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UC Berkeley vs AU for Masters in International Development


Alex313
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HELP! I've got a decision to make and I don't know what to do.

 

I have been accepted into American University and Berkeley for Masters in International Development. I currently live in SF and really don't want to pack up and move but I want to try to make my decision based on the programs and not lifestyle.

 

AU is the 8th best program in the country for ID, it has been around for 35 years and is well established, has a huge alumni network and support system and is located in DC kind of the epicenter of development. The curriculum is very similar to that of Berkeley but is kind of more theory than practice focused which is something the school is currently changing. I would also combine it with 2 years in the Peace Corps so I don't think it would be too much of a detriment.

 

Berkeley's Masters in Development Practice is a new program only introduced last year and so there's not even a graduating class to discuss with. However there are thousands of Berkeley alums from different programs working in Development fields. The program is more practically based but because it is so new I'm worried. You can check the program out here: http://mdp.berkeley.edu/

 

I think American is more organized and has greater resources in place, but Berkeley is Berkeley. What should I do?

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I think that Berkeley program looks way cool even if it is new. It looks like you're going to have access to profs from a lot of great Berkeley departments (I'm biased as a Californian). You might want to search for and peruse through a lot of the threads on American in the Government Affairs sub-forum: http://forum.thegradcafe.com/forum/11-government-affairs/ - From what I've seen there are mixed reviews on American - people say it's kind of set off from the rest of DC. I would also keep in mind that DC is a large town with a number of great international development (JHU SAIS, Georgetown, GWU etc.) programs whose students you would likely be competing with for internships/fellowships. I also wouldn't take the US News rankings too seriously especially since you're planning on going into the Peace Corps. I think employers would see Berkeley/Peace Corps and that would be just fine in terms of professional credibility.

 

Are you considered in-state for Berkeley? Did either program offer you a scholarship? If your professional interests are in Asia being on the West Coast might be a real advantage.

 

Best of Luck.

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Thanks for your response! My regional focus is actually Latin America. So far Berkeley has offered me a small scholarship which makes it about the same cost as American. I'll be eligible for In-State tuition starting Spring 2014 but for fall I'll be out of state.  

 

 

 

I think that Berkeley program looks way cool even if it is new. It looks like you're going to have access to profs from a lot of great Berkeley departments (I'm biased as a Californian). You might want to search for and peruse through a lot of the threads on American in the Government Affairs sub-forum: http://forum.thegradcafe.com/forum/11-government-affairs/ - From what I've seen there are mixed reviews on American - people say it's kind of set off from the rest of DC. I would also keep in mind that DC is a large town with a number of great international development (JHU SAIS, Georgetown, GWU etc.) programs whose students you would likely be competing with for internships/fellowships. I also wouldn't take the US News rankings too seriously especially since you're planning on going into the Peace Corps. I think employers would see Berkeley/Peace Corps and that would be just fine in terms of professional credibility.

 

Are you considered in-state for Berkeley? Did either program offer you a scholarship? If your professional interests are in Asia being on the West Coast might be a real advantage.

 

Best of Luck.

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