Jump to content

Columbia MPA v. Georgetown MPP vs. Duke MPP

Recommended Posts

With decisions due just around the corner for MPA/MPP programs and me feeling no closer to deciding on a program, I thought I might turn to the advice of the internet community! I was admitted to three wonderful programs - Columbia MPA (no funding), Duke MPP ($40k/year), and Georgetown MPP (7k/year). My main interest lies in migration/social policy and looking ahead, I'd love to work in research/advocacy/federal policy making. My main factors in decision making:

1. Area of study: I've worked for three years at within the immigration sphere and although I'm not wholly convinced that's what I'll keep on doing, it is a passion. As far as I can tell, Duke seems to have the least going on in terms of migration (one class/year, no policy social groups dedicated to the topic, that sort of thing). However, Duke seems to be very well rounded and focused on quant heavy classes, which calls to me as someone who doesn't love econ/stats. For any McCourt current students (especially those who, like me, are not the most quant focused) I'm curious how much to take into account their roughly 6 required quant courses? And for those thinking about SIPA, is there enough quant to be well-rounded?
2. Access to internships/connections: Especially as I think about a career pivot, it feels important to have access to professors and alumni with connections and opportunities to work during the school year. My impression is that DC and NYC students are more focused on the internship game vs the students I spoke to at Duke, but curious to hear otherwise.
3. Location: while I love NYC conceptually, I'm having a hard time accepting NYC cost-of-living. On the positives - tons of jobs, culture, vibrancy. Cons: $$$ and very rush rush feeling. On the other hand, I live near DC now and love it - access to nature, cultural life, jobs - could definitely see myself ending up there. My impression of Durham was that there honestly isn't much to do. I'd love to be convinced otherwise, but I am curious how the location might play into opportunities for work etc. 
4. While i'm lucky that cost isn't my main deciding factor, it definitely plays a role. It's hard for me to understand ROI wise if living in DC or NYC would have a major or minor impact on post-graduation plans vs. Durham. Thoughts? Ideas?

Edited by MPplease
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I already responded to a similar question here: 


However, if you are American, your situation is different and easier. Nonetheless, when you say that money is not an issue, it's because you have sufficient cash to pay all by yourself or that you're planning on applying to loans?

Given your topics of interest, most likely the job opportunities are low-paying jobs, for which the cost of those universities will not be a return on investment at all. Unless you plan out a career path, that may not be your passion for a few years, but you can focus on professional and financial stability, to further ahead work on what you actually want.

Also, if you're going to be paying for everything, you're better off choosing the more prestigious names, independent of the location. In which case, I'd say Columbia has the best brand, which in turn will open more prestigious job opportunities and connections. And NYC gives you the chance to network at a high level, specially in the private sector (like I was recommending on the other post), with higher paying jobs and opportunities. Afterwards you can work in DC, but make sure you're financially stable first. 

Have you looked for external scholarship sources? 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use