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Chicago CIR Open House


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If anyone attended the UChicago CIR Open House on the 6th, could they please share their experiences - what was their impression of the department, the faculty, preceptors, what the current students seemed to think about the program, the classes (if they attended any), the university etc? I'm an international student and therefore, couldn't make it to the Open House and I would really appreciate any inputs from those who attended it.


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s58 e-mailed me for my opinion on the program (which is good, because I kept forgetting to reply to this thread >_>), but I figured I'd post my response on here as well in case anyone else wants to hear it.

"Of the campus itself, its quite nice. It's not particularly large; it has some 211 acres of land, but if you take a look at the map they provide, you'll see what that area equates to. Easily walked from one end to the other with no major concerns. The area gets a bit sketchy if you go too far north, south or east, but from my understanding its still quite safe, so long as you don't go where you shouldn't at times that are inherently questionable. I found this site to be a bit helpful in terms of what to expect from the area:


In terms of faculty, I mean, it depends on what you're looking for. Apparently Glaser is on his way out and Snidal might be doing the same, but you still have an excellent faculty in many respects. For me, at least, there are profs like Mearsheimer, Pape, and Lipson that make it worthwhile to head over there, but that's personal preference.

Preceptors are what make or break this program, and it sounds like they are inherently very hands on and involved to a great extent. There's a lot of guidance involved from them, but also from a number of other people within the CIR office that is extremely compelling. That being said, I cannot speak for the precepts that will be there for the fall, because we don't know who they'll be. The ones listed on the website are the ones for this year, and there's no way of knowing who it'll be until they're hired.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to talk to too many current students or alumni, but one of the things that was mentioned in a deal I went to there was the success rate of recent grads (last year, maybe two). This is what jumped out at me: 93% of them have jobs, 4% have gone on to some other kind of program (Ph.D., J.D., M.B.A., etc.), so in total there's only 3% that are unemployed, which is mainly due to the career services that they provide there. If and when you get to campus, introduce yourself to Emily Easton, the Senior Program Development Officer, because she's the one that makes that sort of thing happen.

I was only able to sit in on one class, but it was taught by Mearsheimer. Relatively small class, only about 25 or 30 students, of whom it seemed that about 1/4 or 1/3 were actively participating on their own with a few more being called on by Mearsheimer to see if they'd done the readings. (Oh, and they're saying to expect to read somewhere between 900 and 1000 pages a week for the program, BTW) He wasn't the scary curmudgeon that people had made him out to be, and when myself and a handful of other CIR prospectives introduced ourselves to him during a break he was very friendly."

Anyone else feel similarly?

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Hello everyone,

I went as well. Admittedly, I had already sent in my acceptance of their offer, and so was sold before attending this weekend. First of all, Chicago the city is so cool. It has all of the advantages of a big city, but doesn't feel crazy like NYC. As far as UChicago and CIR go... The campus is amazing. So beautiful (even though it snowed when we were there). The faculty and staff to whom I spoke were all very down-to-earth and willing to answer questions. One really gets the sense of a community at this program, a fact which is also highlighted by the existence of the preceptors, whose jobs it is to guide (and not instruct, they stressed) CIR students through all decisions. The career services lady was awesome, and seems to really know her stuff.

I sat in on Eric Posner's "Public International Law" class, and it was great. I had a feeling that I wanted to focus on international law, and now I am sure. The stuff was so interesting that I had to restrain myself from raising my hand and getting involved in class discussion (I didn't want to be "that guy"). On a less formal note, many of the other prospective students there seemed to be really cool people. Not many of the show-off type IR students one expects to find at least a few of. I think the kind of person who is attracted to this kind of IR program (one so academically - and not career - focused) is inherently more inclusive, and less competitive. This is the kind of person I tend to like more (this is not the case for everyone).

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Thanks so much both of you! Nice to have such positive feedback :)

And very relieving to know that the cohort doesn't comprise of too many super-competitive type people. My current under-graduate institution has quite a few of those and I'm yearning for a place where people are competent, but are more relaxed, and do not turn everything into a competition!

Regarding the admitted students, were there a lot a people coming straight from their undergrad or were recent undergrads?

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Well, of the people that I got to know, it seemed to be decently mixed between recent grads and people coming back to school. Of the three that I talked with the most, two of them had graduated a couple of years previously, while the other was just coming from his undergrad. I didn't see a general breakdown of the incoming group, though.

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