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Considering applying to MPA programs


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Hi, all. I plan to finish my M.A. in philosophy in Spring 2012, and given the abysmal job prospects for philosophy Ph.D.'s, I am exploring the idea of applying to an MPA program for Fall 2012. I am really just beginning to learn about these programs, and I am wondering if anyone has any information or advice they'd like to share. I have lots of questions. For example:

-What do such programs look for in applicants?

-I have heard that it is difficult to get funding for an MPA. Is this true?

-I think I am interested in working in the non-profit sector after graduation. Any advice on program choices, in light of that?

Here's a quick rundown of my qualifications:

B.A. in Philosophy (3.4 GPA :-/ )

M.A. in Philosophy (In progress. I am fully funded. So far I've had straight A's with the exception of 1 pesky A-.)

GRE Verbal: 740

GRE Quantitative: 580

As you can see, my quantitative score is not so great. Sadly, I don't think it is going to improve. Is this going to really hurt me? Thanks in advance for your help!

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I'm wrapping up my MPA at UC Denver, which while not and Ivy league school, is pretty well respected. I also got my BA in philosophy, and applied after working as a policy researcher and political consultant for a few years after college.

Here's my advice: First off, MPA's seem to be mostly beneficial in the region you go to school, and perhaps the best best part about an MPA is the networking you will have access to.

That said, the MPA, at least where I went, is so broad in terms of subject coverage that it really doesn't make you an expert in any field. For instance, we took a class in public finance, a class in human resources, and a class in admin law. Does that make you an expert in such field, such that employeers seek you out? Absolutely not.

Also, the public secto job market, even here in Denver (which weathered the recession better than average), is pretty bad. Just about all the jobs I've seen posted want 3-5 years of very specialized experience. I applied for a few positions, and even with a decent work history, did not even get an interview. The situation is similiar for most of my classmates.

I did the MPA as a hedge, hoping to land a decent job for a couple years and then head on to a PhD in political science, but instead just decided to take whatever job I could and apply to phd programs this fall.

In a nutshell, I wouldn't recomend the MPA as gateway to non profit positions, at best you'll find lots of non-profits looking for interns, which may, but will not normally, lead to paid position down the road. Also, coming from a phil background you'll probably (like me) find 60% of the course work mind numbing.

The public

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