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American Studies: Brown or Columbia?

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Hello everyone,

I am an international student, and I got accepted into the M.A. American Studies at both Columbia and Brown.

I was offered a 50k fellowship for one academic year, which I could use for either university.

At this moment, I am torn between the two ...

Both offer fairly different programs:



The advantages for Brown Universty, in my opinion, are the fact that there is more free choice in terms of the curriculum, no dissertation and the possibility of an internship. Moreover, it is a 1 year program, which would be more interesting in terms of financing this degree.

Then again, Columbia has the better reputation (especially for the graduate school?) and might be more challenging or rewarding in terms of academics. The fact that it is located in New York City (I love big cities) and might open up more 'opportunities' are also a big draw for me. However, since this is a 2 year-program, it would be a lot more expensive.

I wondered if anyone had anything to add to this, or any advice to give...

Also, I wondered which one of the two would have the better 'social life' - I have read some negative things about Columbia in this aspect. Would it be easier to meet people and make friends at Brown since it is a smaller university in a smaller town?

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A few things - Brown's reputation is nothing to sneeze at. Brown is considered Ivy, as is Columbia.

50K for one year is amazing so you shouldn't have too much of a problem affording NYC rent. In that way, money isn't a problem. Providence isn't too far from Boston - about an hour without traffic - so you would have the ability to travel to a bit city if you need to.

Lastly, Columbia has a very big graduate student enrollment (I think it's somewhere near 11k). You honestly have to ask yourself if you're okay with that many people being graduate students in a huge city where it can be hard to get away from people, or if you want a smaller university in a smaller town.

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