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Columbia MPA vs. UCL MSc


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Hi All, 

Decisions are hard, any insight would be greatly appreciated!  A bit of background: I'm from the Midwest, got my undergrad degree in Environmental Science and Policy, and I am hoping to specialize in sustainable energy. Ultimately, I am hoping to work on multilateral sustainable energy issues. Still waiting to hear back from Oxford and LSE, but my currently these are my top choices:

1) Columbia University - MPA in Environmental Science and Policy -1 year.  Obviously, Columbia is a great school with high name recognition and I assume a really great alumni network. The location is also a huge bonus in terms of career opportunities/connections during and after the program. I received fellowship funding, but even with that total costs would still be YIKES. 

2) University College London - MSc in Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment - 1 year. This program is way more specific to the exact area I hope to work in.  I've wanted to study and/or work in London since I was 14, so I'm way more excited about location than Columbia (sorry NYC).  London would also have great career/networking opportunities. However, while I'd like to work in the UK after getting my degree, it's possible that family obligations may bring me back stateside. After doing a rough calculation of tuition + living + flights/London transport, UCL will still be several thousand cheaper than Columbia.


So, the crux of the matter: I would rather be in London and the program there is a bit more suited to my interests (but am I backing myself into a corner with that?), but I'm worried about job prospects after graduation, and I don't want to shoot myself in the foot. Also, having a hard time comparing an MPA vs. and MSc - i.e. would it really make a huge difference? It seems Columbia has more name recognition than UCL, (which is a stupid thing to consider, but there it is). However, UCL ranks higher if not equally with Columbia on world rankings. 


Thank you for reading this short story and for any insight you have!


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