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GU MSPP or UC Harris?


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I am torn between Georgetown MSPP and Harris.  I am looking for a program where I can come away with tangible quant skills but do not have a strong math or stat background.  Harris curriculum looks pretty manageable.  I don't want to be in over my head but I want a rigorous curriculum. My focus is in social policy.   I have also lived in DC and am itching to explore a new city but not sure if I would stay in a hyde park bubble as a grad student anyways. 

 

Any thoughts about the programs' quality? Manageability for someone without strong math background?  Student life?

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I am torn between Georgetown MSPP and Harris.  I am looking for a program where I can come away with tangible quant skills but do not have a strong math or stat background.  Harris curriculum looks pretty manageable.  I don't want to be in over my head but I want a rigorous curriculum. My focus is in social policy.   I have also lived in DC and am itching to explore a new city but not sure if I would stay in a hyde park bubble as a grad student anyways. 

 

Any thoughts about the programs' quality? Manageability for someone without strong math background?  Student life?

 

Great that you have started this thread as I'm going through the same decision and have the same question about quantitative requirements. Did any of the schools offered you any funding? 

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Can someone speak to this perceived notion of a school being quantitatively rigorous? I know that Harris and GPPI have this reputation, but where does it come from? In terms of class requirements, there don't seem to be THAT many more quant requirements as say NYU Wagner. I'm also considering Harris, as well as CMU, and if Harris's core requirements are considered quantitatively rigorous, then I am truly terrified of the coursework that will be involved in CMU's policy analytics track...

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Harris grad here.  'Quantitatively rigorous' seems to be sort of a catch-all phrase that encompasses a lot of things - depending upon the audience - including mathematical content, statistical/econometric content, and the use of economic theory and models in policy analysis.  While Harris offers a lot of optional courses with heavy mathematical & statistical content, the core requirements are pretty basic and very manageable. 

 

To me, the distinguishing feature of Harris is the emphasis on economic reasoning and economic models in almost all the courses.  If you are comfortable with basic economic theory, you should do just fine.  It really is just a matter of putting in the work.  I would imagine this would apply to most other MPP programs as well - the only exception that comes to mind is the Harvard MPA-ID program.  

 

In short, the concerns regarding 'quant' requirements of MPP programs are almost always overblown- at both Harris and elsewhere.

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Great that you have started this thread as I'm going through the same decision and have the same question about quantitative requirements. Did any of the schools offered you any funding? 

 

I got no funding from harris and some from georgetown- factoring in cost of living it makes both schools pretty equivalent finance wise.  They are both such great schools-I didn't think I would have such a hard time just choosing one.

 

 

^Thanks for the info-super helpful! 

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I got no funding from harris and some from georgetown- factoring in cost of living it makes both schools pretty equivalent finance wise.  They are both such great schools-I didn't think I would have such a hard time just choosing one.

 

 

^Thanks for the info-super helpful! 

Exact same situation here...Really hard choice. I've been struggling for almost a month and still no answer yet.....

I asked some  students from both schools. For MSPP students, the quantitative feature means you need to take three economics courses and three math courses.  For Harris students, you can choose phd courses instead of entry level ones if you've had these at undergrad. 

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I got no funding from harris and some from georgetown- factoring in cost of living it makes both schools pretty equivalent finance wise.  They are both such great schools-I didn't think I would have such a hard time just choosing one.

 

 

^Thanks for the info-super helpful! 

btw, have you decided?

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Current Harris student here.  Hyde Park is a bit of a bubble but you don't have to live here and there's a lot of people (mostly who were already in Chicago but also some new arrivals) who live in the more fun parts of the city.  Quite a few will probably also leave HP for second year.  I live in HP and will stay here because the rent is just so much more manageable and I'd rather live in a fun area later when I have income to enjoy it properly.  As for the quant focus, I came in with zero quant/econ/stats background and I've found it a really good experience and appropriately challenging.  Like s33 said, it's more of a focus on developing a way of thinking.  

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Current Harris student here.  Hyde Park is a bit of a bubble but you don't have to live here and there's a lot of people (mostly who were already in Chicago but also some new arrivals) who live in the more fun parts of the city.  Quite a few will probably also leave HP for second year.  I live in HP and will stay here because the rent is just so much more manageable and I'd rather live in a fun area later when I have income to enjoy it properly.  As for the quant focus, I came in with zero quant/econ/stats background and I've found it a really good experience and appropriately challenging.  Like s33 said, it's more of a focus on developing a way of thinking.  

Harrista,

 

Planning on staying in Chicago upon graduating? What sort of local job prospects do you have your eye on?

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I'd like to stay on afterwards, but it really depends - I think there's quite a lot of opportunity here with think tanks, consultancies and advocacy groups, but this is looking at things from an internship perspective rather than full-time work.  The second years that I know have been interviewing at interesting places so I'm hopeful that this time next year if I still want to stay in Chicago I'll be able to find something!

 

 

 

Harrista,

 

Planning on staying in Chicago upon graduating? What sort of local job prospects do you have your eye on?

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