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Calling all Environmental Management (MEM) Applicants - 2018


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Wanted to give some hope to you all - I applied a few years ago to these programs and got into all with funding after 1 year of work experience and a combined 319 GRE score. I would think you definite

@hotmack - I am in the same boat here - got accepted into Duke Nicholas, Yale FES, UCSB Bren. Yale FES and Duke Nicholas have offered partial funding. I visited FES and Nicholas and interacted with st

I know this from a FES student that current batch hasn't been able to find decent industry/consulting internships at all. I know that a good percentage of batch went back to their home for summers whi

I have basically decided against SIPA. It's one year meaning you have to start looking for a job right away and only cheaper in the sense that you start working sooner. I visited a few times and was not very impressed. Enough of the students that I spoke to were unenthusiastic to make me think it's not the best choice. Then again, I haven't visited anywhere else. 

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I suppose it depends on what you want to focus on. I'm less familiar with Bren, but it seems they have very similar specializations to Duke. If energy, I'd say Duke. Water, probably also Duke. In my opinion, Duke is really the hot place to be right now. But, it ultimately boils down to 1) money, 2) what classes speak to you, and 3) what atmosphere you'd benefit from most. What's the point of a big name if you didn't get the experience you wanted? 

All great things about Duke aside, if Bren offered me more money and the courses are roughly the same, I'd probably follow the money. I've heard that some schools don't have as much financial aid to offer as they have in the past... It's my dream to one day buy property and not be in crippling debt..... 

For SIPA, I'd say it's great if you want to be in NYC (during and after for work), and you don't want to commit to a 2year program. 

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Hey everyone I probably should have researched this earlier but I started freaking out after attending Duke’s revisit day weekend event.

decision day’s approaching real quick, but I am no closer to making a decision then when I first started.

I’m mostly interested in a career in renewable energy, so I mostly applied to programs that have an energy focus but I also want to go to a program that encourages collaboration and has a great sense of community

I’m mainly deciding between Duke MEM’s energy focus and Indiana’s MPA-MSES with an energy concentration, and to a lesser extent CU Boulder’s MENV.

I also got into UT Austin’s EER, UCSB’s BREN but I thought they were too technical for my comfort.

other schools I got into were GWU’s ENRP, UMN’s STEP,  South carolina’s MEERM, but they don’t have a strong energy focus so I’m not considering them.

From what I saw at Duke, I felt like the other prospects were super intense and I’m a little concerned I might not fit in, also I’m not sure how I feel about Durham as a city.

meanwhile, SPEA is giving me a lot of funding, I’ll get a dual degree out of it, and if I lose interest in energy one day, I could fall back on an MPA. The only downside would be that SPEA doesn’t seem as well known as Duke, and Bloomington’s even smaller than Durham. That being said, SPEA is right in the center of Bloomington, so it’s close to where the action’s happening.

So to sum up, my brain says duke because of the strength of its program and career services, but my heart says Indiana because of the reasons above.

if anyone has any insight I would really appreciate it.

 

 

 

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@Chalupa9! I was in your exact shoes a few years ago and chose SPEA for the following reasons:

1) there are good energy faculty like Sean Nicholson Crotty, Sanya Carley, shazeen Attari, and more - they are all super accessible have labs and frequently work on projects with graduate students. You can definitely get some interesting policy experience with them and plan to work with them for your capstone.

2) you’ll still get a good technical training especially if you take the statistics sequence and you will have to take applied math. While this seems technical it will only help you on the job market! 

3) funding funding funding!!! MPA jobs, even in the private sector, don’t pay like MBA jobs. You don’t want to be in debt forever, no masters degree (MBA aside) is worth it.  SPEA made me an awesome offer, I paid for the entire portion I owned from the money I made during a summer internship and graduated with $0 debt. Not many people can say that! I now have savings, can buy things, paid for a wedding etc... while my friends who took on a bunch are stuck in this weird purgatory where they have a decent salary but so much goes to loans they can hardly do anything. These friends and I have all had about the same job outcomes, if not me having better, so I haven’t paid a price at all for choosing the cheaper school.

