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Schools and their research areas

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Hey All,

I'm in the early stages of deciding what schools to apply to for my PhD. In talking with my advisors, I was encouraged to look for schools that specialize in areas of research that I want to study. I'm looking for a dataset (excel, or a decent website, or something of the sort), that has the areas of research for many poli-sci programs. Anyone know of any good resources -- does the NRC raw data have this(if so, anyone know where I can get my hands on the NRC data?). I found a table similar to the one I am describing(except for economics) at econphd.net

I'm currently in a MPA program, and I decided early last fall to go for my PhD. I'm looking to specialize in the study of standards and standardization. Accordingly, I'm looking for econ, poli-sci, or public administration (I figure there's a lot of overlap for this type of study) programs that specialize in game theory, new institutional economic theory(which is much different from game theory I know), international development, or political economics.

Any help would be great

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This was something that I searched long and hard for during and after my application process, yet found no such resource. The best ways of discerning what a school is good and bad at is to 1) talk to other people in the field (preferably who know what they are talking about) about the school in question and 2) scour the school's website, try to identify professors who are doing work that may match your interests and make contact with them, let them know of your interest in the program and ask if your research interests would be congruous with theirs.

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Hard truth is that if you want a job in academe in poli sci, you'll need a degree from a top 10 program. Anywhere outside that (rough) tier, and you should look at consulting in the private sector or some other vocation.

Higher is preferred to lower, yes, but I hesitate to say that you'll "need" a top 10 department's credentials. While the exceptions should not disprove the rule, there are a lot of people from top 25 (or lower) departments with outstanding jobs -- see the Rutgers contingent at Michigan, for example.

To answer the original poster's question, you'll probably want to start by looking at places like WashU (Hansel, so hot right now! HANSEL), Rochester, CalTech, and especially Stanford GSB given what you're looking at. The advantage of these places is that you get a lot of advanced/unique training from "in-house" faculty instead of having to head over to economics, business, biostatistics, etc. That said, at most political science departments, you'll have the ability to get high-end political science training and still have the flexibility to look around to other departments if you need to. So, finding a flexible curriculum might be the most important thing for you.

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Thanks to everyone for the replies. I'm not too phased by the "top 10" comment -- I've already heard it from a good deal of people who are intent on telling me about how a PhD is a waste of time.

This may need to be a new thread, but I was looking at the program at stony brook university. They look like they could offer a curriculum I would like, but I'm having trouble discerning if the program is well ranked(respected).

When people say their program is top 10, top 25, etc. are they generally talking about NRC rankings, or what?

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"Top 10"=any program that appears in the top 15 slots of at least one ranking (NRC, USNWR, Hix, Schmidt/Chingos, etc.)

"Top 25"=any program that appears in the top 40 of at least one ranking

As to your question, it sounds like your desired field is both narrow enough and cross-disciplinary enough that our advice won't help you much--instead:

1. find journal articles/books similar to what you'd like to do

2. if the author is an post-doc/assistant professor, add the program where they got their PhD to your list

3. if the author is an associate/full professor, add the program they teach at to your list

4. look at works cited in or citing (1)

5. repeat (2) and (3)

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The programs coach mentioned are the top 4 that jump to my mind as well. Columbia, NYU and Ohio State might also be nice options if you're stressing the game theory. I'd hope that your advisers are providing you with some schools that you might want to apply to as well. Since you have them handy, you're going to want to talk to anyone at your home institution that may have experience in your field to get more ideas.

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