Jump to content
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt

International Affairs rankings


went_away
 Share

Recommended Posts

Sadly, we don't get enough data or rankings on the success or otherwise of graduate schools of international affairs. So below I present my unscientific and personal rankings, based on the amount and quality of career options afforded to students, the academic experience, resources devoted to education (including scholarships), and general calibre of the program. Also based on the notorious William and Mary rankings,  US News and World Report rankings of the overall university (it has a halo effect on every school), my visits to schools, endowment size per student, LinkedIn research, personal interactions with grads at work functions, and happy hour mixers in DC/NYC. I really wish international and public affairs schools had the same scrutiny placed on them as law schools and business schools do (Poets and Quants does a GREAT job of analyzing biz school performance). Accountability is long overdue in so much of higher education, especially professional schools.

1. Princeton Wilson (scholarship money for everybody!! super shady insider deals with elite government agencies to place students!! fast track to PMF positions! Big 3 consulting gigs normally only open to MBAs!!!!)

2. Yale Jackson (scholarship money for nearly everybody!! super rich parent university! elite connections galore!)

3. Georgetown (only the MSFS degree) (scholarship money for nearly nobody! best reputation of the bunch in this specialty. strong network throughout the US government, fading fast)

4. Fletcher - SIPA - SAIS (tie) (YMMV, great schools, these 3 generally set the standard for what an MA in International Affairs should be, WAY too expensive, generally overrated for what they can actually do for your career)

7. GW Elliot (HUGE variance in student quality and outcomes, evening program, doesn't have the community or elite cachet of any of the above, still a good program with many resources)

8. American SIS (those who hustle here can do just as well as grads of the elite programs)

9. Denver Korbel (ditto American, but tough to hustle in Denver)

10. Pittsburgh GSPIA (very impressed with what I've seen of this school)

Unranked: Kennedy School (not enough of their grads or program seems focused on international affairs vs domestic policy. If I did rank, I'd probably put it in third place between Yale and Georgetown). 

Thoughts? 

Edited by went_away
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't comment on IA programs, but for SIPA you should separate the two components of the school.  I graduated SIPA with an MPA, and the curriculum was very different from that of IA--like you did for HKS.  

Edited by ltr317
Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, ltr317 said:

I can't comment on IA programs, but for SIPA you should separate the two components of the school.  I graduated SIPA with an MPA, and the curriculum was very different from that of IA--like you did for HKS.  

Good point, my breakout assumes the full-time degree associated with International Affairs for each school - I only specified it for Georgetown, because the MSFS is so different from any other degree in their School of Foreign Service (they care about it much more and invest much more in the students). So for Fletcher that would be the MALD and for SIPA it would be the International Affairs degree (though I always thought the MPA/MIA distinction at SIPA was largely superficial, sounds like I was mistaken). 

Edited by went_away
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your knowledge of these composite schools are far more extensive than mine.  I only know about New York City MPA, MPP or MS in PP programs; mainly because that was my focus back when I was looking for a professional program to land a job in either city government, non-profit, or higher ed admin.  I only applied to SIPA, NYU Wagner and the New School for that reason. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Ben414 said:

I would add Harvard's MPA/ID program and rank it somewhere in the top 3. It's by far the most quantitatively rigorous of the programs listed, considered similar to the beginning econometrics sequence in a econ PhD. It has a small cohort but places them really well.

Ahh, good point. Maybe rank their MPA/ID program a couple ticks below Yale Jackson because of the Kennedy School's dearth of scholarship money.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Ben414 said:

I would add Harvard's MPA/ID program and rank it somewhere in the top 3. It's by far the most quantitatively rigorous of the programs listed, considered similar to the beginning econometrics sequence in a econ PhD. It has a small cohort but places them really well.

Eh, in part the reason that it places so well is that its cohort comes in really well-prepared (e.g. they will not take anyone with a sub 160 QGRE or without 2+ years of relevant work experience). Especially its international students usually come in with already a master's degree from their home country and often with work experience in the places that hire them afterwards (IDB/ADB/WB/IMF). The remarkable thing is that some of those people then go on to get positions that generally require a PhD, so the brand really does work.

The real question is how do you pay for it.

Edited by ExponentialDecay
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Curious as to what you mean by Georgetown "fading fast."  Did you mean that the rank order of networks drops off rapidly such that the next best is a distant second, or that Georgetown's cachet is rapidly declining?

On another note, I was partial to Pitt's program, if for no other reason than being sick of DC even before I committed myself to two more years of it.  But I just didn't feel I could justify attending it over a higher ranked DC program, considering that it would have cost nearly as much and is far removed from DC's career opportunities.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, tairos said:

Curious as to what you mean by Georgetown "fading fast."  Did you mean that the rank order of networks drops off rapidly such that the next best is a distant second, or that Georgetown's cachet is rapidly declining?