4)I know it seems like Duke has an awesome name but I have been working in DC for years and have never had anyone look down on SPEA. People are usually impressed and DC is crawling with SPEA alumni, there are also a ton in Chicago and around the Midwest, less on the west coast but that is the same with Duke. 

5) SPEA is fun! I’m sure Duke is as well, I just don’t have a comparison, but I met some of my closest friends there, made amazing connections with professors, and just enjoyed the school traditions. Bloomington is a small down but there is actually a decent amount to do, concerts at the blue bird, tasty resteraunts, hiking, and if you need a bit city Indy has broad ripple for higher end shopping and more big city fun, and if you need even more Chicago is like 3.5hrs away and a great place to go for the weekend. You’ll be pretty busy though with school and friends so you will hardly notice your in a small town in Indiana though! 

If you have specific questions feel free to PM me! I really enjoyed SPEA even though I really just picked it for the money, by the time I graduated I was so happy with my choice!

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@hotmack - I think it depends on what are your personal preferences (area of study, location, campus feel, etc) and what the price difference will be for you.

And @ everyone here - I have a similar dilemma/question to the others in this thread.

I'm deciding between Duke NSOE, Yale F&ES, and Columbia's SIPA MPA (NOT the ESP, but just their regular MPA in Energy and Environment). I have only visited Duke's admitted students weekend, so I know it's hard to make any real determinations yet. 

Duke certainly seems to be pouring in tons of resources into their efforts towards environmental solutions. That's a huge selling point, but I don't know if I felt like I saw myself there. Yale has always kinda been the dream school. I haven't been able to fully pinpoint why, but their coursework and research has always really spoken to me. Perhaps because they seem to have more when it comes to international opportunities, sustainable agriculture, and studies on tropical resources? 

Even if Yale seems to speak to me more (again, I haven't gone to their open house yet, so maybe I won't love it), but I don't want to miss out on Duke's resources, especially if they are at the cutting edge in so many ways.

And I'm not sure where I'm at on Columbia - that depends on if I decide to fit more in the "international development" sphere...

Is anyone else facing this? From your experiences/conversations, does Yale or Duke rank higher as environmental programs? Is there a significant difference? Does one seem more ambitious than the other - and is this true of all environmental issues, or just certain topics?

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@Chalupa9 it's interesting you say that about Durham. I felt the same way up until my last day in NC. I dont think the admitted students weekend really gave us any insight into how life in Durham is -- we were on the campus or immediate surrounding area almost 100% of the time.

In my last night/day I ate dinner in downtown Durham, went to look at UNC Chapel Hill area to see what the campus looked like, and areas north of the campus where some of the housing is. I met some really friendly strangers (even had lunch with them), walked around a running trail near the golf course, and really found the areas surrounding and outside of Duke to be a very lively and livable. 

But again, if your heart says SPEA and you are really interested in the program there and life in Bloomington, I'd say go for what you think will be right for you academically, personally, and financially :) (I say this as someone who chose name over fit for undergrad and regretted in for much of my time)

 

@hotmack I think it depends what your financial situation is / how debt averse you are, etc. One of my coworkers is a Yale FES grad -shes working in a field unrelated to her concentration there but no doubt probably gave her the freedom to be employed in all the jobs shes had related to the environment (incidentally, our bosses are actually Duke undergrad alums). I attended a conference there a few years back, met some FES students, and looked into the potential of applying when I was considering PhD programs. I didn't end up applying based on reasons of fit and personal preference.  I think both programs would equip you with the resources, networks, and experience to go far in your field of interest -- so long as you take advantage of the resources and opportunities.

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@hotmack - I am in the same boat here - got accepted into Duke Nicholas, Yale FES, UCSB Bren. Yale FES and Duke Nicholas have offered partial funding. I visited FES and Nicholas and interacted with students and some alumni of both schools. I'll be attending Duke-Nicholas, even though it would cost a bit more than Yale FES. In summary, I found, Yale FES' approach of portraying a good outside image of itself (maybe under the weight of its parent university) in contrast with Nicholas' School approach of looking inward and doing the hard work of silently enabling its students to achieve their post-graduation goals. I did my undergrad at Yale and would have loved to be there again after 4 years of work.  Sadly, FES was unimpressive at best.

