Jump to content

Decisions in Sociology: Boyfriend, Methodology, Faculty, oh my!

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

I just found this forum today! I got accepted to the University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern. My interests are gender, religion, and cross-national studies. I like both quantitative and qualitative methods, but tend to lean toward qualitative because I love to blur the line between Sociology and Anthropology.

Anyone have insight about these choices? I posted a general call for help in the other sections, but here is a more nuanced version of the problem: I visited NW and really liked it. A lot. But, it's very far from my whole support network, including all my friends, family, and boyfriend. I don't know anyone in Chicago, and am not someone who tends to adjust easily. I'm worried about the distance and the weather.

Penn, on the other hand, is closer to home and closer to my friends scattered along the east coast. The thing is, they are way less qualitative and from what I've seen so far, maybe less warm & fuzzy? Also, it seems like they have less of an emphasis on publishing, which I know is super important in grad school.

What do you guys think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that it can't be that hard to adjust to a place that you really like a lot. It might seem intimidating at first, but if you really like a place, you should be excited to go forth and adventure in your new habitat. Also, friends and family can be supportive from afar --- I learned this first-hand when I moved 600 miles away for my undergrad to a place where I didn't know a soul. No matter the problem in your new, far-away land, it's likely that a phone call to friends or family can help you solve the problem, or at least give you some idea as to how to solve the problem yourself. Plus, NW studies what you want to study, and publishes lots of stuff which puts you in a better position when job-hunting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I'll actually be attending Penn this fall, also in sociology, and I thought I'd address your concern about it being much less qualitative.

The feeling that I actually got is that it can be very qualitative. This is a concern from me too because Im coming from a complete non-quantitative background (and by this i mean the last time i took a math class was in high school. my under grad was in lit and the other courses i had to take were history and philosophy, my masters was in development - again not quant at all, just theoretical more like).

im interested in demography (one of the things i mentioned in my sop) and i talked to two profs from penn who were incredibly nice. when i raised my concern about my lack of quantitative background and how that would factor into the demography bit for instance they told me that that would mostly be upto me. that i could take the more quant course in demography (which again, requires a fundamental understanding of quant side from what i gather - and no prerequisites for most) or i could focus on the theoretical courses they offer. so i mean this is something ill look into once there - to see how much math etc i can handle!

i think what IS required are some stats courses - but honestly i don't think that ANY other doctoral prog in sociology would let a student get away without at least SOME stats background.

i didn't apply to Northwestern, so unfortunately i can't help you compare the 2. but hopefully you found this useful!

Also, I just saw your thing about the emphasis on publishing, someone actually calculated rankings of different sociology depts vis a vis academic publishing and Penn was pretty high up on that. i would think this means that students too get a pretty good chance to publish under whoever they are working - though i am not too clear on this. let me see if i can get that link for you

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use