On another note, I was partial to Pitt's program, if for no other reason than being sick of DC even before I committed myself to two more years of it.  But I just didn't feel I could justify attending it over a higher ranked DC program, considering that it would have cost nearly as much and is far removed from DC's career opportunities.  

Meant cachet of the MSFS is rapidly fading due to the awful government job market (which has been their bread and butter), G'town's disgraceful lack of funding opportunities, and the emergence of strong alternatives like the Yale Jackson School.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, DevinMiles said:

I am sure there are many others who also feel went_away started this thread as yet another way to promote Fletcher by oddly claiming it is up there with SAIS and SIPA. Yes, it's a good school... but c'mon....

What is your problem? Please stop following me around on these boards. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Every year, I looked forward to Foreign Policy's "Inside the Ivory Tower" rankings of IR programs. They stopped posting it a couple years ago, and I heard a rumor that this was done due to the mounting pressure some of schools were putting on FP because they claimed it was hurting their brand. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/11/2017 at 6:37 PM, Nico Corr said:

Every year, I looked forward to Foreign Policy's "Inside the Ivory Tower" rankings of IR programs. They stopped posting it a couple years ago, and I heard a rumor that this was done due to the mounting pressure some of schools were putting on FP because they claimed it was hurting their brand. 

It's a very flawed and very lazy ranking but a real shame if they've discontinued it as it was about the only source for accountability regarding school quality and outcomes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/6/2017 at 5:16 PM, went_away said:

Sadly, we don't get enough data or rankings on the success or otherwise of graduate schools of international affairs. So below I present my unscientific and personal rankings, based on the amount and quality of career options afforded to students, the academic experience, resources devoted to education (including scholarships), and general calibre of the program. Also based on the notorious William and Mary rankings,  US News and World Report rankings of the overall university (it has a halo effect on every school), my visits to schools, endowment size per student, LinkedIn research, personal interactions with grads at work functions, and happy hour mixers in DC/NYC. I really wish international and public affairs schools had the same scrutiny placed on them as law schools and business schools do (Poets and Quants does a GREAT job of analyzing biz school performance). Accountability is long overdue in so much of higher education, especially professional schools.

1. Princeton Wilson (scholarship money for everybody!! super shady insider deals with elite government agencies to place students!! fast track to PMF positions! Big 3 consulting gigs normally only open to MBAs!!!!)

2. Yale Jackson (scholarship money for nearly everybody!! super rich parent university! elite connections galore!)

3. Georgetown (only the MSFS degree) (scholarship money for nearly nobody! best reputation of the bunch in this specialty. strong network throughout the US government, fading fast)

4. Fletcher - SIPA - SAIS (tie) (YMMV, great schools, these 3 generally set the standard for what an MA in International Affairs should be, WAY too expensive, generally overrated for what they can actually do for your career)

7. GW Elliot (HUGE variance in student quality and outcomes, evening program, doesn't have the community or elite cachet of any of the above, still a good program with many resources)

8. American SIS (those who hustle here can do just as well as grads of the elite programs)

9. Denver Korbel (ditto American, but tough to hustle in Denver)

10. Pittsburgh GSPIA (very impressed with what I've seen of this school)

Unranked: Kennedy School (not enough of their grads or program seems focused on international affairs vs domestic policy. If I did rank, I'd probably put it in third place between Yale and Georgetown). 

Thoughts? 

Thank you for the rankings.  Do you have any thoughts on UChicago's CIR program?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Anonymous949188 said:

Thank you for the rankings.  Do you have any thoughts on UChicago's CIR program?

Didn't rank it as their program tends to be geared toward academic and pure economist types and not as much at those aiming for policy and private sector careers. I also don't know as much about it and have never run into one of their grads among the government and industry circles I frequent in DC and NYC. I do know they have made some serious moves in recent years to stock up on top teaching talent and being Chicago they have quite a lot of money. Just not sure how much of that translates to significant scholarship support or powerful career impact. Having said all that, Chicago would certainly make top 6 in my list above. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, went_away said:

It's a very flawed and very lazy ranking but a real shame if they've discontinued it as it was about the only source for accountability regarding school quality and outcomes.

I cannot remember off hand what the criterion for their rankings were, but I think it was based off of a survey sent out to various IR professionals. I do think there needs to be a lot more accountability and more data on outcomes and ROI of these programs as there are for Law schools. 

Edited by Nico Corr
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On November 13, 2017 at 6:00 PM, went_away said:

It's a very flawed and very lazy ranking but a real shame if they've discontinued it as it was about the only source for accountability regarding school quality and outcomes.