Here's my analysis: 

1. As an earlier post pointed out, Nicholas School is pulling all stops wrt spending resources for MEM students.  Yale FES always seemed to have focussed on its Ph.D. students. 

2. Nicholas School has exceptionally stronger alumni base in consulting and env. policy organizations. I choose a company on top of my head (SolarCity) - and a first-year student I met randomly could name 3 graduates in last 2 years who work there. 

3.  Placements: The median salary at Nicholas and Yale is the same - however, an average graduate of Yale FES is 1-3 years older than Nicholas School. In terms of value addition, Nicholas School seems to better than Yale.  

4. Atmosphere:  I felt students at Nicholas were so much more driven - I overheard conversations about Series A funding at least thrice in my half-day there. Yale FES, on the other hand, seemed to fit the stereotypical of a "hippie" environment school. I overheard people having naive conversations about the sacredness of nature. Please spare me that. 

5. Curriculum: I am a stickler for developing concrete skills - at FES I found that it was more of a free-wheeling approach, in-line with its focus on developing leadership and global perspectives. At Duke, the conversation went like - so, if you want a job X, you'll need Y skills - and here's how you can use Z resources to accomplish that. 

On Bren: It seems to beat both Nicholas School and Yale FES in terms of placing students on the west coast. However, it's hard to give up partial funding from Duke. Anyone with an informed opinion on Bren? 

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I know this from a FES student that current batch hasn't been able to find decent industry/consulting internships at all. I know that a good percentage of batch went back to their home for summers while the rest worked in NGOs, not that I have anything against NGOs. Worth noting that UCSB Bren, Yale FE&S, Duke Nicholas, UMich SNRE arrange an annual job fair together, and that Nicholas/Bren graduates constantly outperform those of FES there.

 

 

 

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On 3/25/2018 at 12:36 AM, Chalupa9 said:

Hey everyone I probably should have researched this earlier but I started freaking out after attending Duke’s revisit day weekend event.

decision day’s approaching real quick, but I am no closer to making a decision then when I first started.

I’m mostly interested in a career in renewable energy, so I mostly applied to programs that have an energy focus but I also want to go to a program that encourages collaboration and has a great sense of community

I’m mainly deciding between Duke MEM’s energy focus and Indiana’s MPA-MSES with an energy concentration, and to a lesser extent CU Boulder’s MENV.

I also got into UT Austin’s EER, UCSB’s BREN but I thought they were too technical for my comfort.

other schools I got into were GWU’s ENRP, UMN’s STEP,  South carolina’s MEERM, but they don’t have a strong energy focus so I’m not considering them.

From what I saw at Duke, I felt like the other prospects were super intense and I’m a little concerned I might not fit in, also I’m not sure how I feel about Durham as a city.

meanwhile, SPEA is giving me a lot of funding, I’ll get a dual degree out of it, and if I lose interest in energy one day, I could fall back on an MPA. The only downside would be that SPEA doesn’t seem as well known as Duke, and Bloomington’s even smaller than Durham. That being said, SPEA is right in the center of Bloomington, so it’s close to where the action’s happening.

So to sum up, my brain says duke because of the strength of its program and career services, but my heart says Indiana because of the reasons above.

if anyone has any insight I would really appreciate it.

 

 

 

I was actually in almost your exact position as well a few years ago as I applied to very similar programs: UT EER, UCSB Bren, U Minnesota STEP, CU Boulder MENV, and IU SPEA, where I ended up. Similar goals and thought process it sounds like too. We can message directly and I can answer any questions if you'd like. It would help to know what you are thinking about doing after graduation and what sector you'd like to work in.

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@aspiring_env This is a really interesting and helpful analysis! I have only visited Duke so far, and will be seeing Yale this week. I was definitely surprised and impressed with Duke's efforts during the admitted students weekend, like you said, NSOE definitely seems to be pulling out all the stops when it comes to spending on their students. *But* Yale has always been a bit of my dream school, so I'm having a very tough time trying to determine what school I will choose, and we obviously don't have a lot of time to decide.

Can you explain more about the at FES free-wheeling approach you mentioned, in terms of Yale's attempts at developing concrete skills? I've been heading quite a bit about the "modules" they've been requiring in their curriculum - did you find this still to be less concrete than Duke's program?

