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I know it's a bit late in the game, but I would love to hear what people know about the UGA program (looking specifically at American/Methodology) other than the USNWR ranking. Any information at all would be appreciated! TIA

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This info is from having applied there and met a few of the faculty/grad students.  They have a solid methods curriculum (you can comp in it, even, which is unusual).  Good for judicial politics and rational choice/game theory.  Lots of prominent American scholars.  They get a bunch of research grants (NSF, etc.) and always have several projects going on.

Along with PA, IA, and policy studies, their Poli Sci dept is in a separate college from the rest of the Arts/Sciences folks.  Not sure but it probably makes for some good interaction between the programs.  Seems like they fund just about all of their PhD students.  If you're just coming out of undergrad, they have a fast-track PhD if your stats are good enough.

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Based on student outcomes I think their USNWR ranking is libelous and total crap.  No way they should be that low.  The chair of our Dept at my current location is a UGA PhD, and my advisor (and our DGS) almost went there.  His reasons for deciding on another program had nothing to do with UGA's quality, it was just a matter of timing and a particular professor he wanted to work with somewhere else.  There is no reason in my mind why UGA should not be in the top 25.

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I have to politely but firmly disagree with some of the remarks about the University of Georgia. The statement that they have "a solid methods curriculum" is dubious since they don't have a clear methods track and suite of courses within the department. A huge red flag is that the department encourages students to go to econ and elsewhere for methods training. The statement that it is unusual to be able to comp in methods is simply false. Virtually all top political science programs offer methods as a major field with a prelim/comp. Further, the "fast track PhD" is just a gimmicky way of showing a standard track through a doctoral program with a timetable that assumes no additional efforts to publish or teach (i.e. a PhD for someone seeking a non-academic career).

I would kill for a job UGA, but I wouldn't go there for a PhD.

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12 hours ago, BigTenPoliSci said:

I have to politely but firmly disagree with some of the remarks about the University of Georgia. The statement that they have "a solid methods curriculum" is dubious since they don't have a clear methods track and suite of courses within the department. A huge red flag is that the department encourages students to go to econ and elsewhere for methods training. The statement that it is unusual to be able to comp in methods is simply false. Virtually all top political science programs offer methods as a major field with a prelim/comp. Further, the "fast track PhD" is just a gimmicky way of showing a standard track through a doctoral program with a timetable that assumes no additional efforts to publish or teach (i.e. a PhD for someone seeking a non-academic career).

I would kill for a job UGA, but I wouldn't go there for a PhD.

They do, in fact, have a clear methods track, I think you might be looking in the wrong place.  As for the course offerings, no, it's not OSU or Michigan, but then again few places are.  Not all of us can get into top 15 programs.  If you're a rock star, great, go be a good one.  But for the rest of us, there are places like UGA that have outstanding faculty that provide a lot of opportunities for research and publishing.  UGA's like in the top 10 nationally in NSF grants awarded (that may be SPIA as a whole, not just the Poli Sci program).

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So, just a perusal of the course offerings for the current academic year in just the Poli Sci Dept. reveals the following:  MLEs, Rational Choice Theory, Spatial Voting Models, and Machine Learning.  Yeah, UGA must be really deficient in methods.  Good grief (*eyeroll*)./sarcasm

Edited by changeisgood
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There is no need to get so defensive. You obviously have some sort of bias here but don't let that cloud your judgement.

The fact of the matter is that it is a pretty middling department. Being able to comp in methods is, like the other poster said, not unusual at all and is par for the course in virtually any top 30 program. 

Their course offerings are extremely limited. For example, this spring they only offer 5 graduate political science classes...that is EXTREMELY low. It appears they offer others in different 'departments' but who knows what students are in these programs? MA students? 

Placement is quite poor, mostly LACs and directionals. 

Pretty small faculty.

And finally, it offers multiple MA and masters programs within the department. This can be quite concerning as it points to the fact that the traditional ph.d. academic program is mixed in with a number of professional programs.

It is what it is, a barely top 50 political science program. No need to pump its tires.

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Listen, it's not defensiveness.  It's simply a reaction against some of the alleged factors that go into these rankings, and I'm calling bullshit on them.  You don't share my opinion, that's fine.

5 courses is a bit low, yes, but consider where I'm coming from.  I'm just about to complete an M.A., so I don't need to repeat a methods sequence or re-take foundations seminars. My subfields (AP and public law) tend to get the shaft at a lot of places anyway.  For instance, I just looked at OSU's Spring 2017 offerings, and yeah, they have a dozen or so on the schedule.  But of those, there are two, perhaps 3, that would apply to my fields and that I have not already had.  Most of them are IR/Comparative, or first-year courses, or "research problems" courses where you just write a conference paper or whatever.  A dozen course offerings does me no good if I would only need 2 of them anyway.  UGA may have only five or six, but there are the same number of those that I either want or need.

I guess what I'm saying is this:  the rankings of programs seem to be generated based on how well the program meets the needs of the young 20-something right out of undergrad with no graduate experience whatsoever, but who wants to end up with a TT job at one of the schools in the top 15 of the rankings!  It seems like it feeds on itself.  That ain't me, and I think it's pointless for faculty search committees to base their expectations for new professors on this type of system.

In any case, I'm confident enough in my ability to produce quality publishable research, and in my background, that I expect to land something reasonably good.  Heck, not all of us are after a Nobel prize.  Some of us just want to write books and teach.

Edited by changeisgood
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17 hours ago, changeisgood said:

[T]he rankings of programs seem to be generated based on how well the program meets the needs of the young 20-something right out of undergrad with no graduate experience whatsoever, but who wants to end up with a TT job at one of the schools in the top 15 of the rankings!  ... In any case, I'm confident enough in my ability to produce quality publishable research, and in my background, that I expect to land something reasonably good.  Heck, not all of us are after a Nobel prize.  Some of us just want to write books and teach.

The notion that we "only" want to write books and teach is a bit unrealistic. Going to a top 20 or 30 isn't a path to getting a TT job at a top 15 school; it offers just a chance at getting a TT anywhere at all. The "consolation prize" for those of us in the 15-25 range isn't a TT at a directional or liberal arts school. Directionals and liberal arts TT jobs are the prizes that go to the very best and lucky candidates in departments like ours - oftentimes after doing one or more VAP / post-doc appointments.

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I have no horse in this race. I think everyone has different goals/reasons to attend graduate school. The market is terrible though and placement info on almost every department website is misleading. I'm sure every DGS is going to highlight the few people they placed in an R1, but what about the others? 

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