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Reputable Phd. in Political Science that is easy to get in.


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I'm wondering if there is a chance I can possibly gain admission to a Phd. program in Political Science in the United States.

My stats are helpless:

Undergraduate: Simon Fraser University (ranked #1 in it's category in Canada) BA in Political Science, GPA 2.36

Graduate: Harvard Extension School ALM in Government, GPA 3.19

GRE: Verbal 157 Math 154 Writing 4.0

 

I'm currently a diplomat in a developing country's foreign service. 

Any recommendation for a reputable Phd. program (IR/comparative politics) that will accept below average scholar, but a bright professional future?

 

Thank you.

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Define reputable. Do you mean for getting into a career in academia? Or did you want to get back into the policy/diplomacy world? When you say 'below average scholar...bright professional future' that sort of signals that you're looking to stay away from the research end of things and keep on the practitioner track...is that accurate? I guess I'm wondering why you want the PhD; I ask mainly because given your stats, the best chance at admission you've got is to basically blow your Statement of Purpose out of the water.

 

I think "purpose for the phD" is a good place to start before you can narrow down schools. 

Edited by HK2004
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Thank you HK2004. By reputable I mean schools that are accredited by relevant authorities in the state and country where they are located. It would be a plus if they are well known at least in their own state or country if not internationally.  You are right to point out that I will stick to my career after completing the PhD and will unlikely pursue an academic career unless my controversial dissertation gets me kicked out of the Foreign Service.

 

Taking on your advise of identifying the "purpose for the PhD", I gave it more thought and simply put: I want to spend time to research and write a dissertation that I hope could be applied towards the improvement of my country's political situation. This is a cause I am willing to spend a few years going at it. For this reason, the reputation of the academic institution I attend can bolster the acceptance (and even legitimacy) of my thesis to my country's society at large. 

 

note: my country is a developing country that has faced a few years of political crisis leading to violence on the streets. Although things have calmed down, the conflict is still very much dividing the populace. The future is uncertain. We could go from being on track to achieve a admirable level of development or complete isolation circa Burma or DPRK style.

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I'm sure that you stand a good shot at getting in to a program (at least if we go by how you defined reputable). Your professional experience is going to be valuable and your GRE scores are acceptable for most programs (except perhaps the top ones).

 

I'd use a ranking, like this one, and find programs that interest you. Most programs usually have some information on their website about how qualified their applicants are, and you can also use the results database here on gradcafe to get an idea about what type of credentials that people have when they get accepted to various programs

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Superfly, I'd definitely recommend talking to someone outside of an internet forum about this. What I'm hearing is that you're looking to get into a policy-type PhD program focused on development and diplomacy, and you'd like to tailor your studies in such a way as to both build upon and subsequently further your current career trajectory. 

 

The PhD in the U.S., from what I've gathered, can be a huge minefield if you're not careful. The best school for me may be a horrifically bad school for you. Off the top of my head, I'd point you towards looking into any school that's attached to a lot of professional institutions: major schools in metro areas like Georgetown and Tufts might be a good starting point. Other possibilities include a policy-focused degree program like Columbia's SIPA or JHU's SAIS, or even UCSD's IR/PS if you're into Pacific Studies. Like Lemeard said, your scores may prevent you from getting into a top program, but this isn't an area that I have any experience in (i.e. policy/practice-oriented PhD applications) so I just can't tell you for sure whether your professional background will help mitigate it.

 

You just have to be really careful. That's my best advice. Talk to an academic, get in touch with a school's graduate coordinator...anything you can do to sift through the incredible diversity of programs out there. You don't want to get into a situation where you get into some big-name school only to find that they either don't do the research you want to do, or that they take a radically different approach than you wish to take. Especially since you seem to be coming in with enough background to really know what you're focusing on, I feel like that makes it all the more important to do your homework. Sorry I can't be of more help.

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I agree with HK2004. There are a number of good policy-oriented PhD programs in the U.S. that might be worth looking at (Georgetown's PhD in poli-sci is not one of them though). JHU-SAIS, Tufts-Fletcher School, Harvard-Kennedy School, Princeton-Woodrow Wilson, U Pittsburgh-GSPIA are all places that has policy oriented PhD programs. There are also other schools that are more leaning toward Public Policy like RAND-Pardee but I don't know if that kind of a route is how you'd like to proceed. It might also be a good idea to check out the Professional Programs - Government Affairs forums, since such programs kind of fall into their jurisdiction.

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Sounds like you are looking for an MA, not a PhD. You can do relatively extensive research on the topic of your choice through a thesis and it would better suited to your "professional" aspirations. I would suggest looking into the schools mentioned above. Also, if you want to go back to the great white north I would look into NPSIA in Ottawa (excellent ties to the diplomatic community) and the Munk School in Toronto. Both have high quality (and highly rated) professional MA programs. Goodluck.

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