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Natesmith1016

USC's Sol Price for an MPA vs NYU for an MA in International Relations?

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So, TL;DR deadline day is coming up for me to choose on Sol Price at SC for my MPA or do my MA IR at NYU. SC will be slightly cheaper, but price isn’t a big factor to me as much as career prospects. From posting over at r/gradschool and a couple other forums it seems like MPA is more in demand and offers more diverse options, but I’m not sure. I want to go into politics longterm, but want to lecture at the uni level in the interim, which would require a PhD.

 

Right now the real hold up is being worried whether or not I’d be able to do a PhD in IR without a masters in the field.  Also public transport in LA is obviously really bad so that presents a bit of an issue. But I’m pretty much 98 percent committed to SC as I feel head to head, the MPA would be better to have over the MA in case things don't work out with applying for/doing a PhD. I would still be able to work in governmental consulting and the like. Another concern I have is whether or not I would still be able to work for the UN or do international work with an MPA. I know that Ban Ki-Moon, the former Sec General of the UN has an MPA, but other than that, I am not sure. I would really appreciate some advice.

Background- MA linguistics Glasgow uni.

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Congrats on getting accepted to both schools, both are fantastic and well regarded. In terms of an NYU MA in IR vs a MPA from USC, it sounds like you are set on USC and the MPA. USC probably does place a fair amount of its students in international and multilateral organizations, but NYU's reputation and location give it a big advantage in placement in that area over USC. I am not sure that it matters that much for a PHD where you go to get your masters, although you should keep in mind that an MA in IR is traditionally considered a more natural fit for a PHD program in international studies than an MPA. Personally, I am in a similar boat having completed a certificate in an MPA program and I am moving into an IR  MA program in the Fall and thinking about a PHD. Have you thought about PHDs in political science or Public Administration/Public Policy? There is only a small number of international studies PHD programs and they have alot of crossover with Political Science and PA/PP programs. Looking at IR vs Public Administration Masters and their placement rates I would say that your degree matters much less than the networking and the skills you develop in the program as well as how flexible the individual programs are in allowing you to take a broad number of practical courses. I would look at each programs job placement, both in specific fields and for a PHD to see which program placed students and where. I dont think you can go wrong but USC isnt known as an IR school so you may struggle a little in getting jobs and internships in international organizations. This is just my relatively unqualified opinion and I think you should try to reach out to people at both schools and do your homework. Best of luck!

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3 hours ago, HBLB said:

Congrats on getting accepted to both schools, both are fantastic and well regarded. In terms of an NYU MA in IR vs a MPA from USC, it sounds like you are set on USC and the MPA. USC probably does place a fair amount of its students in international and multilateral organizations, but NYU's reputation and location give it a big advantage in placement in that area over USC. I am not sure that it matters that much for a PHD where you go to get your masters, although you should keep in mind that an MA in IR is traditionally considered a more natural fit for a PHD program in international studies than an MPA. Personally, I am in a similar boat having completed a certificate in an MPA program and I am moving into an IR  MA program in the Fall and thinking about a PHD. Have you thought about PHDs in political science or Public Administration/Public Policy? There is only a small number of international studies PHD programs and they have alot of crossover with Political Science and PA/PP programs. Looking at IR vs Public Administration Masters and their placement rates I would say that your degree matters much less than the networking and the skills you develop in the program as well as how flexible the individual programs are in allowing you to take a broad number of practical courses. I would look at each programs job placement, both in specific fields and for a PHD to see which program placed students and where. I dont think you can go wrong but USC isnt known as an IR school so you may struggle a little in getting jobs and internships in international organizations. This is just my relatively unqualified opinion and I think you should try to reach out to people at both schools and do your homework. Best of luck!

Thank you for your reply and kind words. So, in the time since I posted this question, I have gone from 100 percent sure on USC to 80 percent. Reason being is that if I want to get a PhD, I was recommended to avoid the MPA. Now, I am a bit confused and wondering how I would stack up going from undergrad to PhD without anything else. I was wondering if you could help me navigate this a bit more? I would really appreciate it.

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20 hours ago, Natesmith1016 said:

Also public transport in LA is obviously really bad so that presents a bit of an issue.

FWIW, in my experience, a combination of two apps, a pass, on-line shopping accounts, and the selective use of TNCs, make vehicle ownership unnecessary.

If you go to Southern Cal, you'll have access to enough options to get you where you want to go soon enough--sometimes almost as fast as you would if you were to drive.

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Sigaba said:

FWIW, in my experience, a combination of two apps, a pass, on-line shopping accounts, and the selective use of TNCs, make vehicle ownership unnecessary.

If you go to Southern Cal, you'll have access to enough options to get you where you want to go soon enough--sometimes almost as fast as you would if you were to drive.

