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GSPP vs. Sanford


12 members have voted

  1. 1. GSPP vs. Sanford

    • GSPP!
    • SANFORD!

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So, it's finally come down to Berkeley and Duke for me.

My interests are health/nutrition policies, especially in relation to poverty and economic development, both domestically and internationally.

Both are very strong in domestic policies and improving with their international component.

Both are very welcoming and friendly. I think I would be happy at either place, but alas, I do have to pick one over the other. So here are the factors I'm considering:

1 Both schools are very very approachable and friendly, but I think Duke is a little "more friendly"--they go out of their ways to meet my needs. I've talked to many students, faculty, and the director already and every time I get more excited about going. Berkeley is also friendly, but I guess Duke is just slightly more warm and fuzzy. I think this is pretty superficial, but I wonder if I'll get more personal attention at Duke from the faculty. After all, Duke does have more financial resources than Berkeley.

2. Both schools are not strong in their int'l component, relative to domestic policies. However, I feel like Duke is better situated for international studies, since it has a Center for Int'l Development and students can take courses there as well. There are also professors within the Sanford School who are engaged in int'l work. There is no professor in the Goldman school doing int'l policy work. There are faculty in departments (and great faculty members) doing int'l stuff, but I feel like students have to go out and seek them (though the staff at GSPP are helpful in this aspect).

On a similar note, other schools have faculty in specific policy interests within the public policy school. I get the feeling that GSPP is dominated by economists, but this is counterbalanced by the strength of all the other grad departments at Berkeley (Education, public health, tech, engineering, etc)-- I don't know how much of a disadvantage it is to not have a faculty WITHIN GSPP who's working on the same thing I want to study. Anyone?

3. Both have strong career services, but if I go to Duke it'll be hard for me to come back to the Bay Area (where I am now)--if I choose to do so.

4. Berkeley attracts more events and interesting events/ideas--it's more dynamic and lively than Duke (my opinion). There are probably more opportunities at Berkeley, though it may be up to the student to seek them. They're strong in virtually everything, and the Berkeley program is slightly more well known than Duke.

5. Funding is not a major setback, for GSPP I would pay in state tuition. At Duke I got full funding and assistantship, and I have enough savings to cover at least my first year of graduate life.

Anyone know about how these schools are viewed internationally?

Please pitch in! Deadline is 15th>.<

THank you!!!

Edited by foodlover28
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Wow foodlover, this is a really tough decision. I just actually made my decision between Berkeley and USC, and I felt that USC offered many of the same things that you said Duke offered. As a private school, I really felt like they would be more supportive (borderline holding your hand) to get you internships and jobs, and they definitely put on a great visit day with a three course meal and open bar at their reception. However, I absolutely love the UC Berkeley campus and I was really impressed with the quality of the faculty, staff, and the admits at the Berkeley Open House. There is just so much going on at that campus, and I was really excited by the prospect of being involved in all of it. I was also impressed with the career services staff (Martha and Jalilah were fantastic throughout this process) but I'm sure Duke has a lot more money and resources than GSPP does since its a private school. I would say that if you want to work in the Bay Area ultimately, (as I do) then its a pretty easy decision. However, if you're interested in working internationally or in DC, then I would probably lean towards Duke. I just submitted my acceptance to GSPP and I'm pretty excited to join them in the Fall. Its absolutely a tough decision for you, and I wish you good luck with it. Maybe I'll see you at GSPP?

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I'd say definitely GSPP, but I should disclose I didn't look at that program carefully. It looks quite academic, but quite good and very selective. The problem I have with Duke is 1) It's almost entirely on policy and 2) the amount of classes offered is pretty limited, just policy stuff, quite narrow.

Also at a conference a couple of weeks beck I met a Sanford grad. SHe had a good job but wasn't too satisfied with the degree, didn't go into details. Her work was entirely unrelated to nutrition btw. I'd look closely at the classes offered. Just my two cents!

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@Nimesis -- I know you're one of the strongest advocate for GSPP, so I would definitely let you know if I go; I'm also interested in health/education in the broader sense, so it'd be great to exchange some ideas :)

@carpecc -- I spent all of last night looking through the course lists and researching faculty; I do agree with what you said. It's interesting that the Sanford grad wasn't fully satisfied with her degree though...food policy isn't too big there, so I don't think it would be any better.

I think I'm more or less set on GSPP, unless someone/something really convinces me otherwise.

GSPP is a little more academic, it's stronger in analysis and I think that will benefit me if I decide to go on to PhD (which i'm considering).

For people in the same situation--I think the question is: what is more important to you in terms of learning environment? Is it more important to have a super supportive network that holds your hands as you get through the two years and provide easy access to all the resources? Or are you willing to step out of your comfort zone and work harder to take advantage of a wider range of opportunities? I think Berkeley is less glamorous (no frills) than the other programs, it has less money, and you do have to fight to get what you want (i have personal experience as a Cal alum)--so it's not for everyone. But at the same time--the opportunities are there; it's a unique place that attracts a lot of interesting people and events, so it's up to you to take advantage of them if you're proactive. Turning down Duke will be very heartbreaking--I will be giving up a huge load of funding and all the pampering from faculty and amazing team (people who are going to Sanford--you will have a great time there!), but after taking a closer took I think Berkeley might offer more opportunities in the fields I'm interested in.

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