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KCL vs. UCL vs. GW


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Hi, I'm in a bit of a dilemma, as I'm torn between being professionally or academically oriented. I am concerned with prestige, however, and I need to know that the choice I'm making will make me look competitive. However, if you think none of these political science degrees are really worth it, as they are not top-tier, let me know as well. Also, is MSc better than MA? 


  • I know that if I go to GW, I will be close to DC jobs, and I will diversify my CV because I will have studied in two countries. However, GW is really low on rankings, perhaps lower than both UCL and KCL in the international job market. I don't know if the Elliott School is prestigious (if that) enough to overcome the GW name. 


  • I know that if I go to UCL, I will benefit internationally from the general prestige of its name, but I do not know if UCL Political Science has any links in international security work. I don't even know if UCL is a dedicated security studies research hub.  


  • I know that if I go to KCL, I will benefit from the academic prestige of its War Studies department, and that it is the department with classes closest to my interests, but I worry I may end up with an enjoyable, but unprofitable degree. 


As a person who isn't sure she has what it takes to be an academic, I really need a school that insures both possible pathways. I don't have any funding. 



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Guest hopefulfool

Is this a PhD?

 No, the question is in regards to masters programs. 

I think the most important question is "where do you want to work?" Plenty of people come out of KCL and work for defense departments (typically not in the US). GW would be great if you want to work in DC just because it is well known in the US. 

The difference between an MSc and an MA is that the MSc is an MA crammed into one year with the addition of comprehensive exams, which almost all US MA's do not have. 

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Honestly, it sounds like you know the pros and cons already, and that the next step is really for you to determine your career objective.


If you aren't going into academia, I think the "prestige" factor is less important.  GW might not be a top-20 Political Science grad program, but it is a well-respected school.  Outside academia, I have serious doubt that your prospective employer is going to care whether you went to Duke, UCLA, or GW for your terminal masters.  The main factor here is how important is it to you that you find work in the US when you're done? In DC? In Europe?


Two years at GW without funding is a huge debt burden for you to accept if you ultimately go to academica/pursue a PhD and end up getting a second masters along the way.


You will need to decide ASAP what route you want to take and why you want to do this.  I think once you know what you want, the answer will be pretty clear.

Edited by Quigley
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Anyone know anything about the UCL Political Science department, then? Is it agreed that KCL > UCL for Political Science? 


Thanks for all the comments, guys. I'm just trying to figure out which one is best internationally, so I can easily work in both the US and the UK. 

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