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PhD in IR or in International Development?


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Opinions wanted: which is more marketable - a PhD in IR or in International Development?

Haven't decided on exact dissertation topic yet, but will involve: democracy, governance & human rights. Possibly nationalism. Possibly Middle East focused (but I'm not fluent in Arabic/Hebrew).

I want to teach but I also want to publish & work as an international dev consultant (in the democracy & governance field). Econ is a necessary evil I'm sure but I don't see it factoring in heavily to my focus on D&G -- stats are no problem. It's my understanding that the PhD in International Dev will require much more econ theory than a PhD in IR. True? False? Irrelevant?


MPA / Top 10 School, 3.6 GPA (school doesn't do Latin honors)

BA & BS / Solid, rising star regional school (but unrelated majors) 3.8 GPA Summa cum laude

GRE: No idea anymore but it wasn't great...I will be retaking it after some serious quant prep, verbal was I think 90% percentile

Currently working at a D&G INGO, history with UN agencies as a consultant.

Might apply for 2013...more likely 2014, perhaps after getting an MA in Middle East studies in Israel (language skills + area studies).

Thoughts? Opinions?

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when in doubt, i'd say you will be better off doing the phd in a more conventional department. how many people hired by poli sci departments have phds in international development or public policy or whatnot? by contrast, there are lots of people working in other programs with poli sci degrees

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I think it depends on whether you mean a PhD through a policy school like SIPA or SAIS in ID or a PhD in Development Studies (mostly done in the UK). I'd say that if you want to teach in the US, unless you want to teach in a policy school (and even then, actually), do the PhD in political science. Most faculty I know at policy schools actually have PhDs in poli sci, econ, etc. There's also lots of dual degree options that could make you more palatable - depending on what area of development you want to focus on, you could try to go to a school with a good international law program, or with a good environmental studies school, or a good regional institute... I think as long as you take internships during grad school with INGOs, you'll be in good shape with a poli sci PhD.

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