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What would you do (advice)?


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You have three options.

- UCDavis - PhD, fully funded 

- UChicago - MAPSS (1-year intensive masters), 3/4 funding 

- LSE - MSc Political Science/Poli. Econ (1-year intensive-ish masters), 1/2 funding, may get more 

Money aside, would you...

1...take the funded offer from UCD and call it a day? 

OR

2...worried about ranking, go to the one-year program and then reapply to PhD, knowing that there will almost certainly be a one-year gap between the two?

IF 2 THEN...Chicago or LSE? 

Advice appreciated. 

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Hey, 

I would likely take UC Davis predominantly because you can get started right away with the program and not worry about paying anything out of pocket. UC Davis is a good option.

However, I completely understand potentially taking the year masters at Chicago/LSE. Honestly, it really depends on how much you care about rankings over just hitting the Ph.D. straight on. Judging by your account name, however, it looks like choosing UC Davis might be a better option. 

 

Hope this helps! 

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8 minutes ago, dricjohnso said:

Hey, 

I would likely take UC Davis predominantly because you can get started right away with the program and not worry about paying anything out of pocket. UC Davis is a good option.

 However, I completely understand potentially taking the year masters at Chicago/LSE. Honestly, it really depends on how much you care about rankings over just hitting the Ph.D. straight on. Judging by your account name, however, it looks like choosing UC Davis might be a better option. 

  

Hope this helps! 

Thanks for the reply. Personally, I don't particularly care about the rankings; I only care insofar as the ranking could affect my ability to find work down the line. 

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UC-Davis for sure. 

They are a top 20 program so congrats on getting in there! 

While I do understand the urge to go to the absolute best program, UC-Davis is a top program and has some great placement, so definitely not something to turn down lightly. PhD admissions is a massive crapshoot, so honestly even with a Chicago or LSE MA degree there is no guarantee that you could get into somewhere higher ranked them Davis, or even somewhere ranked similarly to Davis next cycle.

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1 minute ago, Dwar said:

UC-Davis for sure. 

They are a top 20 program so congrats on getting in there! 

 While I do understand the urge to go to the absolute best program, UC-Davis is a top program and has some great placement, so definitely not something to turn down lightly. PhD admissions is a massive crapshoot, so honestly even with a Chicago or LSE MA degree there is no guarantee that you could get into somewhere higher ranked them Davis, or even somewhere ranked similarly to Davis next cycle.

Thanks for the reply. Your comment is a virtually perfect reproduction of my internal logic, so it's nice to have that confirmation. I will likely accept Davis' offer, but wanted to get a gut check. 

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24 minutes ago, PoliSciPHDorBust said:

Thanks for the reply. Your comment is a virtually perfect reproduction of my internal logic, so it's nice to have that confirmation. I will likely accept Davis' offer, but wanted to get a gut check. 

Of course! I totally get wanting to be sure and  the nagging anxiety voices in your head questioning every choice. Hope you enjoy Davis!!!!

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UC Davis is a top 20 program with a very solid placement record.

From what I have heard, the quality of MAPSS is declining in recent years as they admit more students. For instance, a few of my friends in the program told me that they cannot easily find their professors.

If I were you, I would take the UCD offer and say thank you...

 

 

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2 hours ago, Dwar said:

UC-Davis for sure. 

They are a top 20 program so congrats on getting in there! 

While I do understand the urge to go to the absolute best program, UC-Davis is a top program and has some great placement, so definitely not something to turn down lightly. PhD admissions is a massive crapshoot, so honestly even with a Chicago or LSE MA degree there is no guarantee that you could get into somewhere higher ranked them Davis, or even somewhere ranked similarly to Davis next cycle.

Relatedly, where can I see the placement records for each program? Is there an index for that?

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18 minutes ago, devotee said:

It says "This attachment is not available. It may have been removed or the person who shared it may not have permission to share it to this location."

