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Political Science "Safety"


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Yes.... I know that there is no "safety" when applying for a doctoral program in Political Science, but there have to be some schools that are "safer" than others. Still, I have been reading acceptance/rejections posted online and groaning that I will get in nowhere!

I am applying for comp pol/IR. I have a 4.0 from a top twenty private university. My GRE is lopsided with 99% verbal and 66% quant. Great recs but from Middle East experts in area studies. Professional fluency in Arabic plus Hebrew. Now spending a year in the Middle East doing intensive language study(in addition to several other semesters/summers abroad.)

Given the list below, which ones are more likely, and which ones a longer shot?


George Washington


U Chicago

U Maryland

U Mass Amherst

U Penn

I had three main criteria in selecting these: a school comfortable with a qualitative approach, a school that had someone doing the Middle East, either in comparative or IR; likelihood of funding if admitted (except for the DC schools which are dear to my heart but are notoriously short of money!).

I am still considering these departments in poli sci --Syracuse, American University. Any suggested (relative) "safeties"? Any reactions to these schools?

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Consider Emory. Carrie Wickham studies the Middle East; Richard Doner teachers a class on qualitative methods; all students funded. Not a "safety" but it might be a nice fit. Also, in the event that you do decide to include some other methods---seriously, why are you pidgeonholing yourself before you even start grad school?---they have some nice training along those lines.

Edited by coachrjc
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Not a safety, but you might want to add WUSTL to your list as well--they emphasize qualitative methods. While they have a small  (~8 students per cohort) department, they have a  good people in Comparative and International Political Economy, and I believe they have an affiliated center for Middle East studies, but I'm not positive..

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