When you say students felt more driven at Duke, can you give additional thoughts or examples? Was is more of an entrepreneurial/business-minded spirit, or rather that students actually seemed to work/study harder?

Do you think Duke and Yale's network might also differ depending on what industry you hope to enter? Ex: I do think I may want some training on international perspectives, and I have an interest in resource management (particularly pertaining to sustainable agriculture and forest resources). Might Duke still be the "smarter" choice?

Since you've been living in New Haven, and now are looking to live in Durham, what are your thoughts on how your living style might change? I'm someone who loves living in a city, and I'm a bit nervous about how very small Durham felt to me (though I do think it's a cute and fun place).

Would love to hear more of your thoughts! Feel free also to message me directly.

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On 3/30/2018 at 4:43 AM, aspiring_env said:

 

4. Atmosphere:  I felt students at Nicholas were so much more driven - I overheard conversations about Series A funding at least thrice in my half-day there. Yale FES, on the other hand, seemed to fit the stereotypical of a "hippie" environment school. I overheard people having naive conversations about the sacredness of nature. Please spare me that. 

5. Curriculum: I am a stickler for developing concrete skills - at FES I found that it was more of a free-wheeling approach, in-line with its focus on developing leadership and global perspectives. At Duke, the conversation went like - so, if you want a job X, you'll need Y skills - and here's how you can use Z resources to accomplish that. 

 

Coincidentally, another new hire at my workplace is an FES grad (but with an built environment/architecture focus). Just from my brief conversation with her, it does seem like Yale FES is very broad-based and not a place to go if you want concrete technical skills. But she has a different perspective from me, so she said she liked that her education was broad so she can apply it in creative ways. 

Also to add on to the atmosphere from the Duke Admitted Students weekend, but current students there struck me as very down to earth, which I really liked.

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Thanks to all who replied! I turned down Columbia SIPA ESP, and am still deciding between Duke and Bren. Bren is offering me a lot of money and Duke is offering me a large amount, but it would still end up being about 30k more expensive. Does anyone have a sense if Bren is as well known as Duke's Nicholas School? Another consideration is that I'd like to apply for a dual MBA at Duke, but not sure how much easier it would be to apply while you're at Duke and get in. Decisons, decisions! Good luck to everybody!  

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Hey, guys, first post on this site. Felt like I had to contribute since I'm pretty much in the same boat as many of you. Hopefully, my grad school selection process sheds some light on your situations.

 

Some background: I'm a senior in my undergraduate studies, and wanted a grad program that'd give me some good ol' hard skills in energy policy/analysis. I was accepted to UChicago's Harris School (MSESP), Duke Nic (MEM), UCSB Bren (MESM), SPEA (MSES), UMich SEAS, and CU Boulder (MENV).

 

Ultimately, I decided on the Nic School.  I could eliminate several programs quite easily. While UChicago Harris seemed to have an AMAZING public affairs program (when I visited, the faculty and students were so driven and ambitious that it was almost overwhelming), it was out of my price range and the environmental policy program was quite small (roughly 15 students total in the entire Harris School). Michigan and CU Boulder gave me no funding at all.

 

So it was basically down to Duke, UCSB, and SPEA. Duke has a low cost-of-living and gave me good funding, UCSB offered rad TAships, and SPEA gave me decent aid, so the financials for all three programs were roughly the same. While I was quite impressed with SPEA's public affairs program and email correspondence, I didn't want to attend another gigantic public school (since I am coming from one) and their energy/environmental concentration seemed to wane in the face of their much larger public affairs program (although I suspect an MSES-MPA dual at SPEA would be a very wise option, especially since I think it's just as expensive as getting either degree by itself at SPEA?). So I rejected SPEA.

