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International relations/development - Job or PhD (LSE or King's)?


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I have secured a few offers for PhD places:

King's College London - War Studies

SOAS - Development Studies

LSE - International Development

I have already deferred my places at King's and at SOAS to September 2012 entry. I'm unsure what to do about LSE...

In the meantime I have been applying to jobs in New York (where I'm currently based) and in London (where I lived for 10ish years and where my partner and I have been planning to move back to.)

So I have 2 questions:

1) I have been interviewing for a job at Columbia University in the area of conflict resolution (the area that is the subject of my PhD) - should I defer my LSE acceptance for it? I won't hear about funding from LSE until August and my instinct is to defer for a year and work some more to increase my financial stability/pay off debts etc before starting a PhD program. Making the decision a bit more difficult is the fact that I have been gearing up to move back to London this summer. My partner has been interviewing for a job there and should find out if he got it at the end of May, but I will likely have to make my decision sooner than that. My partner hates New York but would be willing to stay on an extra year unless he gets this job in London - my worst fear is that I'll take the job here, only for him to be offered a job in London 10 days later!

2) LSE or King's? I always wanted to go back to LSE, but as the admissions process has worn on I've become more and more interested in the King's program (which was always 2nd choice out of the 5 places I applied to). My interest centres around conflict, and I think going forward Id be interested in working in DDR programs/policy. LSE obviously has better international reputation across the board, but the War Studies department at King's is one of their strongest programs and also very well respected in the field of conflict/international relations. LSE would give me a PhD in International Development, and King's would be a PhD in War Studies. I'm really unsure of which path would be best for the area I want to work in, and which program would leave open as many doors as possible, so any opinions would be great!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm not in your field at all, but honestly it will probably depend on whether you intend to stay in England/Europe or want to expand your job search globally. Assuming that the funding is similar, LSE (like you said) has a better international reputation and honestly an international development degree sounds more broadly useful than a war studies degree.

Why are you applying for the job, and why have you deferred your admission to the other programs? Was it a tactic to wait on the LSE acceptance? If you know that you want the PhD, unless this job at Columbia is a lifelong dream of yours I would just get started in the fall.

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I'm only about to begin my Master's in International Development at George Washington, but it seems like if your main area of interest is conflict than ID might not be the exact course of study for you. I mean I guess you can choose Conflict as some sort of specialization or concentration, but you will still have do the international development part of the course work. It sounds like War Studies would be the better choice and more directly related to what you want to do. I think it just depends on the curriculum of each program though. Which one will offer you more of what you want in terms of studying conflict?

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