I imagine the damage (or boon, as the case may be) is done at this point.  The old rankings are still on the web, and they're basically the only game in town.  And these things tend to become self-fulfilling prophesies in short order.  I know for a fact that my program recently tightened up its standards, likely in response to the virtuous cycle of a highish ranking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
On 10/23/2017 at 1:29 PM, went_away said:

Meant cachet of the MSFS is rapidly fading due to the awful government job market (which has been their bread and butter), G'town's disgraceful lack of funding opportunities, and the emergence of strong alternatives like the Yale Jackson School.

I would have to disagree with a couple of your points. The strength of the fed job market ebbs and flows - the current downturn is not going to affect the long term cachet or reputation of MSFS, because the downturn is not permanent. 40% of MSFS grads go to the private sector, while another 10-20% go international org/multilateral. While government jobs may have been its bread and butter in the past, I can say with certainty that isn't really the case anymore. Second, I don't doubt the strength of Jackson School, but it is simply too new for it to have the same degree of reputation and reach as MSFS. The Yale brand is undoubtedly stronger than the Georgetown brand, but in IR and policy circles I see very little imprint by, or awareness of, the Jackson school. It's just too new. I would agree with your point about Georgetown's disgraceful funding opportunities - that's the truth, unfortunately. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/12/2017 at 9:49 AM, 6speed! said:

I would have to disagree with a couple of your points. The strength of the fed job market ebbs and flows - the current downturn is not going to affect the long term cachet or reputation of MSFS, because the downturn is not permanent. 40% of MSFS grads go to the private sector, while another 10-20% go international org/multilateral. While government jobs may have been its bread and butter in the past, I can say with certainty that isn't really the case anymore. Second, I don't doubt the strength of Jackson School, but it is simply too new for it to have the same degree of reputation and reach as MSFS. The Yale brand is undoubtedly stronger than the Georgetown brand, but in IR and policy circles I see very little imprint by, or awareness of, the Jackson school. It's just too new. I would agree with your point about Georgetown's disgraceful funding opportunities - that's the truth, unfortunately. 

Again, I created a new account to post about GHDP but there are other programs within SFS that have better job outcomes for students. One example, MASIA program feeds into Asia focused IR, consulting, and government jobs. Professor Cha got nominated for U.S. ambassador to Korea and Professor Green is next most respected scholar of East Asia. Same goes with other programs that focus in specific field. As per scholarships, I am not sure about MSFS but there is so much funding, FAR MORE than what you guys are assuming here. Bottomline, do more research on other programs within SFS and prepare to negotiate after you receive your funding letter. If lack of funding and career opportunities your reasons to not apply to Georgetown SFS then you are just not doing enough research about Georgetown SFS.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, CurrentGHD said:

Again, I created a new account to post about GHDP but there are other programs within SFS that have better job outcomes for students. One example, MASIA program feeds into Asia focused IR, consulting, and government jobs. Professor Cha got nominated for U.S. ambassador to Korea and Professor Green is next most respected scholar of East Asia. Same goes with other programs that focus in specific field. As per scholarships, I am not sure about MSFS but there is so much funding, FAR MORE than what you guys are assuming here. Bottomline, do more research on other programs within SFS and prepare to negotiate after you receive your funding letter. If lack of funding and career opportunities your reasons to not apply to Georgetown SFS then you are just not doing enough research about Georgetown SFS.

To both of the previous two posters: the Georgetown MSFS is a good program. That's why I ranked it #3, in the world! On Jackson vs MSFS, for sure Georgetown's brand is much better known in DC circles. For any individual students however, I would likely recommend Jackson over the MSFS as their career prospects are likely to be just as good and they are far, far more likely to receive funding from Jackson. More broadly speaking, Georgetown's tiny endowment is a strategic weakness for all of its programs and weakens its long-term competitiveness. Yale's (truly) massive endowment makes this a very uneven fight in the long run. See the huge strides its business school has made in the last very few years as an example of how any underperforming Yale school can shoot up in the rankings when it chooses to. Meanwhile, Yale's always-#1-ranked law school, far from DC, is an example of how the university exerts policy power from afar. 