 

Now it's down to Nic and Bren. I was able to visit both during their admitted students weekend/day, and came out pretty much equally impressed by both programs. Ultimately, however, I had to persuade myself Nic was the way to go. Since I was looking specifically at energy, Duke came out on top unequivocally. Energy seemed much more integrated across Nicholas and Duke's other professional schools (Fuqua, Sanford, Engineering, etc.), demonstrated by the fact students take courses outside of Nicholas. It's also the most popular concentration at Nicholas; the same can't be said for Bren. Also, a Bren professor who previously taught at Duke said to me that "energy is better at Duke" and that energy is probably the weakest concentration at Bren. Professionally, Duke seemed to have a greater national/global network, while a high majority of Bren students stick to California (which is fine!). But, career services at Bren is much, much better than at Nic. Also, more clubs/student organizations at Duke than Bren. Finally, cost-of-living is crazy high at Santa Barbara, and UCSB is widely known as a party school. I guess I just didn't want that reputation. Plus, a Bren TAship would be a lot of extracurricular work I'd have to do, while Duke's aid came in the forms of scholarships and grants. 

 

On to Duke!

 

 

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Really interesting insights on these programs - thanks all! I was wondering what folks' take on the skills vs. network question is here - I am interested in enviro and energy policy, and am currently deciding between a few fairly different programs - Harris (MSCAPP), Yale (MEM), and Duke (MPP). I tend to like more technical things so I am more inclined to pick the MSCAPP program (where i can develop more data science skills) vs. Yale and Duke where I would have a much stronger environmental network. I also find myself liking the structured curriculum at the MSCAPP a lot more, but not sure if that's short-sighted. I'm pretty sure I want to pursue a career in enviro policy, but have a pretty broad range of sectors - i.e. i can see myself anywhere from a consulting firm to a environmentally focused start up to a world bank type organization. Any insights would be very much appreciated!

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@wanderlust_0 presumably you'd be able to take electives that are cross-listed with the MSESP? Regardless, seems you'd have the MSESP professors, alums, etc as a resource (and the Argonne lab.. that's pretty cool). The Harris MSCAPP sounds very unique and well-suited for someone who likes data science and policy. Good luck on your April 15th decision! 

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@snowbound thanks so much! that's reassuring that it isn't crazy to be considering a non-environmental program over some of most well established schools in the field (though likely my initial question was set up for bias haha). im not even sure i will end up using those cs skills later on but to some extent am banking on them seeming more useful in the long run..

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  • 2 months later...
On 3/30/2018 at 10:43 AM, aspiring_env said:

@hotmack - I am in the same boat here - got accepted into Duke Nicholas, Yale FES, UCSB Bren. Yale FES and Duke Nicholas have offered partial funding. I visited FES and Nicholas and interacted with students and some alumni of both schools. I'll be attending Duke-Nicholas, even though it would cost a bit more than Yale FES. In summary, I found, Yale FES' approach of portraying a good outside image of itself (maybe under the weight of its parent university) in contrast with Nicholas' School approach of looking inward and doing the hard work of silently enabling its students to achieve their post-graduation goals. I did my undergrad at Yale and would have loved to be there again after 4 years of work.  Sadly, FES was unimpressive at best.

Here's my analysis: 

1. As an earlier post pointed out, Nicholas School is pulling all stops wrt spending resources for MEM students.  Yale FES always seemed to have focussed on its Ph.D. students. 

2. Nicholas School has exceptionally stronger alumni base in consulting and env. policy organizations. I choose a company on top of my head (SolarCity) - and a first-year student I met randomly could name 3 graduates in last 2 years who work there. 

3.  Placements: The median salary at Nicholas and Yale is the same - however, an average graduate of Yale FES is 1-3 years older than Nicholas School. In terms of value addition, Nicholas School seems to better than Yale.  

4. Atmosphere:  I felt students at Nicholas were so much more driven - I overheard conversations about Series A funding at least thrice in my half-day there. Yale FES, on the other hand, seemed to fit the stereotypical of a "hippie" environment school. I overheard people having naive conversations about the sacredness of nature. Please spare me that. 

5. Curriculum: I am a stickler for developing concrete skills - at FES I found that it was more of a free-wheeling approach, in-line with its focus on developing leadership and global perspectives. At Duke, the conversation went like - so, if you want a job X, you'll need Y skills - and here's how you can use Z resources to accomplish that. 

On Bren: It seems to beat both Nicholas School and Yale FES in terms of placing students on the west coast. However, it's hard to give up partial funding from Duke. Anyone with an informed opinion on Bren? 

