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SAIS vs Fletcher


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I've been accepted to both the M.A. program at SAIS (with a $30,000 fellowship, contingent on pursuing Southeast Asia Studies) and the MALD program at Fletcher (with a $45,000 scholarship). Now I have the terribly difficult task of making a decision and am looking for advice.

My priorities:

  • I've been engaged in Southeast Asia through my job for the past 4 years and am happy to further develop expertise on the region, however I want to come out of school with an extensive (and flexible!) professional network that enables me to work in the US and abroad, analytical skills in econ, and a functional proficiency in either development or international security issues. Further study of SE Asia is not my top priority, however if I could study development and/or security issues in the context of SE Asia, this would be ideal.  

My thoughts on SAIS:

  • I would have to concentrate on SE Asia studies. SAIS does not allow double concentrations in IDEV or Strategic Studies, however, I would have six electives through which I could pursue these interests (a SAIS concentration only requires 6 classes anayways). The SE Asia department at SAIS is unparalleled and I am very attracted to the int. econ. component of the program (allegedly the stronger than that of Fletcher), because econ. skills are valuable in the analysis of a wide range of issues and are also highly marketable. SAIS is in DC enabling solid networking and every student I've spoken to there loves the program and his/her peers. 


My thoughts on Fletcher:

  • Fletcher's offer is more flexible as funding isn't contingent. They also offer a little more money, and Fletcher students, like those at SAIS, rave about the program and their peers. However, the school is in Boston, which makes it more difficult to network outside the program. I've heard the MALD at Fletcher is more academically focused than the more practical MA at SAIS, and it does not have as strong of an econ component. Also, Fletcher's SE Asia department does not match up to SAIS. That being said, I've read that the IDEV at Fletcher is very solid and they have a stellar job placement record

    I'd appreciate any advice that you think can help me make the best decision possible.
Edited by morisan
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