CooCooCachoo Posted July 7, 2011 Share Posted July 7, 2011 (edited) Hey guys, I'm looking to start a PhD in Political Science in Fall 2012. I'm of Dutch origin, hold degrees from European universities only (BA in the Netherlands; two-year MA in Austria and Germany, with a semester abroad in South Africa; and am currently enrolled in a two-year MPhil in the UK) and have only recently started considering continuing my graduate education in the US. The considerable time commitment notwithstanding, I find the set-up of most PoliSci PhD programs at high-ranking US grad schools very appealing, because of the combination of a large, interdisciplinary taught component, hands-on experience in teaching and thorough grounding in research methods. Since I have no first-hand experience with the US system, however, I'm a bit unsure about how well placed I am to make it through the admission process. I'm particularly anxious that my age (25) and my rather eclectic academic background, in terms of interdisciplinarity, the unorthodox nature of the programmes I have completed and the lack of a focused background in political science, will prove a hindrance vis-à-vis the altogether more conventional and highly qualified applicants that have come through the American system. Based on my details, set out below, I would be grateful for any advice and insights that you're willing to share: Academic background: BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences (US-style Liberal Arts College in the Netherlands), GPA 4.00, Minor in Methods & Statistics MA in Global Studies (Erasmus Mundus programme, with courses taken at the Universities of Vienna and Stellenbosch), summa cum laude (highest honors), awarded 'Best Graduate Student' and second-best MA thesis MPhil in European Politics and Society (University of Oxford); awarded a competitive scholarship by the Dutch government; current degree with no insight, as of yet, into the expected GPA, but I think a distinction is unlikely. US universities of interest: Princeton and Georgetown, for two reasons: Because of the people working there (Christensen, Meunier, Keohane and Moravcsik for Princeton; Bennett, McNamara and Voeten for Georgetown).Because I'm looking to combine international relations with European politics, and have a particular affinity with normative/constructivist approaches as applied to LGBT-related issues. I'm therefore looking for programmes that a) attribute considerable time to qualitative methods, preferably on top of rather than in lieu of quantitative methods, and b ) have leading scholars working on EU politics. I'm also looking at other places such as Yale (Stone Sweet, Scott would be great to work with), Stanford (Fearon, Goldstein), GWU (Adcock, Finnemore) and Cornell (Katzenstein), but in all these cases I think the fit between the respective politics departments' expertise and my research interests is not ideal. GRE: I have not taken the GRE yet, but I am confident that I can meet the requirements for the verbal component. The quantitative and verbal reasoning parts will require more practice, so GRE prep is one of my main summer projects. Other: Internship at the European Parliament;Participated in a selective youth leadership and social entrepreneurship programme;Working as a research assistant to a professor of European politics in Oxford (and did some research assistant work in Vienna);Presented at two conferences, with one more forthcoming;Co-authored a book chapter in an edited volume of one of the leading British publishing houses;Student representative on the university management board (as undergrad). In short, I feel that I'm a strong candidate in many ways and, conditional upon a good GRE-score, I should have no trouble meeting the admission criteria. I fully appreciate, however, that the pool of qualified applicants is considerable for the universities that I'm interested in applying to, so I'm curious to see, with a view to my perhaps unconventional profile, how you would estimate my chances. Any advice, insights and feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Edited July 7, 2011 by Martijn Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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