The GHDP is more of a niche program and still so new that it feels a little premature to rank it, not to mention difficult to compare to more generalist programs at Fletcher or SAIS. I've only heard good things about it though and am delighted to hear they are placing an emphasis on scholarships. On that note, I would emphasize that the MSFS admissions reps explicitly state that nobody receives a greater than 1/3 scholarship from the program, so you can't blame it on the individual student for failing to secure more funding from that particular program. On the lack of career opportunities, I work and interact with quite a lot of MSFS grads and while they certainly do significantly better on the whole than SIS/Elliot grads (and slightly better than Fletcher/SAIS grads), they are still subject to the whims of the very weak job market for entry-level IR types. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/13/2017 at 12:43 PM, CurrentGHD said:

Again, I created a new account to post about GHDP but there are other programs within SFS that have better job outcomes for students. One example, MASIA program feeds into Asia focused IR, consulting, and government jobs. Professor Cha got nominated for U.S. ambassador to Korea and Professor Green is next most respected scholar of East Asia. Same goes with other programs that focus in specific field. As per scholarships, I am not sure about MSFS but there is so much funding, FAR MORE than what you guys are assuming here. Bottomline, do more research on other programs within SFS and prepare to negotiate after you receive your funding letter. If lack of funding and career opportunities your reasons to not apply to Georgetown SFS then you are just not doing enough research about Georgetown SFS.

In general, I would say MSFS job outcomes are equal, or superior, to those of the more specialized, field-specific programs. It all depends on what you want to work on and what your professional experience is prior to graduate school. MSFS concentration chairs and professors are extremely well connected and proactive at setting up connections, networking, and other professional opportunities for students. The other seven programs at SFS are great, and their narrow focus is part of their appeal for the students they are intended for, but as such they are not really comparbale to MSFS. MSFS students are not cross shopping the other seven programs, but are looking at other generalist IR programs like SAIS, Fletcher, SIPA, etc. 

Edited by 6speed!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, 6speed! said:

In general, I would say MSFS job outcomes are equal, or superior, to those of the more specialized, field-specific programs. It all depends on what you want to work on and what your professional experience is prior to graduate school. MSFS concentration chairs and professors are extremely well connected and proactive at setting up connections, networking, and other professional opportunities for students. The other seven programs at SFS are great, and their narrow focus is part of their appeal for the students they are intended for, but as such they are not really comparbale to MSFS. MSFS students are not cross shopping the other seven programs, but are looking at other generalist IR programs like SAIS, Fletcher, SIPA, etc. 

Yep, I totally agree with you, which is why I always distinguish between the MSFS and other programs at the School of Foreign Service. Georgetown clearly cares the most about MSFS in terms of investment, promotion, and helping graduates do well (though perhaps they're looking to put GHDP in the #2 slot) and their grads seem to be far more competitive on the job market than those with master's in regional areas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

I have to decided between Georgetown’s MSFS with 40% of the tuition paid or NYU’s MA in international affairs with a full ride. I’m very conflicted. I hope to work in international security; most likely with a think tank or within the government. I also plan to pursue a PhD after 2 years of working. Which is the better offer?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/7/2017 at 5:16 AM, went_away said:

Sadly, we don't get enough data or rankings on the success or otherwise of graduate schools of international affairs. So below I present my unscientific and personal rankings, based on the amount and quality of career options afforded to students, the academic experience, resources devoted to education (including scholarships), and general calibre of the program. Also based on the notorious William and Mary rankings,  US News and World Report rankings of the overall university (it has a halo effect on every school), my visits to schools, endowment size per student, LinkedIn research, personal interactions with grads at work functions, and happy hour mixers in DC/NYC. I really wish international and public affairs schools had the same scrutiny placed on them as law schools and business schools do (Poets and Quants does a GREAT job of analyzing biz school performance). Accountability is long overdue in so much of higher education, especially professional schools.

 1. Princeton Wilson (scholarship money for everybody!! super shady insider deals with elite government agencies to place students!! fast track to PMF positions! Big 3 consulting gigs normally only open to MBAs!!!!)

2. Yale Jackson (scholarship money for nearly everybody!! super rich parent university! elite connections galore!)

3. Georgetown (only the MSFS degree) (scholarship money for nearly nobody! best reputation of the bunch in this specialty. strong network throughout the US government, fading fast)

4. Fletcher - SIPA - SAIS (tie) (YMMV, great schools, these 3 generally set the standard for what an MA in International Affairs should be, WAY too expensive, generally overrated for what they can actually do for your career)

7. GW Elliot (HUGE variance in student quality and outcomes, evening program, doesn't have the community or elite cachet of any of the above, still a good program with many resources)

8. American SIS (those who hustle here can do just as well as grads of the elite programs)

9. Denver Korbel (ditto American, but tough to hustle in Denver)

10. Pittsburgh GSPIA (very impressed with what I've seen of this school)

Unranked: Kennedy School (not enough of their grads or program seems focused on international affairs vs domestic policy. If I did rank, I'd probably put it in third place between Yale and Georgetown). 

Thoughts? 

Can you elaborate a bit more on your point on HKS? What do you mean by not enough of their grads focused on international affairs vs domestic policy? So instead they mostly focus on thematic areas? Just curious. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.