 20 years working in politics and have run into folks from a lot of the applied programs around DC (Hopkins, Georgetown, GW, etc.)

Good luck with your decision! Are you from Richmond by any chance?  

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