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Best option for Masters in IR without sacrificing Ph.D prospects


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Hey all, I wish I had found this forum a few months earlier than I did. I'm hoping someone here might be able to offer some advice and perspective on my options.

I've never been in a place where I've found myself vacillating between convictions quite so completely so rapidly. I've long been interested in pursuing a Ph.D and entering academia at some point in the future, but in the short term I'd love to work in a think tank or with the Foreign Service. An undergraduate adviser of mine suggested I pursue a Masters and work on padding my resume a bit before considering applying to top programs. He vetted my choices, but I'm worried that my current choices might be so professionally focused that I would handicap myself in the event I do decide to attempt to complete a Ph.D.

I applied to and was accepted at Masters programs at American SIS (dual degree program between SIS's Comparative and Regional Studies and Korea University, where I'd likely aim for Korean Studies), UCSD's IR/PS, and JSIS at the University of Washington (International Studies - Korean Studies MAIS). My funding options are unfortunately limited; I was wait-listed for two FLAS awards at U Washington and received about 12,000 at UCSD. I am fortunate enough that my family will give me some limited support towards further study, but regardless of what I choose to do I will likely graduate in two years with a not insignificant level of debt.

Would it make most sense to go to JSIS for Korean studies if I am interested in going for a Ph.D, and could anyone comment on how well regarded their Master's program is? Would IR/PS or degrees from SIS and Korea University be useful preparation for further study, or should I consider them a frivolous and extraneous pursuit in that regard?

I appreciate any advice any of you'd be willing to give me.

Edited by blooscorn
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