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Less Quant-Heavy PhD Programs


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Hey everyone!

I've officially tapped out of my PhD cycle for this year and am now looking towards future cycles for PhD apps. I know that some programs like NYU are very quant-heavy, but are there any programs out there with wider methodological variety or that are qual-leaning (for IR and CP) that you know of? Thanks!

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I would consider applying to British PhD programs. On the whole political science in the UK is significantly less quant heavy than in the United States and with a lot more methodological variety! 
 

If you’re focused on the United States, Northwestern is considered to have a qualitative bent. I’d also recommend UBC in Canada which afaik, and I might be mistaken, is less quant focused than Toronto or McGill.

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In the US, Cornell, Northwestern, and Notre Dame spring to mind, and so does MIT (counterintuitive, I know). In the UK, Oxford would be a good option, too (though funding is always a crapshoot). Most of those programs would still require you to pass some quant courses, but much less than, say, NYU or Rochester.

I'm more into quant work myself though, so I defer to people with more hands-on knowledge. Good luck!

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I think most standard political science programs (not the "boutique" empirical/formal programs like Rochester or NYU) consist of 90% of the cohort struggling through the methods sequence, then doing simple regressions throughout their career. That's to say I wouldn't rule yourself out of attending a standard or "quant" program. There are only a few programs that really train methods-heavy political scientists (NYU and WUSTL immediately come to mind, as does Stanford), and basically only one that actually trains proper methodologists without substantive interests (Harvard with King and Imai). Keep in mind, however, that even Harvard has a substantial body of qualitative faculty and students and you only need to take one quant course there. Many comparativists at Harvard are qualitative (e.g. Steven Levitsky). So, in sum, I would suggest looking at broad programs that have a variety of methods and epistemological approaches.

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1 hour ago, aaaaaaaaaa said:

I think most standard political science programs (not the "boutique" empirical/formal programs like Rochester or NYU) consist of 90% of the cohort struggling through the methods sequence, then doing simple regressions throughout their career. That's to say I wouldn't rule yourself out of attending a standard or "quant" program. There are only a few programs that really train methods-heavy political scientists (NYU and WUSTL immediately come to mind, as does Stanford), and basically only one that actually trains proper methodologists without substantive interests (Harvard with King and Imai). Keep in mind, however, that even Harvard has a substantial body of qualitative faculty and students and you only need to take one quant course there. Many comparativists at Harvard are qualitative (e.g. Steven Levitsky). So, in sum, I would suggest looking at broad programs that have a variety of methods and epistemological approaches.

Thank you for the detailed response!

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I would add UT-Austin. They are pretty quantitative, but at the same time, having extensive quants knowledge isn't something which they look for. I got waitlisted here, and I have almost no quants knowledge!

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46 minutes ago, kestrel18 said:

Guys, really, do not be afraid of Quant stuff. - It is challenging, right. At times, Quant classes even resemble a survival game. But they teach you a specific way of thinking and highly beneficial skills. 

I totally and completely agree with you but this thread will be useful for those people that aren’t interested in quant methods. They may be looking for programs with more diversity in their methods departments and that’s valid.

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I don't know about the US, but in Canada I wouldn't say any of the schools are "quant heavy."  Maybe Western and McMaster somewhat.

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