I'm a current student at FES and your assessment is spot on about it being a great place to freewheel. Many people actually end up changing their study focus halfway through due to the flexibility of the program. The MEM curriculum has been recently reworked by the administration in response to feedback from employers and alumni, but it's still fairly flexible.

I would also add that despite it being a professional school, the quality of courses can be lacking at FES. While there are definitely some gems, it's very clear that professors prioritize research, and there are currently no incentives to enhance the quality of classroom instruction. Also, courses sometimes do not go into enough depth - while I appreciate the accessibility of courses to folks with unrelated backgrounds like me, there should be more opportunities for intermediate and advanced level coursework for those looking for depth of knowledge in a certain area (this is probably what independent studies are for). You are also right that generally, the student body is slightly older than Duke's. I'd say if you are looking for a very strong foundation of technical skills, Duke is probably the best choice because it seems built into the curriculum. You can get that at Yale, but it would require careful effort and planning on your part.

FES also has particular strengths and weaknesses concentration-wise. There are research centers and dedicated summer funding awards to support certain areas of focus. In my opinion, it's a great place to study topics such as corporate social responsibility, land conservation in the Intermountain West, tropical forestry, forest management, science communication, and international climate policy. However, if you are interested in water, energy, urban planning, environmental justice, marine policy, or food systems, I would strongly advise getting in touch with a current or former student in your chosen field to learn about their experience to help with your decisionmaking.

A note of caution about doing the research-focused Masters at Yale: peers have mentioned that they receive little oversight and guidance from their advisors, who are more invested in their PhD students - so be fully prepared to manage yourself. 

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  • 6 months later...

Another current FES student here. What castille89 mentioned above is pretty spot on. The part about FES presenting a good outside image is very true - one of the things that convinced me to join the program was that a lot of people (even outside my field) knew about the program and regarded it as one of the best in the field. But these people did not attend FES. The folks I spoke to who did go to FES didn't sound disappointed par se, but they did express that the program did not seem practitioner enough, or that the degree did not lead to a substantial increase in salary. Personally, while there are some good things about the program, I am for the most part disappointed, so I just wanted to share some of my thoughts so far.

Others have mentioned that the students tend to be stereotypical hippie environmentalists/freewheelers - this assessment is accurate. If this isn't your style, it can be difficult to feel comfortable here. This year, FES added structure to their curriculum. While in the long run, I think this will be a good thing, the school is dealing with a lot of challenges with implementing the curriculum. Students are forced to take foundations courses that a lot of people feel are a complete waste of time. Granted, this is the first year they are offering it, so it will take time to work out some of the challenges. Furthermore, the student to faculty ratio is not great - there aren't a lot of professors in certain subfields, and it can be difficult "standing out" to professors and really leveraging that network. Also, many students complain about the career services, who are not particularly helpful.

Another thing to note is that Yale is very much an undergrad focused institution, and as a grad student you can sometimes feel kind of like an outsider. A disproportionate share of the resources are dedicated to the undergrad population. While Yale does have an active grad student community, I have mixed reviews about the grad experience here. Although the FES community is quite socially active, I generally find grad student life here to be a little depressing - New Haven is not a great place to live, and anxiety is fairly rampant among students here. At FES, there is quite a bit of anxiety about getting an expensive degree that does not necessarily lead to job security/a higher salary.

There are some pros to the program, but I don't know if they distinguish FES over other peer programs. The faculty at FES are very impressive, and many are at the top of their fields. I think where FES truly stands out is the ability to give you perspective into how things work in the policy/business realm. It's not a hard skills school, but rather a place where you get to hear practitioners share their perspective from working at a high level. I'm also very impressed by my peers, and the background they come from. You'll find many people who have worked at the top environmental organizations. All of this is to say, FES is not really a school for technical skills, but rather a place that expands your perspective, both through the professors and your peers.

One final word of warning: definitely consider your financial circumstances and the ROI on the degree. Yes, it's a Yale degree, but one where the average starting salary is 60K. So just something to keep in mind.

