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Hello everyone,

 

Since I know very little about Northwestern's polisci department/program, I wanted to hear your opinion on the school and the program. Any current/former students who can share some experience? What's the feel and direction of the department? What is it like living in Evanston? Do students go abroad several years or do they spend almost all of their time at NU? 

 

Comments would be much appreciated! Many thanks.

 

 

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Main focus IR, secondary focus theory. Fingers crossed for you! I also get the sense that it is a great department --just a bit confused, because they aren't really considered among the best with rankings/discussions. Wondering why that might be.

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Well, they're more or less a top 20 (this will fluctuate from ranking to ranking, of course), so unless you're considering a top 5 against it, I'd say that the ranking isn't something to be too concerned about. I'd look into: how well do I fit into the program? Do the professors seem nice? How is their placement in general? What about their placement in my sub-field/regional/theoretical interests? It's hard to generalize these things, but I'd say that Northwestern competes with the best of them. Rankings are, in my opinion, "soft" - that is, they're based on reputation, which can change from year to year and polled person to polled person. So they may fluctuate between 15 and 25, but they're not going to be moving between 15 and 45 (at least not anytime soon).

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Did anyone apply to the interdisciplinary clusters offered by the Graduate School at NU? I submitted an additional statement for the Comparative and Historical Social Science Cluster, but now I'm skeptical about the fit with my interests. Anyway, I´m just another anxious applicant waiting on Northwestern.

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I applied to their Critical Theory Cluster; received a response from them together with the general PS application. Also looked at the CHSS Cluster; it seems very interesting. Good luck with your application, hope you receive good news from them.

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I applied to their Critical Theory Cluster; received a response from them together with the general PS application. Also looked at the CHSS Cluster; it seems very interesting. Good luck with your application, hope you receive good news from them.

 

In my case, I heard that some of the polisci faculty in charge of the CHSS cluster would not take many students this year. But, in any case, this Cluster initiative is indeed very interesting. By the way, congrats on your acceptance! Great program.

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I applied to their Critical Theory Cluster; received a response from them together with the general PS application. Also looked at the CHSS Cluster; it seems very interesting. Good luck with your application, hope you receive good news from them.

 

Yea? I applied for the Critical Theory Cluster but have not heard back either way. I'd be disappointed if I weren't admitted since it was an important factor in my decision to apply to Northwestern. I guess it'll have to be a central question for the DGS when we chat this week. 

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Yea? I applied for the Critical Theory Cluster but have not heard back either way. I'd be disappointed if I weren't admitted since it was an important factor in my decision to apply to Northwestern. I guess it'll have to be a central question for the DGS when we chat this week. 

 

Did you receive your financial terms? It wasn't stated anywhere else, but there. But in any case, it is certainly worth asking.

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As far as I know, it is always possible to apply to clusters once you're at the university.

Yes, they confirm this information on the main page of the interdisciplinary cluster initiative; you can apply to join any cluster pretty much every year (except for the last two I think—to ensure that you have time to fulfill the cluster requirements).

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Seems the only benefit of hearing about the cluster now is the fellowship, yea? 

Pretty much. I guess the opportunity to start from the year one is another advantage. No problem with joining later though.

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Anyone know for sure they'll be attending visiting weekend?

 

I unfortunately won't be able to, because I am living abroad at the moment. 

 

I heard from many that the department at Northwestern has a leftist/constructivist direction. Anyone can speak about that?

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I heard from many that the department at Northwestern has a leftist/constructivist direction. Anyone can speak about that?

 

Take everything I say with a grain of salt, I only know what I read.

 

NW is known as a pretty serious qualitative, ethnographic place. It's also known for its critical theory etc. I'm not sure whether they would self-classify themselves as leftist/constructivist, but it is, in many ways, a pretty niche place (sort of like Rochester, but the exact opposite).

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I heard from many that the department at Northwestern has a leftist/constructivist direction. Anyone can speak about that?

 

The department seems to do more constructivist and critical work than most other top US political science departments. That's what draws me to it. ;-)

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The department seems to do more constructivist and critical work than most other top US political science departments. That's what draws me to it. ;-)

Same here. There seems to be lots of room for improvement in those realms. How do you feel about the location, IRTheoryNerd? And rankings? These are my two concerns, to be honest.

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The department seems to do more constructivist and critical work than most other top US political science departments. That's what draws me to it. ;-)

Me too. As for your earlier question, I won't be able to attend the weekend unfortunately, but I will be there 3-4 days later. If you are still in the Chicago area these days, I'd be glad to meet.

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Me too. As for your earlier question, I won't be able to attend the weekend unfortunately, but I will be there 3-4 days later. If you are still in the Chicago area these days, I'd be glad to meet.

 

I'm likely leaving Chicago on Sunday, March 9 (mostly because I'm poor and can't afford to stay beyond when they'll cover me), but I haven't gotten my tickets from the agency yet.  Is there a good chance you'll be attending in the Fall (or will visiting make/break it for you)?

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Same here. There seems to be lots of room for improvement in those realms. How do you feel about the location, IRTheoryNerd? And rankings? These are my two concerns, to be honest.

 

Honestly, in the US, it#s highly unlikely that a department doing critical work will rank very highly. Similarly, job prospects in mainstream PoliSci departments won't be as good as if you were doing more standard US political science. I actually think NW's ranking and placement are really good, considering its strengths, and that its view of the discipline is very different from recent developments (as someone who didn't apply to NW, because it was too critical/constructivist to me).

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Same here. There seems to be lots of room for improvement in those realms. How do you feel about the location, IRTheoryNerd? And rankings? These are my two concerns, to be honest.

 

If we move there, which is looking increasingly likely, we would likely live somewhere south of Evanston--perhaps Rogers Park, Lakeview, Loyola area. Aiming for metro accessibility. I'm glad at the prospect of being in a big city, even if school is in the suburbs. DC has made me a city boy--can't imagine what I would have done in Ithaca RE: a social life if I'd have ended up there. I'm not thrilled to be returning to the tundra, but I lived in Winnipeg once so Chicago will be comparatively benign. Do you have more specific location concerns?

 

In terms of ranking, I'm pretty happy. Other than perhaps Johns Hopkins what other top US poli sci program has such good critical/constructivist credentials? Many profs are leaving Minnesota. USC is turning increasingly positivist. GW is full of big-C Constructivists. Northwestern seems to balance decent rankings with a good niche program. NW also has a decent placement record. Based off of a conversation I had with Ian Hurd at a conference it seems the department is generally pretty involved in student progress, and is pretty open minded in terms of what it considers acceptable philosophical ontological assumptions. Unlike at Harvard, Princeton, Michigan, Rochester, Yale, and many others, you would likely not have to engage in a (perhaps) Quixotic battle with the faculty in order to do something a little outside the box that is actually interesting and useful (in our minds).

 

:-)

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There is a pretty good chance that I will be attending, as I like the program and opportunities it offers a lot. I am, however, still deciding between Northwestern and another school.

 

I wanted to ask if any of you guys are worried about the average time to degree at NW? It is 8 (!) years.

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