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MPP / MPA at Northwestern, Brown, Cornell...


disgruntled

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Hi everybody,

I know there's been a lot of talk about the top schools (SIPA, Maxwell, Harris, etc,) but I was wondering if anybody could comment on MPP / MPA programs at some of the lesser known programs at reputable schools.

I was curious to see if these programs are well-regarded in the public policy world, especially in regards to salary and employment prospects.

Northwestern's public policy and administration program is through their School of Continuing Studies. I'm wondering if that hampers the degree's reputation or job prospects, although NU says on their Website the rigor and quality is the same.

Is there anybody here who has applied, enrolled or is an alumnus of the program?

Or would it just be better off to apply to the more established MPP institutions?

Thanks!

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I know there's been a lot of talk about the top schools (SIPA, Maxwell, Harris, etc,) but I was wondering if anybody could comment on MPP / MPA programs at some of the lesser known programs at reputable schools.

Hi there,

This is my understanding: Cornell is an up and coming program that compares very favorably to the 'top' schools. It has less of an alum base but it's supposed to be rigorous and robust. Brown's Taubman Center is best thought of as a boutique program. A friend of mine went there and really enjoyed it but said that he was a little put off by the fact that the Center was virtually unrecognized not only nationally or regionally, but even at the school itself. But he enjoyed the professors and environment. Can't speak for Northwestern but I would expect it's probably geared entirely for part-timers, run on a shoestring, and taught by adjuncts. That's not necessarily a bad thing - I am sure you could get a perfectly good education there - but continuing studies programs tend to be done for a profit or at least to break even. The fact that you can also get the degree 100% online only supports my suspicions, and I don't think you could expect to have much of a student life over there except through other university offerings. It's definitely not the best public affairs program in the Chicago area (Harris wins, hands down), and almost certainly not #2, either (UIC and DePaul's programs are both older and more strongly funded). But Northwestern itself does have a good brand.

If you're looking for other strong boutique programs with good regional reputations, I would definitely check out Fels Institute at UPenn, the College of William and Mary's MPP, and UNC-CH, to name a few of the best (that I know of).

Good luck!

Michael

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Thanks a lot for the reply and you touched a bit on my reservations for some of these programs.

I'm worried that since they're boutique programs the job prospects won't be as good if one graduates from a more recognized school in the field.

I was thinking the brand name would offset that, but it doesn't look the case based on what you said.

Would be interested in hearing some more thoughts from people who went to these schools though.

Thanks though!

Hi there,

This is my understanding: Cornell is an up and coming program that compares very favorably to the 'top' schools. It has less of an alum base but it's supposed to be rigorous and robust. Brown's Taubman Center is best thought of as a boutique program. A friend of mine went there and really enjoyed it but said that he was a little put off by the fact that the Center was virtually unrecognized not only nationally or regionally, but even at the school itself. But he enjoyed the professors and environment. Can't speak for Northwestern but I would expect it's probably geared entirely for part-timers, run on a shoestring, and taught by adjuncts. That's not necessarily a bad thing - I am sure you could get a perfectly good education there - but continuing studies programs tend to be done for a profit or at least to break even. The fact that you can also get the degree 100% online only supports my suspicions, and I don't think you could expect to have much of a student life over there except through other university offerings. It's definitely not the best public affairs program in the Chicago area (Harris wins, hands down), and almost certainly not #2, either (UIC and DePaul's programs are both older and more strongly funded). But Northwestern itself does have a good brand.

If you're looking for other strong boutique programs with good regional reputations, I would definitely check out Fels Institute at UPenn, the College of William and Mary's MPP, and UNC-CH, to name a few of the best (that I know of).

Good luck!

Michael

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