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Hello all,

I was recently accepted into both Fletcher's MALD program and the MPIA program over at Pitt/GSPIA. Unfortunately, my chances to visit these campuses were dashed by the COVID-19 outbreak. With that in mind, I was wondering if anyone could provide any insights into these programs, life in their respective hometowns, and opportunities for post-grad work, as I am weighing my options and exploring each potential path.

As of now, I'm quite interested exploring how the topic of health fits into the field of security studies, especially when it concerns natural or man-made disasters including war and conflict. To sort of map out my decision process, I've been arranging my thoughts into categories in order to weigh the pros and cons of each program:

-Program of Instruction: Fletcher appears to be a lot more flexible than Pitt when planning your graduate education. However, I see Pitt having a more robust set of course offerings. Moreover, Pitt offers courses in both IR and Public Policy which I find to be quite valuable. Both also offer their own in-house research institutes/initiatives. As of now, the projects that Pitt is focusing on are a bit more enticing to me. Nonetheless, I've still got to do some more digging to see what Fletcher + other schools in Boston are working on.

-Cross Registration: Fletcher offers cross-registration with all other schools at Tufts plus HKS. Pitt offers the same in terms of intra-school registration and also has a deal with CMU.

-Environment: Both schools are some distance away from DC. However, I feel like Boston and its various schools make it a bit better for academic/research experiences/opportunities. In terms of cost of living, Pittsburgh is more affordable than Boston hands down.

-Career Opportunities: ??? I know that both require a professional/intern experience in between school years. That might help when looking for more permanent employment.

-Cost/Benefit Analysis: Cost is a big one, especially considering that I plan on getting some more professional experiences before even thinking about pursing education above the MA level. Just trying to figure out if it's worth making a massive investment into something like Fletcher.

 

Edited by jtj5mp
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13 hours ago, jtj5mp said:

Hello all,

I was recently accepted into both Fletcher's MALD program and the MPIA program over at Pitt/GSPIA. Unfortunately, my chances to visit these campuses were dashed by the COVID-19 outbreak. With that in mind, I was wondering if anyone could provide any insights into these programs, life in their respective hometowns, and opportunities for post-grad work, as I am weighing my options and exploring each potential path.

As of now, I'm quite interested exploring how the topic of health fits into the field of security studies, especially when it concerns natural or man-made disasters including war and conflict. To sort of map out my decision process, I've been arranging my thoughts into categories in order to weigh the pros and cons of each program:

-Program of Instruction: Fletcher appears to be a lot more flexible than Pitt when planning your graduate education. However, I see Pitt having a more robust set of course offerings. Moreover, Pitt offers courses in both IR and Public Policy which I find to be quite valuable. Both also offer their own in-house research institutes/initiatives. As of now, the projects that Pitt is focusing on are a bit more enticing to me. Nonetheless, I've still got to do some more digging to see what Fletcher + other schools in Boston are working on.

-Cross Registration: Fletcher offers cross-registration with all other schools at Tufts plus HKS. Pitt offers the same in terms of intra-school registration and also has a deal with CMU.

-Environment: Both schools are some distance away from DC. However, I feel like Boston and its various schools make it a bit better for academic/research experiences/opportunities. In terms of cost of living, Pittsburgh is more affordable than Boston hands down.

-Career Opportunities: ??? I know that both require a professional/intern experience in between school years. That might help when looking for more permanent employment.

-Cost/Benefit Analysis: Cost is a big one, especially considering that I plan on getting some more professional experiences before even thinking about pursing education above the MA level. Just trying to figure out if it's worth making a massive investment into something like Fletcher.

 

In terms of career outcomes, the reality about grad school is that what you learn in class matters way less than who you get to know + network your way into things + projects you get yourself involved in. Obviously, there are limits. For example, if you don't learn public policy data analysis, you won't land a analysis based jobs. With that context in mind, and under the assumption you A: want to land a DC job and B: have similar funding but, your end budget would be greater for Fletcher. So here are my thoughts.

1. As someone interested in healthcare + security studies... you are wow in a terrific position because those are fields that generally have great job security + higher salaries due supply and demand. The opposite examples are things like education policy + gender policy (not saying anything bad about them... I was an education person myself, but the reality is that oversupply vs. limited demand), whereby I saw people interested in those fields having to quickly pivot for economic reasons. So even in a weaker economy, especially with the world recovering from a healthcare crisis, I think you are entering in a great position.

2. Bottom line - Pitt grad school doesn't have nearly as strong DC connections as Fletcher period. Pitt has amazing engineering programs, medical, and healthcare programs, but that hasn't really translated into policy or IR much. I wouldn't even go to Pitt unless you are A: resource constrained + super desperate for a career shift or B: they are giving you a stipend on top of scholarship

3. Fletcher in contrast would position you amazingly well! 1. You have a school that has terrific DC connections and 2. You can take classes at the Chan school (School of Public Health) + Boston area is a medical/bioscience/health anything mecca... so if you are to play ball with health policy anything, Boston is the perfect place to do it. Hint - amazing internship opportunities... be it start up or established organization. 

Edited by GradSchoolGrad
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