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Politicalgeek

Political Science or Sociology?

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Hi all,

First, I realize there is another post with the same title, but as my interests are very different, I figured I'd start a new topic.

So here's my dilemma - I started looking into poli sci programs with good political behavior programs, but it's become more and more clear that my interests overlap quite a bit with political sociology, and that sociology might be a better academic home for me.

My interests are in social and political change and civic engagement, and how demographic, cultural and political factors combine to impact political involvement and decision-making. For instance, are the social and demographic factors that determine who runs for office different for men than women? And if so, what does that mean for policy and governance?

The other thing is that I am a big fan of quantitative analysis, and it seems like many of the research areas that I'm interested benefit from solid quant methods. I have heard that poli sci is better at this that sociology: true, or vicious poli sci lie?

And then for the mudane, careerist concerns:

- My background is more in political science than sociology, though I have an MPP and took several social policy courses - how would this affect my chance at getting into good programs?

- How is the job market for political sociologists? Obviously the academic job market is bad everywhere, but how bad? Also, I've heard there are a lot of non-academic job opportunities for sociologists - anyone have experience with this?

I realize this is a pretty basic question. Thank in advance for your patience!

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Soci could work for you. MPP's are appreciated, and there are policy jobs out there for sociologists, to be sure. Especially sociologists with quantitative skills! Poli sci probably isn't "better" than soc at quantitative methods. When quantitative analyses are performed, they're both using the exact same method. However, it may be likely that MORE poliscientists are quantitatively apt, as I know most sociology students are more interested in qualitative methods. This means it might be a little easier to find faculty with experience/support for quantitative methods in poli sci, but soc admission committees will appreciate quant skills more. (I'm a quant person, too, so believe me on this one!)

It's up to you, obviously, but the research questions you mention would be very appropriately addressed by sociology, IMHO.

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Thanks for the feedback! I'm definitely looking at political psychology programs as well. It seems like my best bet would be to find a school with both a strong political psychology program and a strong sociology program to cover all my bases.

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