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Problem: I've been accepted into some incredible programs and now I'm having a truly difficult time deciding between them. I honestly didn't expect to get into more than one or two programs (my undergrad GPA wasn't amazing), so while I'm pleasantly surprised, I'm overwhelmed!

I have been accepted at:

Georgetown University - MA in Conflict Resolution, No funding

University of Denver - MA in International Studies, No funding

The Graduate Institute in Geneva - MA in Political Science/International Relations, No funding

Here are my thoughts:

I'm primarily concerned with international conflict and have particular interest in studying genocide and the implications of genocide when looking at a conflict (hope this isn't too vague).

Alright so here is what I'm considering so far, U. Denver and Georgetown are basically the same price, and IHEID might be cheaper unless cost of living proves to be formidable.  However, my fiancé is going to work while I'm in school (he is a teacher), so finding a job in the United States might be easier for him. (Also if anyone has any advice on getting him a work visa for Switzerland, I would appreciate more information:D) 

I'd like to do my PHD later on, but between that and my master's I would like to either work in field, possibly State department, UN, or another reputable large NGO (I'm a very optimistic person). Which programs would help me with this? I know technically all of them seem to have great placement records for jobs , but are there differences in the types of jobs I could get? Would going to a European school exclude me from jobs in the State department? Could going abroad for masters also impact potential future PHD programs? I'm not really sure if an MA from Europe or the States would be weighed the same. 

And how concerned should I be about prestige? All of these schools are highly influential in this field, but do you think one is "better" than the others?

 

 

Edited by Lolothefirecat

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Hello,

I was also accepted to The Graduate Institute (YES!!!) and University of Denver. I applied to Georgetown but was rejected, but I did get into George Washington, a similar school in D.C. I'm going for International Development, and I did undergrad research in India on rural to urban migration of youth. So I think we're making a similar decision, except that I pretty much have no obligations and a different academic focus.

Not really sure about your living cost concerns (they're different for everyone it seems) and the work visa, but I can speak to your later questions. Just from reading the literature from Georgetown and GWU, the core of their coursework seems more policy-focused than your other choices. Then the other big thing to consider is the capstone/thesis projects you'll complete. While I think you would find success at any of those institutions in your research, I would think the Graduate Institute would have more resources for you for that particular subject, being so close to the U.N. and other far-reaching international institutions.

Then in regards to your last questions, I read in another forum that so long as you're getting a two-year masters degree at a well-known school, the prestige it conveys for most would be the same. What you have to be careful of is the 1 year degree programs popular in the rest of Europe, because even if you do another year of "extended research" to complete a Research Masters, it's not conveying exactly the same prestige. The Graduate Institute in this regard is pretty unique because it offers that two-year program.

In terms of prestige - I think that's really going to depend on who you ask. Anyone from the U.S. will tell you Georgetown is your most prestigious choice. But could you say it is "better"? I don't think so, but they would certainly be very different experiences. I think both the Graduate Institute and Georgetown are far more prestigious than Univ. of Denver however.

Anyways, I'm also struggling to decide between my D.C. choice (GWU) and the Graduate Institute. I'm already leaning heavily towards the Graduate Institute, because I really value the international experience and that's where I'd like to reach out and network.

I hope that helps you as you come to a decision! I'd be interested in knowing your thoughts as you reach a conclusion, because it will certainly help me. Thanks and take care~

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Any updates? Surprised no one else has stopped by this thread. I'm leaning towards the Graduate Institute currently.

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8 hours ago, Saheim said:

Any updates? Surprised no one else has stopped by this thread. I'm leaning towards the Graduate Institute currently.

Still working on a decision. Thinking about  flying to Geneva for the open house though haha and my partner emailed the embassy to see about getting a visa.

So far I've contacted all three schools to see if I can get more funding, but I won't really find out about that until after the deadline. 

I think I might be leaning towards Georgetown vs Geneva unless I hear something soon about funding from Denver. 

