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No funding at UCLA, but admitted


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I don't believe I've been allocated any funding, but I have been admitted to UCLA political science. The letter mentioned I could apply for funding again in two years. It didn't specifically say I didn't receive funding, but it didn't say I did either. I should be getting another email this week.

I've heard there is a problem with path dependency for non-funded students- that the atmosphere is extremely competitive and you have to claw tooth and nail to get recognized. I've also heard that people don't walk around with funded/non-funded labels on their heads, so it won't matter that much. Since I've heard strong warnings on the competitive/path dependency side, I'm coming to the board. What do you know about this situation? I have the money to go, but should I accept masters at a lesser university where I was fully funded and received a stipend, and reapply to Phd programs next year?

Any advice greatly appreciated.

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A professor told me that going to a university unfunded is like putting yourself on a second-class list. The department won't be interested in seeing you succeed/taking mentorship roles, because they see you as second best. The idea that departments devote their resources in terms of training, mentorship, time and effort on funded students, and that this will disadvantage you when it comes to hiring time.

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Hmm, I'd usually say "follow the money," to the master's program, but you say you have the money to go. I know $$ is always a sensitive question, but I'd try to make contacts among the current students at UCLA asap to gauge the situation. I'm personally inclined to believe that the professors wouldn't care about which students are funded and which aren't when they're all in the same program, but I don't know anything about this particular program and I've no experience with any program that doesn't fully fund all acceptees.

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