Jump to content

Berkeley vs. Harvard


ispar

Recommended Posts

I got accepted into Berkeley and Harvard for Asian Studies/Regional Studies-East Asia MA and am having trouble making a decision! Please help!

Both schools have great East Asia programs, but my focus is Korean history and Harvard has an excellent and established professor in the field, whereas Berkeley only has a visiting Korea historian. On the other hand, Berkeley is approx. 7k/year in-state, while Harvard is 50k more expensive and not offering any financial aid. I'd rather not go into debt, but if working with well-established professors will put me in a better position applying for PhD programs, I think it will be worth it...

Any thoughts? Comments? Questions? Please help!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My advice: no debt for Ph.D.s, especially if they're not highly marketable (which at a bare minimum covers humanities and social sciences). That includes debt for MA programs so you can apply to Ph.D. programs later. This has all been flogged to death on the Chronicle forums, etc, but the academic job market sucks. Don't stick yourself with debt for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For an MA program, my advice, for what it's worth, is to flow where the money is. It might be possible to work around the Korea problem. For instance, you could work with some of the professors at Berkeley who do top-drawer work on China or Japan. Work very hard, get letters from them and you might do well with PhD applications. (What could you write about? Maybe China-Korea or Japan-Korea linkages.)

But don't trust anonymous forums either. Ask whoever your department contact is about people who have come before you who do Korean history. Ask to be put in touch with them.

Also, keep in mind that while Harvard has great intellectual resources (just like Berkeley, Stanford and Columbia) there's always the chance that you and the awesome Korea person at Harvard might not click intellectually over the long haul.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also just in terms of traveling distance Berkeley happens to be *closer* to the region. Not sure that really matters, but if you want a silly reason to decide, that's one!

Though I think the 43k/yr difference would be much better. Berkeley is a good school and an utter steal at the prices they charge. If Harvard isn't willing to fund you then I should hardly think you'd be willing to go there just to have them charge you over 6 times as much. Especially if they're both good programs.

Also the advantage of going to a place that doesn't have an established prof in the particular subfield is if you want you can help lead it there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone for your responses. You're right, it's probably not worth it to go into a lot of debt during an unstable job market. I'm definitely leaning towards Berkeley at this point and will be visiting them sometime next week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use