I just have so many unknowns and these are all programs that I think I would be really happy with. :/ 

Have you visited Geneva? 

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3 hours ago, Lolothefirecat said:

Still working on a decision. Thinking about  flying to Geneva for the open house though haha and my partner emailed the embassy to see about getting a visa.

So far I've contacted all three schools to see if I can get more funding, but I won't really find out about that until after the deadline. 

I think I might be leaning towards Georgetown vs Geneva unless I hear something soon about funding from Denver. 

I just have so many unknowns and these are all programs that I think I would be really happy with. :/ 

Have you visited Geneva? 

Hi there! I can't answer your question about which program would be the best for you, however if you have some specific questions about Geneva, I might help you, since I've lived (and studied) in Geneva for three years :)

Btw, I'm also accepted for the International Relations/Political Science program at the IHEID, so we'll be classmates if you decide to accept their offer :D

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@Lolothefirecat I haven't been myself, no. I was really hoping to make a decision after attending the webinars last week, but they were canceled. There really aren't a lot of resources to help make an informed decision, other than digging around the 2013/2014 IHEID posts.

@NicolasM I've done a fair amount of reading about Geneva as a place. I know for a fact I'd like Geneva more than D.C., but there's still something I like about the gritty character of East Coast cities in the U.S., if you know what I mean. I guess if I had one question to ask you, it'd be this: how much of a "bubble" is the area around IHEID? I think a city its size certainly has all sorts of people living in it, but from the reading I've done, people say that the city can be characterized by areas with distinct characteristics and in some cases those areas can be pretty elitist.

Also, would be curious to know if you chose IHEID over other choices, and if so, why?

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@Saheim I think I'm going to try emailing some alumni from IHEID and see what they thought were the strongest and weakest points of the programs. I'll let you know if I find out anything that helps me:)

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2 minutes ago, Lolothefirecat said:

@Saheim I think I'm going to try emailing some alumni from IHEID and see what they thought were the strongest and weakest points of the programs. I'll let you know if I find out anything that helps me:)

Thanks that'd be great! As of this moment I'm pretty set on going already, but I'd still be interested to hear about the program itself.

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Any updates? Attending a Webinar at George Washington and the Graduate Institute is one of the exchange programs they offer to students who want to study abroad. So far, I'm still leaning towards IHEID - will most likely submit my decision today.

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On 4/5/2016 at 8:40 AM, Saheim said:

Any updates? Attending a Webinar at George Washington and the Graduate Institute is one of the exchange programs they offer to students who want to study abroad. So far, I'm still leaning towards IHEID - will most likely submit my decision today.

I've gotten a few responses from some people who did IR at IHEID, they said really good things about the program, and that they thought it was a great program for PHD preparation. Also, found out more about the complicated process for my parter to get a visa/job. Not a lot of feedback from Georgetown though. Did you catch the panel discussion for IHEID today? 

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1 minute ago, Lolothefirecat said:

Did you catch the panel discussion for IHEID today?

Unfortunately I did not know they were streaming the panel discussion, I assumed it was only for visiting students. I asked to see if they would upload a video later of the discussion - still waiting on an answer.

It's very hard to find testimonials about the Institute, but I did manage to find some on these forums from 2009. Back then apparently, the MDev was still a young program, and so the only complaint was that this being the case, the amount of core courses offered in English was fairly low compared to other programs. That's certainly not the case anymore, and everything else they said about the program was extremely positive. The big take away of course was that the location was incomparable if you were going into the humanitarian sector (which I am). He also had no regrets choosing Geneva over SAIS, LSE, IR/PS, which are all also very reputable schools.

Here's the post to which I am referring to:

 

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1 minute ago, Saheim said:

I asked to see if they would upload a video later of the discussion - still waiting on an answer.

As I was writing this apparently, the confirmed that the video will be uploaded later on their Youtube channel :)

https://www.youtube.com/user/graduateinstitute

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