MPA/MA International Relations - LSE/UCL/SciencesPo/Yale/SIPA/SAIS

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WendyLee86
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Hi all,

I've received an email from the department chair for MSc International Public Policy at UCL personally informing that he has recommended admissions for my acceptance. I am guessing this means I am in?

I've applied to the following programs and am still waiting for their responses: Sciences Po Master Economics and Public Policy (EPP), LSE MPA International Development, Yale MA International Relations, Johns Hopkins SAIS and Columbia SIPA.

Anyone have any opinions/experiences with any of the above programs/schools? Anything from academic quality to school reputation, admission response and life as a grad student there!

Thanks! -Wendy
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system49
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I have graduated from the UCL International Public Policy programme. It was very good and has helped me significantly in a professional context. The reputation of the school is very good and is amongst the best in the UK. UCL as a university is ranked as the 4th best in the world which also helps.
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WendyLee86
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(Original post by system49)
I have graduated from the UCL International Public Policy programme. It was very good and has helped me significantly in a professional context. The reputation of the school is very good and is amongst the best in the UK. UCL as a university is ranked as the 4th best in the world which also helps.
thanks for your response! do you mind sharing how specifically the program at UCL has helped you professionally?
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system49
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Since graduating I went straight into an internship as a researcher at London-based think tank which I will be finishing at soon. In a couple of months I will start work in Geneva as a trainee for the European Free Trade Association. One of the main aspects of the IPP degree at UCL that should help you to get a good job is the research methods module which teaches you the qualitative and quantitative methods required in many research and policy jobs. I'm sure Columbia, Yale and Johns Hopkins are also amazing universities with equally good reputations so the real question would be which city you like to live in most.

For me it would be either New York or London. If you have any other questions please let me know.
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Mike_
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(Original post by WendyLee86)
Hi all,

I've received an email from the department chair for MSc International Public Policy at UCL personally informing that he has recommended admissions for my acceptance. I am guessing this means I am in?

I've applied to the following programs and am still waiting for their responses: Sciences Po Master Economics and Public Policy (EPP), LSE MPA International Development, Yale MA International Relations, Johns Hopkins SAIS and Columbia SIPA.

Anyone have any opinions/experiences with any of the above programs/schools? Anything from academic quality to school reputation, admission response and life as a grad student there!

Thanks! -Wendy

Hi, Wendy. I would rank your choices in that order:

1) Yale (but ONLY if you plan on doing a PhD afterwards)
2) Columbia
3) LSE
4) Johns Hopkins

Edit: Life at the LSE is great if you're fond of books, term papers, a university which lacks a traditional campus (hated that), super-star professors, a student body overwhelmingly international and instant recognition with prospective employers. Did I mention books and term-papers?
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WendyLee86
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(Original post by Mike_)
Hi, Wendy. I would rank your choices in that order:

1) Yale (but ONLY if you plan on doing a PhD afterwards)
2) Columbia
3) LSE
4) Johns Hopkins

Edit: Life at the LSE is great if you're fond of books, term papers, a university which lacks a traditional campus (hated that), super-star professors, a student body overwhelmingly international and instant recognition with prospective employers. Did I mention books and term-papers?
Thanks Mike!
I'm not planning on a PhD in the immediate future, so Yale is on the bottom of the list for now. What are your thoughts on Sciences Po Paris? That's actually a top choice of mine mostly for its low(er) cost and also the ability to keep up with my French skills in Paris.
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Dmax90
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Hi Wendy

I'm planning to go to Sciences Po in 2011, its my top choice as well - I have a friend at Sciences Po and from what I hear, its probably the best school for International Relations in Europe, with great networking. Paris is home to the HQs of alot of international organisations and a lot of these places are staffed with Sciences Po alumni.

