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Does anyone have thoughts about G-town's new MA program in Global Human Development? Specifically I would like any thoughts on:

  • How it compares to/differs from the traditional MSFS degree
  • How many resources it will have at its disposal as a brand new program, whether or not 'newness' will result in chaos re: curriculum, courses, advising, etc.
  • How quant and economics-heavy it will be
  • Whether they are hiring new professors or utilizing current ones
  • Whether students will get to choose their summer field projects, or will they be assigned (http://sfs.georgetown.edu/ghd/summer/228385.html), and whether the projects will be in teams or individual
  • Whether there will be more or less aid (if anyone has thoughts about the generosity of SFS aid in general, please share)

Thank you in advance!

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I don't mind I have about 5 years experience abroad, teaching English. I just got back from doing the Peace Corps (that's included in the 5 years). I have done a lot of volunteer work, including

Just received email that I was accepted and have been recommended for external scholarship. Hopefully scholarship aspect works out as being from a developing country, I cannot really afford paying muc

I spoke to the academic coordinator of the new GHD program today and clarified a lot of my original questions. It was a really helpful conversation as not all the info is available online, so I though

These are legitimate questions...you might want to ask them of admissions or the program contacts. This is a brand new program so I'm not sure anyone here will have too much to say about it at this point. I couldn't imagine that you would be assigned a field project, you have to be able to work on something that matters to you. At Elliott we will form our own groups and choose our own organization from those that work with the program. The project, for us, is the capstone to be done during our 4th semester. Although we will start preparing for it at the end of this spring semester.

You should be able to look at the requirements to get an idea of how economics heavy it will be, we only have to take one Economics of Development course during the first semester...thank god. But I've heard other ID programs are much heavier on economics.

I can't imagine chaos at GT. So I don't think that's something you should worry about. What do you mean by resources?

I would imagine that GT will bring in, if they don't have already, practitioners to teach the development courses. You don't want just academics, you want people who have been in the field and have experience with development agencies and organizations. These are the people who know how to do things like "monitoring and evaluation" and "program development." These are the people who can tell you what's it actually like to do development. The Director/Cornerstone professor of ID at Elliott has a phD in anthropology and worked with USAID for quite some time and other organizations. He's also a democracy and governance expert in Eurasia and Central Asia. So I mean he's quite accomplished in different areas. And being that ID is interdisciplinary that's the best way to go. I'm sure that GT is good and ready for a quality ID program...otherwise they wouldn't be doing it.

But the best way to get more information is to contact the program, I'm sure they'd be happy to help. And also, do some comparing between the other established programs at Elliott, Hopkins (SAIS), American (SIS), and any other you can come across online. That's the best way to get a sense of which one feels the most right to you, especially in regards to concentration (Democracy and Governance, for example). You have to be able to choose or at least create a track for yourself our of the classes being offered.

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I'm applying to the GHD program. I had decided not to apply to Georgetown, and then they announced this and I couldn't help myself :)

You should definitely ask the admissions contacts. I am on the mailing list, so I get the various updates and such. There will be a final online chat this Friday the 6th from 3-4 PM EST. This is the link I was sent:

http://groupchat02.askadmissions.net/01/Landingpage.aspx?clientname=georgetowngsas.

I'm not entirely sure about the aid, although I haven't heard great things about Georgetown's financial packages in general. I'm hoping that there may be better aid now because it's a brand-new program that needs to catch the interest of students who may want to go somewhere more proven. I only made it to the tail end of an online chat, but I was told that they are going for 20 people in the first cohort.

On a slightly different note, I was pretty bummed by the prompts. Not really something I could use my general SOP to write, and so it's the only part of all my applications I haven't completed... must figure out those two/three issues and my leadership tests out pretty darn soon!

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Also, the program does strike me as being fairly quantitative, but not overly so. Looking at the requirements, there are quite a few economic and analytical course, but I feel like that's necessary for something like global human development. Part of the reason I'm going for my master's is so that I can get that kind of knowledge, which is hard to receive simply working in development. I'm guessing it will also matter what you want to concentrate on, though. The GHD program is similar in some ways with the regular MSFS program, but I think the specificity is what makes it unique. This is purely human development, with everything being based on that side of it. It puts a more personal view into development work, that I think isn't found in other public policy/development programs. But that's just the impression I get.

In this program, I like that there are plenty of electives, as well as available certificates. I would definitely go that route, since I'm trying to continue language study during my graduate courses. I just wish that part of the Georgetown SOP included why I think it's a good fit for me - trying to do the whole implied reasons when describing future goals. I will be so glad when I'm done with it!

