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No Political Science/IR Degree: How does that affect my chances?


brmo07

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I am a recently graduated master's student planning on studying international relations and environmental politics. This cycle I applied to  but was rejected from four top-20 IR schools (TRIPS survey), Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, and Johns Hopkins. My master's was in environmental policy from the University of Oxford, I graduated with distinction and my thesis won the top prize in my course. My GRE scores were V 170, Q 160, and AW 5.5.

 

I've talked to a few poli. sci. PhDs, and they said that applying to top schools means that many acceptable applicants are rejected. Next cycle, I am planning to apply to many more schools, but I have one general question:

 

My undergrad was in Economics, my master's was in the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford. Does my lack of a political science background make applying to top schools unrealistic? Should i be focusing my energies elsewhere?

 

Thanks!

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My undergrad was in Economics, my master's was in the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford. Does my lack of a political science background make applying to top schools unrealistic? Should i be focusing my energies elsewhere?

 

Formally? No. I don't have a Poli Sci degree, and I got in. It may have harmed me, but I don't know. My BS was is Economics too--knowing about formal models and how to do math helps. Many PS undergrad courses do not teach this.

 

But lemme ask you this: I don't know anything about that Oxford degree, was it a professional degree? Are you completely switching fields? That may raise a concern.

 

As long as your research interest is firmly in the discipline of political science, I don't see the problem.

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As long as your research interest is firmly in the discipline of political science, I don't see the problem.

 

Agree with this.

 

I'm not on an admissions committee but I've heard them say things just like this and I've also know people who didn't have PS degrees in undergrad. 

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