Also, i do think if you;re studying IR, its great to demonstrate your International/language skills by studying in a foreign, bi-lingual environment..
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OrpheusInAsia
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i sat in on some classes at SIPA a few years ago...i wasn't very impressed by the general caliber of discussion...just a subjective impression, and i don't mean to be disparaging, as i'm sure there are many people who've enjoyed it, etc...

but it does have the rep of being a cash cow for the uni, as do many other of Columbia's masters programs...it's sort of an infuriating school, as it has some world class programs and profs, yet also contains so many blatantly money-grubbing programs...
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drive like june
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(Original post by OrpheusInAsia)
i sat in on some classes at SIPA a few years ago...i wasn't very impressed by the general caliber of discussion...just a subjective impression, and i don't mean to be disparaging, as i'm sure there are many people who've enjoyed it, etc...

but it does have the rep of being a cash cow for the uni, as do many other of Columbia's masters programs...it's sort of an infuriating school, as it has some world class programs and profs, yet also contains so many blatantly money-grubbing programs...
Out of curiosity, which classes did you take? Were you at another school at Columbia?
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OrpheusInAsia
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hi...i live in NYC and was considering going, so i sat in on a couple international security-related classes...just maybe 3 or 4 times? (i didn't take the classes)...so i might have an inaccurate impression and i'm sure it's possible to have a good experience...the more specific programs (i see you are doing finance/econ there) might be great...

Columbia has such top profs in so many departments (poli sci, art history, the excellent Teachers College), yet also seems rabid to make money through any means possible...they offer all sorts of not-very-focused MA degrees with almost-zero entrance requirements (i'm not talking about SIPA here, but about some of the various humanities MA's) and continuing ed programs for people who simply want a piece of paper that says "Columbia" on it and can open their checkbook...i think when top uni's do that, it really demeans the school...
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WendyLee86
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I think all top universities can be a cash cow in one way or another. They have to get the money from somewhere to pay for those top notch professors and facilities. It's fair to say that all masters degree aren't created equal, even within these top institutions.

I've decided to attend LSE for the first year of MPA since they offered money but will re-apply for SIPA again for year 2 since I would like to pursue the int'l econ and finance policy track.
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cs19911_dp
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Hello,

