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Ohio State: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly


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I'm in the midst of weighing my options right now. There are threads already discussing all of the programs I'm giving serious consideration to at this point except for Ohio State, so I was hoping to tap into everyone's knowledge and impressions of the department there. What is the environment like among grad students? Are the faculty nice and willing to work with grad students or do they cloister themselves away in their offices?

Basically, anything you can offer would be of value, whether that is firsthand knowledge, rumors you've heard, or impressions you've gathered from some place or other. Obviously, I know the basic stuff about the rank of the program, who the big names on the faculty are (I'm in IR, by the way), etc. Thanks in advance for your help!

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I have (somewhat obsessively) checked out gradcafe for the last 2 months, but this is my first post. I thought I could contribute, though, by providing some information on OSU. First off, I have a graduate degree from OSU (not in political science) and have lived in Columbus for 4+ years. I currently am weighing a couple of acceptances, including OSU. I have a friend in the PS department (2nd year-American sub-field), who has told me nothing but great things about his experience there-both in regards to the approachability of faculty and the collegiality of the graduate students. I am unable to attend the Recruitment Weekend, so I recently had a visit to the department, which was arranged by a faculty member there. I am interested in comparative, so I primarily spoke with comparative faculty. I also spoke with a few more students. I was extremely impressed by the visit. Although OSU is historically strong in American and IR, I found the recently tenured comparative faculty there to be of the highest quality and think they will anchor a strong future in comparative for years to come. Plus, I was told that the next few hires would be in comparative, as they are trying to boost that sub-field. Obviously, the point of a recruitment visit is for them to "sell" you on their department. However, I was surprised at the candor with which the faculty spoke about both the strengths and weaknesses of the department (as well some comments on their experience at other departments that I am considering). The students seemed very happy there (and I know this is not just a "sell" because I have a friend there that has confirmed this for the past year or so). I would encourage anyone that is considering OSU to definitely visit and check it out. While I am not sure where I will end up, I feel stronger that OSU is a great place (plus, I had a fantastic time here before and I really enjoy Columbus as well). I hope this helps. Feel free to PM me if you want any more specifics.

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