Must be paywall, search using: Ranking Doctoral Programs by Placement: A New Method Benjamin M. Schmidt, Princeton University Matthew M. Chingos, Harvard University

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23 minutes ago, devotee said:

Relatedly, where can I see the placement records for each program? Is there an index for that?

I'm not sure if there is a master list of all the placement records, but generally each department should post their placement records on their website. if they don't have them there then i'm sure you can email their grad team and they will probably send them your way. 

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https://ps.ucdavis.edu/graduate/job-placements

That should be the information you’re looking for. I’d caution against relying too much on that article in your case, because UC-Davis has risen in the rankings a lot since the 90s I think (they’re like 17 now, right?). 

For what it’s worth, I definitely understand your concern. I think you really should consider where you’d like to see yourself end up. It’s an obnoxious system, but it does seem like in virtually all cases you won’t be able to get a TT job at an institution ranked higher than where you did your PhD. In some cases, people seem to move up later in their career, though. 

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I'm in the same boat here. I got into UC Davis with full scholarship.Meanwhile, I have several master acceptances in politics including NYU, LSE and GTown. I am not sure whether I should accept the UC Davis offer right away or try to do better in the next application cycle. After seeing the replies, I may be more leaning toward UC Davis right now. 

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My advise is to worry less about the ranking and worry more about who your potential advisor at UC Davis is. Ranking is important, but grad students and prospective grad students put a lot more stock into it than actual academics. A mid tier program with an excellent advisor is better than a top tier program with a poor advisor every time.

So disregard the ranking for a bit. Ask yourself who you'll be working with at UC Davis. Talk to some of their past students. Look at how they have done of the job market. If you're comfortable with their outcomes, go to UC Davis. If not, I recommend going to Chicago.

My last choice by a large margin would be to go to LSE. A lot of MA programs are largely cash cows and won't help you get into a Ph.D. program much. My impression is that LSE falls into that camp. Chicago, on the other hand, probably has the best reputation for preparing students for rigorous research programs. If you don't like UC Davis, go to Chicago and take methods.

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UC Davis is a great option, they have good funding (especially with a lower cost of living compared to the rest of California) and a strong placement record.  

The only thing I would add to the people who have commented is to make sure the faculty are a good fit.  UC Davis is a smaller program so the faculty available might be more limited than some larger programs.  If you don't fit well with the faculty then I would recommend going with the second option.

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7 minutes ago, oats said:

My last choice by a large margin would be to go to LSE. A lot of MA programs are largely cash cows and won't help you get into a Ph.D. program much. My impression is that LSE falls into that camp. Chicago, on the other hand, probably has the best reputation for preparing students for rigorous research programs. If you don't like UC Davis, go to Chicago and take methods.

I would disagree with a part of this. I do agree that MA programs have become cash cows for schools, including LSE, I would disagree however, with your assertion that Chicago is any different. From what I've read, both on here and on other forums, the MA programs at Chicago are essentially cash machines to fund the various grad programs within the social sciences. 

Now obviously that doesn't mean that they aren't worth your time/energy, and if offered scholarship then they do seem like a good option, but I would just caution against going there and paying full sticker price for them on the assumption that they will land a great PhD admissions offer. 

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50 minutes ago, Dwar said:

I would disagree with a part of this. I do agree that MA programs have become cash cows for schools, including LSE, I would disagree however, with your assertion that Chicago is any different. From what I've read, both on here and on other forums, the MA programs at Chicago are essentially cash machines to fund the various grad programs within the social sciences.  

Now obviously that doesn't mean that they aren't worth your time/energy, and if offered scholarship then they do seem like a good option, but I would just caution against going there and paying full sticker price for them on the assumption that they will land a great PhD admissions offer.  

I generally agree. I guess the distinction I'm trying to make is that all MA programs are cash cows, but some will help you get into Ph.D. programs while some will only help you on the job market. Chicago has a good reputation of helping students transition into Ph.D. programs.

That said, no MA is a guarantee that you'll get into a good Ph.D. program. It's also a very expensive investment, so you should think long and hard about getting an MA with the intent of increasing your chances with Ph.D. programs.

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