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Advice needed from students familiar with MPP, MPA programs in the US


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Dear GradCafe users,

Thank you for your posts and all the information. I really need your advice about MPP/MPA programs in the US, that will be a good fit for me. I am an international student, so I don't have the opportunity to visit campuses, and I am not that familiar with grad schools in the US.

I am very interested in social policy (inequality, social justice), but not only from quantitative side, but, also, from more theoretical point of view (pol theory or pol philosophy for example). Can you give me an advice - which programs are just hands-on and nothing more, and which programs can provide theoretical focus on social justice. For me program's location or network opportunities in D.C. doesn't matter, but some international exposure will be great.

Thank you friends, your advices are very important for people like me, who are not very familiar with different programs.

PS My stats are looking like this

Programs Considered: Harris, Heller, Sanford, CIPA, Ford, GWU MA in philosophy and social policy

Undergraduate institution: Leading law school in Eastern Europe (post-Soviet country)

Undergraduate GPA: 3.97,

Undergraduate Major: Law

Study Abroad: 1 year non-degree studying in the US state university with full fellowship from an international NGO (economics, pol sci)

GRE: taking it in 2 weeks, now it's around 160 both sections

Years Out of Undergrad (by enter date): I am applying straight from the undergrad

Years of Work Experience: 4 years part-time

Describe Relevant Work Experience: 2 years working in the law firm part-time, Law clerk in the district court, fellowship for a summer internship in a think-tak in DC, 2 years volunteering in the local democracy-promoting NGO; now, for 1 year, I am the president of this NGO.

Languages: Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, English, Mandarin (poor)

Do you think that absence of full-time employment after graduation will hinder my chances?

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I recently attended a graduate school fair. A lot of the programs that you have require you to get that "hand-ons" experience either through an internship or through research. I don't think any program only hands on, but some are more quantitative than others. In addition to the programs you have listed look at University of Pennslyvania, Maxwell, and Humphries (University of minnesota). I know for a fact Humphries, Harris, and Sanford have pre-req courses like statistics and microecon, but Humphries allows you to take a course online prior to starting their program. Harris and Sanford want you to have at least 2 years of work experience (but I think that included internships) and seemed rather quant heavy. I would just contact the schools through e-mail. Best of luck.

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