I registered for a MSc program but would like to switch to MPA? how feasible is that and what needs to be done for that.
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OSCCI
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Where do you think is better? UCL for International Public Policy or Sciences Po for International Public Management?
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beefmaster
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(Original post by OSCCI)
Where do you think is better? UCL for International Public Policy or Sciences Po for International Public Management?
You got an offer from Sciences Po? I am going there in September too.
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PKU_Research007
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The best school for IR among them all is SAIS. Anyone who tells you differently really doesn't understand the IR field. The doors that SAIS can open for you are mind blowing. I have many friends that went to SIPA SAIS (JHU alumni myself woot!) and Georgetown and of all of them the ones at SIPA were the ones that had the hardest time getting jobs after graduation and were heavy in debt. The Yale Jackson Institute is excellent if you want to enter academia but the name Yale will not open the same doors in the IR world that SAIS LSE Maxwell WSFS SIS or Elliot will. Yale does have some impressive figures but the only school I'd suggest you apply outside of DC in the states for IR is Tufts Fletcher. No offense to the person going to UCL but telling a person to go to UCL instead of SAIS is a misinformed decision. For IR out of all your choices your first choice should be SAIS ---> LSE --> Yale --> Science po --> Sipa--> UCL
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beefmaster
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(Original post by PKU_Research007)
The best school for IR among them all is SAIS. Anyone who tells you differently really doesn't understand the IR field. The doors that SAIS can open for you are mind blowing. I have many friends that went to SIPA SAIS (JHU alumni myself woot!) and Georgetown and of all of them the ones at SIPA were the ones that had the hardest time getting jobs after graduation and were heavy in debt. The Yale Jackson Institute is excellent if you want to enter academia but the name Yale will not open the same doors in the IR world that SAIS LSE Maxwell WSFS SIS or Elliot will. Yale does have some impressive figures but the only school I'd suggest you apply outside of DC in the states for IR is Tufts Fletcher. No offense to the person going to UCL but telling a person to go to UCL instead of SAIS is a misinformed decision. For IR out of all your choices your first choice should be SAIS ---> LSE --> Yale --> Science po --> Sipa--> UCL
How much experience of the IR work place do you have? My experience has been very different to what you advise.
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PKU_Research007
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I've worked at brookings in Beijing as well as worked on a project with sipri so I do have experience in the field and SAIS and Georgetown are considered the best of the best by everyone I've worked with.
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drive like june
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(Original post by PKU_Research007)
The best school for IR among them all is SAIS. Anyone who tells you differently really doesn't understand the IR field. The doors that SAIS can open for you are mind blowing. I have many friends that went to SIPA SAIS (JHU alumni myself woot!) and Georgetown and of all of them the ones at SIPA were the ones that had the hardest time getting jobs after graduation and were heavy in debt. The Yale Jackson Institute is excellent if you want to enter academia but the name Yale will not open the same doors in the IR world that SAIS LSE Maxwell WSFS SIS or Elliot will. Yale does have some impressive figures but the only school I'd suggest you apply outside of DC in the states for IR is Tufts Fletcher. No offense to the person going to UCL but telling a person to go to UCL instead of SAIS is a misinformed decision. For IR out of all your choices your first choice should be SAIS ---> LSE --> Yale --> Science po --> Sipa--> UCL
Here's a hint - UCL doesn't offer a formal degree in IR, and at Columbia, the MIA isn't called a master in international relations for a reason.
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PKU_Research007
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And SIPA does not really have good employment record if you want to go into the field.....there is a reason why the "required classes" are nearly all finance courses and the actually IR side is pretty confusing. If you want to do regional studies you don't actually do it at SIPA, you do it at a center such as weatherhead....even the MPA at SIPA is eh eh, for the OP if you were really interested in an MPA in the states I'd suggest you apply to Georgetown KSG Berkeley CMU in Duke JHU MPA right now just lost the directer to Stanford (Damn you Fukayama) so its not the best time to apply to SAIS for an MPA but from what I hear next year they will have a permanent guy again. PS I come from a long line of Columbia graduates and was forced to go to many up many alumni events, when I went to one my senior year and said I want to go into this field the first response I got from all the alum I talked including some SIPA guys because before I was told this I was planning on going to Columbia for my masters was don't go to SIPA go to DC or Tufts. So I'm not randomly bashing SIPA for no reason, I absolutely adore Columbia and was heartbroken to hear that because I was uber in to SIPA before.
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drive like june
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(Original post by PKU_Research007)
And SIPA does not really have good employment record if you want to go into the field.....there is a reason why the "required classes" are nearly all finance courses and the actually IR side is pretty confusing. If you want to do regional studies you don't actually do it at SIPA, you do it at a center such as weatherhead....even the MPA at SIPA is eh eh, for the OP if you were really interested in an MPA in the states I'd suggest you apply to Georgetown KSG Berkeley CMU in Duke JHU MPA right now just lost the directer to Stanford (Damn you Fukayama) so its not the best time to apply to SAIS for an MPA but from what I hear next year they will have a permanent guy again. PS I come from a long line of Columbia graduates and was forced to go to many up many alumni events, when I went to one my senior year and said I want to go into this field the first response I got from all the alum I talked including some SIPA guys because before I was told this I was planning on going to Columbia for my masters was don't go to SIPA go to DC or Tufts. So I'm not randomly bashing SIPA for no reason, I absolutely adore Columbia and was heartbroken to hear that because I was uber in to SIPA before.
SAIS doesn't offer an "MPA". Neither does Georgetown, Berkeley, CMU, or Duke! I suggest you get that right first... Secondly, like I said, most people doing an MPA/MIA at SIPA (which are practically the same) fully understand that it isn't really an IR degree. If some don't, then they're idiots. It may be the closest thing to IR at Columbia, and you can take some IR classes depending on your concentration, but it's not the same. And most required classes aren't in finance, they are in economics and management. Same goes for most decent policy schools - Sanford, HKS, WWS, GSPP, Ford, etc. So it's not surprising that many of them take management or technocratic jobs globally which aren't specifically "IR".
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