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Harvard HEB vs. ASU evo anthro


kevintoy

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Hi all,

I'm in a biology phD program but my research interest shifted towards human behavior and thus now I'm applying to specific anthro programs. I am particularly interested cultural evolution/dual inheritance theory and quantitative methods. Currently I have two offers: one from Harvard HEB and the other from ASU; the POIs at both places are extremely famous in the field. I am hesitating because ASU has a much larger program with extensive academic support and they are willing to recognize course credits at my previous institution. The POI at Harvard invited me for another visit and arranged meetings for me with people in psychology and economics. Given that I don't know much about the anthropology, would someone give me some suggestions in terms of job prospects after graduation? 

 

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I'm not in Bio Anth / HEB, so take this with a grain of salt. It is my sense that institutional prestige matters if you want an academic job, quite a lot. Presuming you would be adequately supported by faculty at Harvard, which it sounds like you would be, I can't imagine a scenario where getting a PhD from ASU ((under a highly esteemed advisor)) would benefit you more than having a terminal degree from Harvard ((also under highly esteemed advisor)). Harvard anthropology is one of the top departments in the country, and from what I have seen, their PhD students have excellent job prospects after graduation. Also, larger programs are not always better. Harvard may have a smaller program, but it is the most well-resourced university in the country, by far -- the means tonnnssss of grant opportunities, chances to work with top visiting scholars from around the world, high grad stipends in comparison to public institutions, etc. 

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5 hours ago, farflung said:

I'm not in Bio Anth / HEB, so take this with a grain of salt. It is my sense that institutional prestige matters if you want an academic job, quite a lot. Presuming you would be adequately supported by faculty at Harvard, which it sounds like you would be, I can't imagine a scenario where getting a PhD from ASU ((under a highly esteemed advisor)) would benefit you more than having a terminal degree from Harvard ((also under highly esteemed advisor)). Harvard anthropology is one of the top departments in the country, and from what I have seen, their PhD students have excellent job prospects after graduation. Also, larger programs are not always better. Harvard may have a smaller program, but it is the most well-resourced university in the country, by far -- the means tonnnssss of grant opportunities, chances to work with top visiting scholars from around the world, high grad stipends in comparison to public institutions, etc. 

thanks for the reply. The POI at ASU was the advisor of the Harvard POI and they both know each other very well. Im going to Boston again tomorrow to check out the possibility for interdisciplinary collaboration opportunities and will make a decision very soon. 

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ASU seems to have a pretty rad evo program (I looked at it but ultimately decided against applying, for other reasons), but if the POIs are both on equal footing, I would go for Harvard. The name on your degree is going to matter a lot, and if your prospects are just as good at either, take the more prestigious. 

Of course, I imagine this will be contingent on other things like time to degree, funding/stipend, teaching opportunities, so there are a few more things to weigh up!

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