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Profile evaluation & Picking Universities (political theory major)


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Hi all, I am applying to 2016 fall programs and having a hard time picking schools that are within the realm of possibility for me. So I hope I can get some feedback on my profile and my school choices.

Undergraduate: National Taiwan University

Major: International Relations

GPA: 3.92/4.3 = 87% (not sure how to convert it to 4.0 scale)

Graduate: MSc Political Theory, LSE 

Graduate grade: (I haven't got the final mark but should be overall merit )

Research experiences: master studies and dissertation; research assistant at NTU (Quantitative)

Other experience: Co-founder and senior editor of a peer-review journal at LSE

GRE: just took it and will retake, V:155; Q:162 AWA: I haven't got it

LoR: One young PT associate prof at LSE; one PT prof at LSE (my supervisor); one philosophy prof at NTU; one young PT associate prof at NTU

Area of interest: (Building on my master thesis)

Political Theory & IR & Comparative politics: Liberalism and its critics; multiculturalism; global justice; human rights; international political theory; East Asia/China Politics


I have been told by one of my referee that I am aiming too high based on my graduate marks so I have been freaking out over picking programs. My biggest concern is fitness, I want to do comparative political theory on East vs West. I would like to focus on mostly political theory (on global justice), a bit IR since i will deal with IPT, IR law and global issues and comparative politics on East Asia/ China. I have consulted with some profs about my proposal and the problem is that this is a relatively unusual/ not mainstream topic so I have to be careful about the fitness problem. Of course I will alter bits according to the faculty but this is roughly my plan.

I have picked the following programs, mostly based on what my prof (who knows the field) recommended but she has no idea about my performance:

Princeton; Yale; Harvard; John-Hopkins; Columbia; Chicago; Stanford; UC Berkeley; UCLA; NYU; Duke; Cornell; Georgetown; Brown; UT Austin; Penn

I know this list may be way beyond my reach but mediocre universities have very limited number of profs in PT and they rarely match my interests. Also, I can't afford a phd without funding. 

I have a hard time figuring out which schools i should cross out (they are all good and have at least two profs that sorta match my interests) and which i should include so I thought if i can any advice here. 

Please tell me how realistic it is for me to get into those programs and if anyone knows other programs that are less competitive but still strong in PT or open to my proposal.


Good luck with your applications!


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I believe that V155 is too low for most of these schools (maybe besides Duke, Brown and Penn). If you can get at least by 6-7 points more at the retake, this will improve your chances a lot. I would also suggest looking for Notre Dame, Indiana and Northwestern- overall, they are good for PT

Good luck!

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Virginia is also quite strong in PT, so give us a look. I second that you should consider Northwestern as well.

Anyway, I think you will be firmly in the running at Brown, UT Austin, and Johns-Hopkins. And, if the fit is quite strong at some of the others you've listed, then sure.

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Thanks for the replies. I didn't prepare for GRE because there's was too little time so hopefully I will get a higher score. But I am retaking it on Nov 20, so I fear that i can't apply with my new score for programs that have deadlines on Dec 1.  Considering the fitness, i think i would cross out stanford, penn, and nyu and add notre dame, new school and probably UVA. Northwestern is indeed quite good but it does not quite fit my interests. Also, i should make it clear that i am not particularly interested in CPT but if someones does it i could perhaps alter some details and make it fit. I am more interested in WPT though, especially global normative theory and discuss the dominance of WPT. As to East Asia, I am concerned about WPT's applicability in East Asia as such. My professor suggested me to do PT but also looking into East Asia studies so I am looking universities that are good in both PT & East Asia studies. As far as I know, most of the schools I listed are quite good in both, if otherwise, I will be happy to cross it out. 

Thanks again! 

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7 hours ago, Bubandis said:


As I recall, UT Austin's deadline is Dec 1. I still think that you should apply there (I got in with a combined GRE score lower than yours).

You are right about the deadline and i will apply. Thanks for sharing the information i felt a bit relieved!

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