 

 

Yea, I mean Uber does exist and the metro while pretty lacking in terms of stations, does still exist. That's just a minor aside compared to the other stuff with PhD and job prospects.

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Posted (edited)

Best of luck in your academic endeavors.

Edited by Sigaba
What's the point.

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On 6/6/2019 at 6:34 PM, Natesmith1016 said:

Thank you for your reply and kind words. So, in the time since I posted this question, I have gone from 100 percent sure on USC to 80 percent. Reason being is that if I want to get a PhD, I was recommended to avoid the MPA. Now, I am a bit confused and wondering how I would stack up going from undergrad to PhD without anything else. I was wondering if you could help me navigate this a bit more? I would really appreciate it.

So I actually dont think an MPA would hurt you that much for a PHD. From networking and looking at placement rates many schools do want a masters degree before your PHD. Although this doesnt apply as much for political science, I have noticed that it certainly does seem to apply for most of the public policy and public administration phds and to some extent for the more international studies phd programs, like Tufts, John Hopkins, University of Washington, and Pittsburgh. I would look at schools where you would like to do a PHD at and browse through the profiles of current PHD students and class profiles to get a sense of academic and professional background. In my experience, I would say many have masters degrees and in a diverse number of fields from history, sociology, to poli sci, international studies, and public administration/ public policy. Theres two ways to think about the masters before PHD route. One is that If you are dead set on a phd program it doesnt make sense to do a masters before a phd because you are basically going to have to do some of the masters stuff again and the cost of a good masters program can be relatively high. The second is that if you dont feel competitive for a good phd program, a masters can boost your academic credentials and allow you more flexibility to go straight into a career before a phd. When I went on masters visits there were a surprising amount of people deciding between top 15 foreign affairs masters programs and top 40 to 50 PHD programs, attempting to decide if the future prospects of getting into a higher ranked program were worth it. Based on my research it is certainly true that more highly ranked programs tend to place better for tenure track jobs, yet I have known many astounding professors who did not go to marquee programs yet landed great jobs because they were good at research and teaching. Ultimately, I think that if you put in the effort, get on research projects, and get published and find professors willing to help you that it may not matter where you go as long as you take advantage of the opportunities afforded by each school. Neither place is cheap to live, also USC is surrounded by a less nice part of LA and the traffic is notoriously bad but it's still So Cal. Best of luck!

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On 6/12/2019 at 9:11 PM, HBLB said:

So I actually dont think an MPA would hurt you that much for a PHD. From networking and looking at placement rates many schools do want a masters degree before your PHD. Although this doesnt apply as much for political science, I have noticed that it certainly does seem to apply for most of the public policy and public administration phds and to some extent for the more international studies phd programs, like Tufts, John Hopkins, University of Washington, and Pittsburgh. I would look at schools where you would like to do a PHD at and browse through the profiles of current PHD students and class profiles to get a sense of academic and professional background. In my experience, I would say many have masters degrees and in a diverse number of fields from history, sociology, to poli sci, international studies, and public administration/ public policy. Theres two ways to think about the masters before PHD route. One is that If you are dead set on a phd program it doesnt make sense to do a masters before a phd because you are basically going to have to do some of the masters stuff again and the cost of a good masters program can be relatively high. The second is that if you dont feel competitive for a good phd program, a masters can boost your academic credentials and allow you more flexibility to go straight into a career before a phd. When I went on masters visits there were a surprising amount of people deciding between top 15 foreign affairs masters programs and top 40 to 50 PHD programs, attempting to decide if the future prospects of getting into a higher ranked program were worth it. Based on my research it is certainly true that more highly ranked programs tend to place better for tenure track jobs, yet I have known many astounding professors who did not go to marquee programs yet landed great jobs because they were good at research and teaching. Ultimately, I think that if you put in the effort, get on research projects, and get published and find professors willing to help you that it may not matter where you go as long as you take advantage of the opportunities afforded by each school. Neither place is cheap to live, also USC is surrounded by a less nice part of LA and the traffic is notoriously bad but it's still So Cal. Best of luck!

Super sorry for the late reply here, but thanks for the feedback again. Most of the programmes I've searched for so far don't require masters and don't expect it. Columbia, NYU, Stanford etc. NYU's MA in IR is usually a terminal course, when I visited in May the course administrator told me it's very rare for someone to go from the MA IR to PhD so yea, for most of what I've seen, IR/poli sci PhD's are just straight from undergrad. But, like you said having an MPA opens other opportunities up and puts me in position to get very well paying jobs with governmental/international(I'll do international specialisation) organisations. So, looks like that's the way I'll go. I'll also get my CELTA certification this year a well, then in 2021 after I get my masters, I'll go teach in Japan, then get to work on my PhD.

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