Jump to content

Funded MA vs. Partially Funded MPP

Recommended Posts

Despite my attempts to be somewhat cryptic, you can deduce very easily from my signature which schools I'm referencing. But here's the scoop:

School A - Mid-ranked state school with plenty of research activity. I was accepted into the M.A. Urban Affairs & Public Policy program with a specialization in environmental policy, but the program recently underwent curriculum changes and no longer formally offers that concentration. I've been assured by faculty & administrators that this will not affect my ability to focus on environmental issues or find research opportunities. But I'm definitely a bit skeptical. The research center which initially drew me to the school also experienced departmental changes and is moving to a different school. After meeting with the director, I was told I wouldn't be able to get an assistantship with them until 2nd year (not guaranteed). A lot of the faculty received their degrees from this school, and a lot of the alumni work at the state level, so I'm concerned about this "bubble" effect.

The big draw: Full funding and a decent RA stipend which would not require me to take out any loans. The assistantship is with a research agency that is somewhat relevant to my interests but not the best match.

School B - Very highly regarded state school with an excellent reputation for undergrads. Their MPP program, however, is less well-known and is very small (ie: < 25 class size). The curriculum is rigorous with emphasis on econ and quant methods courses, which I like (although I was an English/rhetoric major). I received no funding for tuition but did receive a $10k assistantship (10hrs/week); however, I won't know my specific assignment until late summer. It could be anything from bland administrative work to research assignments. I would have to take out $25-30k (total) in loans, and I do have $7k in student loans from undergrad. I'm very uncomfortable taking out loans for graduate school, although I realize I have very little debt currently. I really like this program, but it's relatively young and the small size limits tracking alumni achievements. Overall the school's name carries a lot of weight though and is easily recognizable. Most alumni have gone on to federal gov't jobs or private sector gigs. I like that it's an MPP degree instead of an M.A., as I feel the MPP is becoming more familiar to employers as a professional degree.


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

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.