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I spoke to the academic coordinator of the new GHD program today and clarified a lot of my original questions. It was a really helpful conversation as not all the info is available online, so I thought I would share:

  • Gtown at this point has three different "tracks" by which you could do development. There's the MSFS major in development (which is not nearly as popular as the IR/security track there), the public policy degree development track, and the new GHD program. She explained that the MPP development route is very quantitative and policy based. The MSFS development route is more theoretical, giving a grounding in international relations as an academic discipline and treating the entirety of "development" itself as a specialization (which is obviously still not very specialized). In comparison, the new GHD program is a degree in development, with 6 further specializations within: Global Health; Environment/Climate; Food, Agriculture, and Rural Livelihoods; Public Sector; Education and Human Capital; (the final option is self-designed).
  • The GHD is a practitioner-based degree that is very hands-on, which is evident in the curriculum options that were recently posted on the website (not so much traditional IR theory -- more courses like project design & management, finance and evaluation). In this sense it almost seems to share more with a b-school curriculum, and she said they would have a lot of cooperation with the Georgetown b-school particularly in the area of social entrepreneurship.
  • The first GHD cohort will indeed be only 20 students. Of those, they are planning to offer 20% of the cohort financial aid (i.e. 4 people!). That aid will be partial, not full tuition (up to or less than half-tuition). They will provide matching funds to people on Pickering and other special fellowships, and are currently in talks with the Peace Corps Coverdell program but I got the impression that this wouldn't be finalized in time for this round. She couldn't speak to the number of apps or competitiveness since the deadline is still a couple weeks away. I imagine at least a couple/few hundred people will apply?
  • They are going to look for minimum quant and econ skills in applicants, but she said basic micro/macro from college would be sufficient, and that they would also have a week-long refresher course for people.
  • They have not ironed out any joint degree options yet, either in Georgetown or outside of it. It's in the works.
  • The program is really for current practitioners continuing in the field, and she was pretty clear that they are not looking to take anyone who is right out of college. I would even deduce that people who are purely transitioning fields and have no experience in development itself would have a hard time getting admitted.
  • They will have some GHD professors that are their own, and some adjunct faculty that will be invited. The rest of the elective courses will be shared with other departments/MSFS. They, again, want to have their own practitioner faculty who can speak to the processes in development and not just the theories...so people who have worked for World Bank, USAID, etc.
  • Students will be placed with summer projects and also, if possible, school-year internships through the help of the GHD program. There will be a lot of personal attention that goes into this, since there are only 20 people.
  • She said there would definitely be "kinks" and administrative issues to be worked out during the piloting of the program, which was my only reservation in our 'info session' that otherwise was great. She said the plus side of this is the first cohort is really going to help shape the program, their feedback will be solicited and will make a real impact (as opposed to being ignored in larger more established programs), and that GHD will count on their first graduates to really establish the rep of the program upon graduation. Otherwise, what GHD lacks in "establishment" (she pitched) it makes up for by access to Georgetown, a really well-connected and experienced director, and of course being in DC.

Overall, especially with the new IR MA rankings that came out today, I think Gtown looks like a great option for a really select group of development practitioners who can manage to be admitted. It offers exactly the applied skills that I'm looking for, as after so long in the field I really don't want to go back to just talking about the issues theoretically without talking about how things work in real life. I am worried about the newness though, the "kinks" which could definitely be frustrating if they interfere with the whole experience (limited internship placements for example, course choices, scheduling, etc.)...and about the limited funding. I don't think I would (be able to) go for the full price tag, which means my shots are probably 1 in 100 (assuming a ~5% admission rate and 20% chance of scholarship). Eeek. But I guess the only way to not get it for sure is to not apply!

Edited by piquant777
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  • 1 month later...

I got an email this afternoon from the program, asking for a Skype interview. The message was great because it was really personal, referencing my past work and educational goals :) This is the first I have heard from ANY school, so it's definitely helping me feel a little more hopeful.

I'm crazy excited, although now about to start my obsessive researching of what I need to know before such an interview (I had no idea any of the places I applied to would have this stage!).... anyone else get an interview invite and is busy preparing?

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Got the same email -- exciting! It def is an additional stage I think bc the cohort is so small and the program brand new. I wonder how many people applied this year (as opposed to the more well-known MSFS) and how many got an interview request.

Edited by piquant777
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  • 3 weeks later...