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48 minutes ago, missblue said:

Another current FES student here. What castille89 mentioned above is pretty spot on. The part about FES presenting a good outside image is very true - one of the things that convinced me to join the program was that a lot of people (even outside my field) knew about the program and regarded it as one of the best in the field. But these people did not attend FES. The folks I spoke to who did go to FES didn't sound disappointed par se, but they did express that the program did not seem practitioner enough, or that the degree did not lead to a substantial increase in salary. Personally, while there are some good things about the program, I am for the most part disappointed, so I just wanted to share some of my thoughts so far.

Others have mentioned that the students tend to be stereotypical hippie environmentalists/freewheelers - this assessment is accurate. If this isn't your style, it can be difficult to feel comfortable here. This year, FES added structure to their curriculum. While in the long run, I think this will be a good thing, the school is dealing with a lot of challenges with implementing the curriculum. Students are forced to take foundations courses that a lot of people feel are a complete waste of time. Granted, this is the first year they are offering it, so it will take time to work out some of the challenges. Furthermore, the student to faculty ratio is not great - there aren't a lot of professors in certain subfields, and it can be difficult "standing out" to professors and really leveraging that network. Also, many students complain about the career services, who are not particularly helpful.

Another thing to note is that Yale is very much an undergrad focused institution, and as a grad student you can sometimes feel kind of like an outsider. A disproportionate share of the resources are dedicated to the undergrad population. While Yale does have an active grad student community, I have mixed reviews about the grad experience here. Although the FES community is quite socially active, I generally find grad student life here to be a little depressing - New Haven is not a great place to live, and anxiety is fairly rampant among students here. At FES, there is quite a bit of anxiety about getting an expensive degree that does not necessarily lead to job security/a higher salary.

There are some pros to the program, but I don't know if they distinguish FES over other peer programs. The faculty at FES are very impressive, and many are at the top of their fields. I think where FES truly stands out is the ability to give you perspective into how things work in the policy/business realm. It's not a hard skills school, but rather a place where you get to hear practitioners share their perspective from working at a high level. I'm also very impressed by my peers, and the background they come from. You'll find many people who have worked at the top environmental organizations. All of this is to say, FES is not really a school for technical skills, but rather a place that expands your perspective, both through the professors and your peers.

One final word of warning: definitely consider your financial circumstances and the ROI on the degree. Yes, it's a Yale degree, but one where the average starting salary is 60K. So just something to keep in mind.

@missblue hey thanks for all the info

could you throw some light on the role of GPA in Yale (and Duke) admission chances. I have a related masters (Forestry and livelihood), decent GRE (V162, Q165) and around 4 years to experience in social sector. But my undergrad gpa (3.5) and master GPA (3.1) are quite low.

Kind of unsure if that is going to have a big effect on my chances of admissions and also on scholorships

thanks

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1 hour ago, SC88 said:

@missblue hey thanks for all the info

could you throw some light on the role of GPA in Yale (and Duke) admission chances. I have a related masters (Forestry and livelihood), decent GRE (V162, Q165) and around 4 years to experience in social sector. But my undergrad gpa (3.5) and master GPA (3.1) are quite low.

Kind of unsure if that is going to have a big effect on my chances of admissions and also on scholorships

thanks

My impression is that Yale cares more about relevant work experience than GPA/test scores. Your test scores look decent and I had an undergrad GPA in the same range, so I think you're in the right ballpark. It kind of depends on what schools you went to as well. Yale does need based scholarships. Don't know as much about Duke but I heard there are more people who come in with fewer years of experience so maybe they factor in academics a bit more

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17 hours ago, missblue said:

My impression is that Yale cares more about relevant work experience than GPA/test scores. Your test scores look decent and I had an undergrad GPA in the same range, so I think you're in the right ballpark. It kind of depends on what schools you went to as well. Yale does need based scholarships. Don't know as much about Duke but I heard there are more people who come in with fewer years of experience so maybe they factor in academics a bit more

Thanks a lot @missblue

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  • 2 weeks later...

@missblue and others in the forum

I needed clarity about the financial aid form. I have already submitted it twice but I have a critical mistake and would like to submit again.

Is it possible that multiple submissions might have an affect on the thinking of the Financial Aid committee about me?

Should I submit it again or not

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  • 1 month later...

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