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Columbia vs. Yale PhD Political Science


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Hi everyone,

I've been accepted to both Columbia University and Yale University's PhD program in Political Science. My subfield at Columbia would be Comparative Politics with a minor in either American Politics, Law, or Economics, and I'd be concentrating in Political Economy at Yale. I like the faculty from both, was an econ major in undergrad and am very interested in studying voting behavior and electoral politics. It appears both departments have professors I'd be thrilled to do research with in this area. 

I love New York City, but also don't mind New Haven and don't want to make my choice based on location. Money is about the same for each program. 

How would you choose between them? A few questions I have with respect to both programs:

1) Does either program have a political leaning (more liberal faculty, more conservative faculty, etc)? 

2) Which program has the better reputation in-field (not just the US News ranking), and which will be more respected by the everyday public?

3) How rigorous is the empirical research requirement in each program?

4) Which is better if you DON'T want to go into academia (I'd prefer to work for a think tank, research org, or the government/UN)

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Hey @em97! I am considering both of these programs, also for Comparative Politics (regional concentration in Latin America, I'd be getting a minor in Methods). I really recommend emailing/calling potential advisors--I have had the opportunity to speak to faculty and graduate students at both schools and it has been very helpful. They're generally pretty honest/don't sugar coat things.

I would say that both institutions are probably going to be liberal leaning, as are most college campuses across the country. As far as rankings, the US News ones are based off of how professors in the field view each program, so I would say to look to them. They're so close in ranking that it wouldn't really matter, I don't think. Both are well respected Ivies, so I wouldn't worry about public reputation either.

If you aren't sold on academia, I would say Columbia is your best bet. You say location does not matter but being near so many NGOs (and the UN) can only help you. You'd also have SIPA as a resource at Columbia, which would put you in contact with more policy-focused/non-academic types.

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