Just received an email placing me on the "priority wait list." Good luck to all!

For GHD? Or was yours the one listed for Russian, East European And Eurasian Studies? I only ask because they seem to be posted around the same time, and I'm curious if the GHD program has already gotten to contacting the wait list...

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@bgreenster My friend was notified by Georgetown GHD today by email that she's on the priority wait list:"we have recommended you for a place on our Priority Wait List, a list reserved for our top Wait List applicants...We remain very interested in your application."

Apparently they only accepted 20 candidates?

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Womp womp. Silence doesn't bode well in this case.

Ah well, unless I got really good funding, Gtown wasn't so much in the cards. Between tuition and living costs - yikes! Good luck to y'all on the wait list.

In terms of number accepted - they are hoping for a class of 20, so they definitely had to accept more than that. I don't know what kind of numbers, though, what with it being a brand new program. I'm curious as to how many applied, then how many made it to the interview round. I'm also curious as to how other interviews went - I thought mine went really well, with her literally saying I was a "perfect fit"... which seems weird to say to someone that they don't intend to accept. I know I'm jumping the gun a bit, but the silence is definitely getting in my head.

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I don't mind :)

I have about 5 years experience abroad, teaching English. I just got back from doing the Peace Corps (that's included in the 5 years). I have done a lot of volunteer work, including in the countries I lived in. I think it also helps that I speak Spanish, Azerbaijani, and some Turkish (since Gtown requires a foreign language)

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So excited for bgreenster and congrats again on the scholarship! :D The program looks great and I think I'm going to enroll, though of course I'm still waiting on my other decisions this one's going to be hard to beat. BMCGirl, the MGHD program seems to specifically be looking for people with significant work experience in development or at least developing countries. Def languages would help. I have 4 years of WE all in non-profit, 3 in NGO development in developing countries (2 of which were also Peace Corps!:). Hope to see more people who were admitted and might end up in the program next year!

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I just wanted to share my thoughts with people, particularly for anyone planning on applying for this program in the upcoming year. My impression of the degree, and what draws me to it is this:

- The small size. Some people want bigger cohorts for the networking, but I reaaaaally like that there will only be about 20 people. This guarantees that the cohort will be close-knit, and that we would work closely with faculty. I think in some ways that is better than having a larger network of acquaintances.

- The fact that it's new. Again, I know this is kind of weird, but it means that Georgetown is invested in the success of these early cohorts. If we don't get good internships and good employment post-graduation, then the program will plummet. I believe that the school will have an even greater interest in our happiness and success than you could find in more established programs.

- The individual attention. This goes with the previous two, but is a little separate. I fully believe that faculty will work with each individual to ensure he/she is getting what he/she wants out of the degree. 20 is a manageable number to do this with, and while it is still possible for cohorts of ~100, I feel better about my chances of getting attention. This is especially important to me because I wasn't particularly close to any of my undergrad professors, and it's certainly something I envy of my friends who went to smaller schools.

- The summer field project. I talked with Prof. Van Dusen in my Skype interview about the project in more detail. She said that in the fall, students will speak with faculty about what their hopes are in terms of career, and that they will do their best to match them with a field project on that career trajectory. So, if you said you really wanted to work in women's health rights in developing nations, they'll do what they can to set that up for your summer project. Like I said before, they really seem to put a lot of emphasis on working with students in their specific pursuits.

- The coursework basically covers every facet of what you will need as a development worker. It is essentially a list of everything I wish I had known while working in development the past couple years. I honestly can't wait to take those classes (even though they'll probably be hard :P )

- Finally, job placement. I 100% believe that I will have a job that I want at the time of graduation. I can't imagine finishing this program, with the connections it has, without some kind of option. I mean, it's Georgetown, haha.

Any thoughts? I'd love to hear any pros and cons y'all have about this program. Also, as piquant777 wrote, I'd love to hear from anyone else going/considering going.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It was confirmed on one of the admitted students chats that only a few more than the allotted 20 spots for the initial class were straight-out accepted. They are probably trying to be conservative, which is tricky because there's no precedent for yield since it's a new program. That being said I already know that a few accepted students (particularly those who didn't get money) will leave to other schools with more funding now that all acceptances have come out. I think it's safe to assume that they will be going to the waitlist as soon as people start declining. If you're still interested, like with any other school, you should probably send a letter confirming your spot on the waitlist, giving them an update of renewed interest or new information, and stating that you would be willing to take a spot as soon as one opens up.

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