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7 hours ago, cbsag123 said:

How many of you all are planning on applying next cycle? Do you think the competition will be similarly horrible?

If I do end up planning to reapply next year pending the decisions on my current apps (fyi I think I would probably wait two years, trying to pump out a publishable paper while writing an MA thesis all in one year doesn't sound fun), I would definitely expect the competition levels to be the same or worse. Applicants who got rejected this year will probably snowball to the next cycle, alongside people who waited for COVID pandemic to end so they can have f2f classes -- there's also no shortage in sight of undergrad students interested in applying to PhD programs)

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I'm not sure whether my input is valuable here as I might not reapply to North American grad programs in case I don't get in this time around. My plan B is to just stay closer to home and apply to PhD programs here (which, unfortunately, are overly independent in terms of research and funding).

Before applying to those PhD programs though, my more immediate options for the near future are to (1) look for jobs in my field (both domestically and internationally) and (2) send applications to master's programs in PolSci or economics.

I'm echoing what someone mentioned earlier: German master's programs are basically free, so I think they are a very good option for people who don't have a lot of financial resources available to them. At least consider applying.

By the way, as some of you mentioned that you'd like to strengthen your quantitative skills, how are you planning to do it? What do you think is the best way to achieve that goal? If you know of some resources etc., I would love to hear about them!

Anyway, I hope we all get good news soon, so we can ditch these plans!

Edited by Mikel
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21 hours ago, Mikel said:

I'm not sure whether my input is valuable here as I might not reapply to North American grad programs in case I don't get in this time around. My plan B is to just stay closer to home and apply to PhD programs here (which, unfortunately, are overly independent in terms of research and funding).

Before applying to those PhD programs though, my more immediate options for the near future are to (1) look for jobs in my field (both domestically and internationally) and (2) send applications to master's programs in PolSci or economics.

I'm echoing what someone mentioned earlier: German master's programs are basically free, so I think they are a very good option for people who don't have a lot of financial resources available to them. At least consider applying.

By the way, as some of you mentioned that you'd like to strengthen your quantitative skills, how are you planning to do it? What do you think is the best way to achieve that goal? If you know of some resources etc., I would love to hear about them!

Anyway, I hope we all get good news soon, so we can ditch these plans!

For quant skills, what I am basically doing is:

1) Applying to summer data analytics programs (DPSS, IPAL)

2) Taking some math and econ classes on MOOCs, although I am considering doing them at a CC so I can get a transcript record.

3) Trying to learn R. I previously learnt Java for OOP and MySQL for database programming so I'm hoping it's a bit easier to learn.

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How do you guys go about reputation/ranking of international school and/or assessing the likelihood that an MA at school X will help with Ph.D. apps in the future? I'm currently looking at Amsterdam, LSE, and a few other programs for comparative politics, but I have no clue how I'm supposed to know if these schools are reputable (I know LSE is but every other school, not so much)

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On 2/11/2021 at 4:28 AM, defcaffeinated said:

Thanks for starting this thread! As a theory applicant I'm a bit at a loss for what I can do to strengthen my application, bar work on my SOP (which, admittedly I know could've been a lot better). Working in govt/policy/a think tank would be cool but not sure how realistic that is for me, and also not sure how much that helps theory applicants as much as it does applicants to other subfields. My current job does expose me to some research but it's not political. However, it's a great job and I think the work we do is really worthwhile, so I'm just trying to figure out what I can do that is non job related to strengthen my application for next year. 

Are there any other theory people on here? 

Hey - I'm a prof and occasionally lurk here. I've been on the market a number of times in the past five years. I think you should really consider working in a think tank - it will give you research skills and will be a good thing to have on your resume. The sad state of the field is that the theory market is even more abysmal than the market in the other subfields. I hope you get into a program, but you should be prepared to have about 15 backup plans when you're on the academic job market. Having think tank or government experience now could be extremely useful down the road. And frankly any theory program that looks down on you for having "practical" experience is not a theory program you want to be in. Sorry to be a downer, but I sometimes see comments like this and feel like it is a disservice not to bring up how shitty the market is.

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13 minutes ago, cbsag123 said:

How do you guys go about reputation/ranking of international school and/or assessing the likelihood that an MA at school X will help with Ph.D. apps in the future? I'm currently looking at Amsterdam, LSE, and a few other programs for comparative politics, but I have no clue how I'm supposed to know if these schools are reputable (I know LSE is but every other school, not so much)

A Master’s at almost any uni will help with PhD apps in so far as showing that you have a higher level understanding of the field and more research experience, and allowing you to further develop yourself as a scholar. 

In terms of a difference in rankings, of course a Master’s from a highly ranked school (Top 30 worldwide for instance) will be looked at more favorably than a lower ranked one. That’s one purpose of rankings after all. To know if international schools are reputable in the US, I would talk to any US professors or PhD students you know because a school can have a great global ranking and national reputation e.g. UCL or Amsterdam, but will not be as known or reputable in the US. If you want to do a PhD in Europe, this is simpler. Feel free to message me to talk about it more! I’m very familiar with both the US and EU systems. 
 

Edit for change of wording. 

Edited by BrownSugar
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19 hours ago, PolPsychGal11 said:

Hey - I'm a prof and occasionally lurk here. I've been on the market a number of times in the past five years. I think you should really consider working in a think tank - it will give you research skills and will be a good thing to have on your resume. The sad state of the field is that the theory market is even more abysmal than the market in the other subfields. I hope you get into a program, but you should be prepared to have about 15 backup plans when you're on the academic job market. Having think tank or government experience now could be extremely useful down the road. And frankly any theory program that looks down on you for having "practical" experience is not a theory program you want to be in. Sorry to be a downer, but I sometimes see comments like this and feel like it is a disservice not to bring up how shitty the market is.

Hi, thanks for the advice - really helpful and I've started looking more into it, I just think I'm not very qualified for a lot of the positions that are open atm in the UK (all seem to require more experience than I have and/or a more advanced degree!). And yeah, I've definitely heard similar warnings about the market so having that experience would be helpful for a fallback.

Thanks again!

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