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LSE for MSc in Comparative Politics, worth it?

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    (Original post by nate23)
    @aaron,

    I am in the exact same situation of you atm, albeit with a slightly different course, with the same questions. Luckily I was able to get some insight about the LSE from sources that I trusted.

    One source was one of my referees, a professor at my undergraduate university in the US. As a reference, he took an MSc course in philosophy during the mid to late 90s. He had a few things to say about the LSE. One, it was his opinion that you should stay in the realm of economics and political science courses because some of the other MScs were sloppily thrown together. Two, similar to some of the posters above, he felt that professor-student contact was limited. Three, career networking opportunities were outstanding. Granted, this was during the 90s when economic opportunities were generally sunnier. However, he was shocked at how many banks offered him jobs with his irrelevant/impractical philosophy degree.

    Second source was a former professor at LSE, now professor at another London uni. This contact was facilitated by the source above and I was assured that he knew this person well and that they would not attempt to sell me on the LSE. This source was very enthusiastic about the LSE. Similar to above, they mentioned excellent career networking, the accessibility to industry available in London, and the intellectual stimulation available at LSE. Overall, her opinion was that the LSE was a good option but it depended on my alternatives. In my case, as an American, she hinted that if I was choosing between the LSE and SIPA or Fletcher, it might be a better choice to stay in the States. However, my only other offer was Cambridge, which she told me did not compare to the LSE in terms of career opportunities outside of the UK. Another important piece of information that this person brought up is below:

    "It is an excellent program and of course the biggest thing one
    takes away are the connections to a very dynamic community of
    colleague-students who are bound to go on and be key players in the
    professional world of international affairs. It is hard to put a price
    tag on this."

    I think it matters that you want to work after this degree. It is a different story if you thought you might want a PhD. Also I think the above information is useful in this thread because it is offered by established members in Academia in your subject area. Of course since they are professors, they may be isolated from some of the dissatisfaction among current students.

    Ultimately, I'm sure the LSE is like any other university... if you don't do internships, network, go to career fairs, hound professors for recommendations, then you won't do well. You have to work to stand out and an LSE MSc won't be enough, especially now.
    So have you decided to take up the offer at LSE? I do want to work for a bit after my Masters, but I have not ruled out the possibility of a Phd later on. Would the LSE MSc still help?
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    (Original post by aaron4d)
    So have you decided to take up the offer at LSE? I do want to work for a bit after my Masters, but I have not ruled out the possibility of a Phd later on. Would the LSE MSc still help?
    Yes I have decided to take the offer. However, like I mentioned above, I am on a different course (political science and political economy), and perhaps have different goals than you. Specifically, I am open to employment opportunities outside the public/ngo sector, which may widen my opportunities a bit.

    About the PhD, what I said above was more of an American perspective I suppose. PhD's don't require master's degrees in the states and are generally fully funded (top programs), so it seems foolish to spend a huge amount of money on a master's. Even more so if the coursework in the Master's doesn't transfer into the PhD program in the states. However, it may be different in New Zealand. All in all, I can't really say whether it would help because I don't have a lot of information on that subject. I think contacting alumni will be helpful in answering this question as well.

    Whatever you decide I wish you good luck!
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    (Original post by 0404343m)
    For economics-related and politics-related degrees, the dimension changes a bit, but I should stress that I was aiming more generally at those that thought anything would help. The MSc in Econ is a different thing to the MSc in Anthropology. Comp Pol is somewhere in the middle. Since I'm in academia though, and interested in where I'd write the best thesis and where I'd be best prepared for research, my views are harsher on LSE than those wanting a masters and a job.
    This was the impression I got about LSE degrees as well. I keep hearing that for Economics and PoliSci/IR, LSE is one of the very the best places to study it. From my professional experience I don't think that the other degrees they offer carry nearly the same professional or academic weight, and I hear far more complaints from students about these courses.

