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Pre-Graduate School App Preparations.. ????

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Hello All,

A little background before my question(s). I am a junior political science major (GRad date: may 2010) but this semester I am taking 4 philosophy classes (3 mid/upper level) so I can apply to both polisci and philosophy programs. I am looking at doctorate programs now(for polisci: Mich state, Stanford, Yale; for philosophy: princeton, princeton, michigan ann harbor, CU boulder) ** [i realize these are extremely selective schools, so please save me the lecture on picking backup schools in this particular post :)]. I am doin a thesis this semester and perhaps another independent research scholarship if I get accepted. I will be applying this winter for these grad school programs.

I am very intent (wrongly or justifiedly - you tell me) on finding a schoolwith (1) a department that suits my desires to a good extent (for polisci, I am interested in political culture, democratization/democratic theory, and the MiddleEast; for philosophy I'm looking for variety and easy access to other departments... such as political science and literature, and perhaps some existence of an existentialist tendency within the department) **[no pun intended...], and (2) professors that I have similar but not identical interests.

Two questions:

1. Does it make much sense to focus on these two aspects of grad programs??

2. If yes, then should I somehow contact the departments (aside from the application process), i.e. contact a professor with interests closer to mine and ask them personally about the programs, or a department chair?

Any advice is appreciated.


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