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Chances for Political Science PhD

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I am quite impressed since everyone seems to have a strong background and special experience  :)  a little scared


I plan to apply for PhD on Comparative Politics/Political Economy. Here is my slim background. Shy.


BE in Information Security (a branch of Computer Science) from top 5 University in China Mainland, 2008-2012

GPA 3.2/4.0 (really lousy, I know. It is average score in my University.)

Minored in History at the same time (3.6/4.0)


MA on International Politics from UCSD IR/PS, 2012-2014 (expected)

50 credits earned so far, with one PhD seminar course in PolSci Department

GPA 3.95/4.0


GRE 610+800+3.5 (taken in 2011), going to retake in August


Familiar with Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Statistics.

Proficiency in Stata, C++, Matlab and R. I have devised some data-mining programs in undergraduate and graduate school, and have some knowledge on data visualization.


Some RA experience in UCSD. No publication so far.

Some coursework:

Marketization and Liberalization of China Official Media, which included time-series analysis and I mined the data on my own.

Effects of Public Debt on Economic Growth. Biased data and I have no energy/time fixing it.

China Diplomacy Network during Hu Administration, which has good data and reasonable model (Co-working with a PhD student in UCSD and probably publishable)


In this summer I would co-work with a professor on the subject of pollution outsourcing and international trade.


My wishlist:









I know I have overestimated myself but I am really in love of Political Science, so I need a safe place where I can go to... 

Should I replace some top 20 schools on my list with some ranking in 40s, 50s and 60s?

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That being said, you look competitive. If you only want to go to the schools you list, then only apply to them. There is no point in applying to a program where you would not go if it was the only place you were admitted. And, be honest with yourself on this. Work hard on your applications, take a deep breath, go forth.

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  • 1 month later...

Update On GRE: V163+Q170+AW4.0. Given the flawed Verbal and AW, is there any need to retake it if I really, really want to stay in pool of hope for Yale and school at that level?


Also, I am going to ask 3 tenured professors in UCSD (enrolled in their seminars, with class thesis) for RL.

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I think you'll be competitive, so long as the faculty who write your letters write truly strong letters (don't just ask them because they are tenured, pick them because they are the professors who know you best and can write great letters). Your verbal score is still in the 90th percentile, so that will be fine, and if the letters and writing sample are strong most departments will overlook a 4.0 AW score.

That being said, given the extremely competitive (and somewhat random) nature of the process, I would recommend adding more schools to your list if you can afford to apply to them and you would be interested in attending them. Given the list of schools you provided, I have a strong suspicion there are more schools with faculty in your research area that could be added to your list (both top-ranked and middle/lower ranked schools).

Best of luck,


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