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Applying to top phd programs as a philosopher?


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Hey guys,

I am a philosopher and have an extensive background in philosophy(even taking advance logic..etc.) I also feel that my GRE's are going to come up quite strong. However, I have never taken a official political science class. I have only taken political theory leaning classes(a socrates class and a anarchism class).

 I realize that my interests lie in political philosophy and also I'll be interested in learning about policies and laws to change a country. My ultimate goal is to along with a friend create our own political party in our third world country. I'm really interested in writing about, "civic duty" and the responsibility of people to change their society. 

Do you think a phd in political science would be the right move or would another interdisciplinary area help me more in my goals?

Edited by ItALO
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To be completely honest, a Ph.D. in political science is not a good course to take if your real goal is political activism, or if you hope to be a practitioner of politics. The Ph.D. system is intended to produce political scientists who conduct research and teach within an academic context. 

Have you considered pursuing a masters in public policy or public administration? 

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I'd be more skeptic even about a MPP or MPA. For political activism, especially in a non-developed country, the best to do is to get a law degree and do lots of community work. It will pay off way better than building a fancy theory on how the State functions, for example.

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  • 3 weeks later...

1 - What is your basis for calling yourself a philosopher? If admissions committees see you calling yourself a philosopher, they're going to want you to be able to back that up. Unless reputable sources are publishing your philosophical works, you're better off billing yourself as "a philosophy student."

2 - Having applied three times and finally getting admitted this year, it's been my experience that poli sci PhD programs aren't too hot on overtly activist career goals. (Or maybe they just weren't too hot on mine...heh!) Civic duty of people to change society? Meh. What factors or strategies make civic engagement politically effective? Now you're talking. What are some under-researched/under-reported/under-represented causes? Also interesting. Given your goal of starting a new political party, you might also want to look into comparative politics with an emphasis on party systems.

3 - As others have said before, an MPA speaks more directly to your needs and aspirations.

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