    I have been working in Geneva-based NGOs for a couple of years since graduating with a History degree from Oxon, applied and was admitted to the MSc IR there and was encouraged to go by my current and former employers. I know it would most likely not have been the same if I’d go for another subject.

    As an academic, 0404343m, what do you think of this LSE IR degree? I’m pretty convinced that it is a great move professionally, but I’ve always been very interested in further study to DPhil level. Financial circumstances straight after university meant I could not consider it until now.
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    (Original post by Vanbrugh)
    This was the impression I got about LSE degrees as well. I keep hearing that for Economics and PoliSci/IR, LSE is one of the very the best places to study it. From my professional experience I don't think that the other degrees they offer carry nearly the same professional or academic weight, and I hear far more complaints from students about these courses.

    I have been working in Geneva-based NGOs for a couple of years since graduating with a History degree from Oxon, applied and was admitted to the MSc IR there and was encouraged to go by my current and former employers. I know it would most likely not have been the same if I’d go for another subject.

    As an academic, 0404343m, what do you think of this LSE IR degree? I’m pretty convinced that it is a great move professionally, but I’ve always been very interested in further study to DPhil level. Financial circumstances straight after university meant I could not consider it until now.
    I'm currently finishing my doctorate but have a lectureship (part time) and a research assistantship (also part time)- so I'm probably about the most junior you can get on this scale right now. Secondly, I'm in international history and economic history (specifically arms industries) so IR isn't my area really.

    That being said, I know of an RG university that has hired some people in IR recently- essentially a number of senior staff retired or got promotions elsewhere so they were left needing four lecturers in a hurry. They appointed one LSE, one, from the USA and two Aberystwyth graduates. From what existing lecturer tells me, Abers research in IR has given it a very good track record at giving its PhDs academic jobs- but it's academia focused, not career networking for the City or NGOs (hardly shock of the century there, since it's a small beach town in rural Wales with the Welsh National Library next to it). LSE's rep for IR does seem to be much more significant than it is in the the non Econ/Pol sphere, so I'd say go for it if you aren't sure about PhD/DPhil after it. Don't be surprised though if you find it's not the place to write your doctorate. Academics hiring other academics look at your own research, and at a push the research of the people that guided you. You might find, for what you want to do, there are places without the international reputation of LSE that will serve you better in academia, like Aber or Sussex.
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    (Original post by kka25)
    Mind you, I went to a higher ranked Uni than LSE
    oooh get you, Imperial
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    Thank you everyone for your views, even the unrelated ones.. After some deliberation, i have decided to apply to LSE for 2013/14. The biggest hurdle which is financial, has already been cleared with my parents. Looking forward to a lifetime of repayment to them :bhangra: haha. Now, it's just a matter of getting that first.
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    money talks and i think u should go to auckland if paying the fees will be a big issue for your parents. I would personally hate to burden my parents with that kind of bill as they're not rich and my mum is the only one working, part time and dad cant work, but that's another story...

    The only international students that come to the uk are rich ones to whom the fees is just a number...

    PS i love nz! i want to go bk there....really miss it


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    As an LSE faculty member I probably shouldn't intervene here, but I want to set something straight - all teaching on MSc Comparative Politics is delivered by senior academics with PhDs, without exception. Teaching on undergrad courses is often delivered by current PhD students, but never at postgraduate level.
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    My name is David Woodruff, and I teach in the MSc Comparative Politics programme at LSE, and have done since 2006. I just wanted to clarify that it is our policy, and has been for some time, to use only persons with PhD's to conduct seminars for our MSc courses. For instance, this year I am teaching both the seminars for my course on comparative political economy. When the lecturer on a course isn't available to teach all the seminars, either another full-time member of staff or a teaching fellow (with a Ph.D.) does the teaching. LSE's prestige ensures that we're able to hire fellows from leading universities and student ratings consistently suggest they do an excellent job. Also, I should point out that maximum seminar size is 15 people.

    Please feel free to be in touch (I'm easy to find on Google) if you have any questions about the programme!

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