Best fit curriculum or everything else? - Decisions, Decisions - The GradCafe Forums
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Best fit curriculum or everything else?


Guest ke7312

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Guest ke7312

I'm deciding between public policy programs--an MPA at UW-Madison and an MSPPM at Carnegie Mellon—with goals of working at a think tank or in social science research in some capacity. CMU offers me a curriculum that seems to better fit my career goals, with more connections in the types of places I'm looking to work in, at a pretty good price. I enjoyed my CMU visit a little more than my UW-Madison visit, too, and I'd be interested in trying something new after attending another Big Ten school for undergrad. I think, ordinarily, this would point towards CMU.

However, UW-Madison has a great program and they're making me an offer that's hard to turn down: a fully funded degree with automatic research in my second year, greater accessibility of research opportunities, proximity to home (Chicago area), and far greater flexibility to take courses outside the public affairs department (which I think I could use to offset the difference in curriculum between the two schools). All of these factors combined make it a pretty even competitor to CMU and I'm totally stumped as to my decision. How would you go about making this decision?

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It’s hard to say no to full funding, plus the research support, and the option to study outside the department is great. Have you looked at the outcomes for the UW-Madison grads? Are they getting the kind of work you want you want to do? I think getting out of school debt free, and being close to family are two big pluses. If it looks like you can get where you want to go from UW-Madison, I would pick there. It’s only two years and you could probably network in the summer between semesters, through your research, and at conferences. 

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