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Is a PhD Worth It?


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Hi All,

I've been contemplating applying to PhD programs in Political Science but having some reservations and I'm curious on your thoughts.

Currently, I am in an MPP program at highly-ranked state school. While it is a policy degree, my focus has largely been on international institutions and foreign policy/diplomacy. My interest is primarily in the subfields of IR/CP. There are a few things that are making we wonder if a PhD is worth it, however:

- Age. I will be in my early 30's when/if I enter the PhD program, meaning that I would be  well into my late 30's optimistically by the time I finish. The opportunity cost on that with a potential marginal ROI is a flag for me.

- Career. While I wouldn't say that I'm uninterested in being a professor, it is not my singular goal. Where I stand now, I'm interested in working for a large tank or in a consulting capacity. The benefit of the PhD in this capacity is essentially a more substantial role in either of those ventures. I wonder if a PhD is a bit of "overkill".

I understand that any PhD pursuit is a very personal choice, but I'm curious to see gut reactions from people who have done it. I feel like I would be competitive for most programs: 3.7 undergrad, currently a 3.8 grad school GPA, GRE scores in the mid 160's and a 5.5 AW. I have also held internships at two well-known think tanks relevant to IR/CP.

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