I was looking at Harvard, but they don't offer a masters course.
Would it be possible to apply for a PhD (where apprently it's a lot easier to get funding) and then drop it after one year to a masters conversion course?
Where else is good in the US for International Relations.
Which scholarships are available? I'm looking at the Frank Knox and Fullbright scholarships.
Cheers in advance
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- Thread Starter
- 10-10-2006 04:21
- 12-10-2006 05:10
You cannot drop out of a PhD program after one year in the US and "convert to a masters". What you may be referring to is the following. Under the US system, the first two years of a PhD program are usually taken up with "coursework", i.e. you attend graduate level classes and seminars. After this two year period, you sit comprehensive examinations. If you pass these exams and defend a thesis proposal, your department will "advance you to candidacy", meaning you can proceed to write up a dissertation (which usually takes three more years, though it can be longer depending on your topic).
Now, in lots of cases, American universities grant an MA "in passing" to a PhD candidate who has fulfilled all the requirements of that initial two-year coursework phase (taken classes, passed the comprehensive exams and foreign language aptitude tests etc). Thus, if you drop out during the later stages of the dissertation writing phase (for whatever reason, lack of money, life circumstances, career change etc), technically you do still have an MA.
But you should never enter a PhD program with the intention of dropping out. Putting aside the difficulty involved in actually gaining admission to such a program (it is very, very, very difficult to get into the top political science PhD programs in the US), it would be a waste of your time and theirs. The academic and intellectual requirements and expectations of masters and PhD candidates differ immensely. The primary purpose of the coursework phase for a PhD candidate is to furnish him or her with ideas for a doctoral thesis, and to equip him or her with the methodological skills necessary in order to carry out that research. A masters candidate would, with some exceptions, most likely find such training superfluous. If what you are really asking is, could you just lie about your intentions and begin a PhD program, only to disappear after 2 years with a masters in hand, well I suppose that's possible in theory. But (a) it's dishonest; and (b) even if you succeeded in doing so, it seems rather foolish.
Instead, you'd probably do well to concentrate on applying to the remaining terminal masters programs in IR (some US universities are phasing out MA programs, others seem to be expanding them). They are usually easier to gain admission to than full PhD programs and you'll often be able to take classes alongside regular IR PhD candidates anyway. The downside is that they also tend not to give financial assistance to students, whereas PhD programs do.
You may want to have a look at the following programs. Yale has an MA in international relations. At Georgetown University, the department of government offers MAs in international law and politics and conflict resolution, while the school of foreign service offers a master's in (unsurprisingly) foreign service (don't let the name put you off, whilst that program is notoriously a training ground for US diplomats, there are plenty of international students on it, and it really is rather good). Look also at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Study (SAIS), the Fletcher School at Tufts University, the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. These are all highly regarded, terminal masters programs in IR. Note also that american MAs in IR tend to be professional in orientation (though, from what I hear, the Yale program is relatively "academic" in focus as compared with the others).
- 12-10-2006 22:47
Not exactly International Relations, but the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard offers a couple of public policy/analysis masters programs.
- 13-10-2006 02:15
SIPA at Columbia University has a master's program.