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    Hi everyone!

    I'm having difficulties choosing between LSE, Sciences Po PSIA and Johns Hopkins SAIS for my masters degree.

    I have received an offer from LSE, for the MSc International Relations. Waiting for response from the other two. I've applied to the International Public Management programme at PSIA and the MA (International Development concentration) at SAIS.

    My background: two bachelor's degrees in Comparative Politics and Journalism. Professional experience from international development/foreign service, politics and news media. Not entirely sure what I want to do in the future, but interested in a professional career in development and foreign policy.

    I guess LSE is the uni with the best reputation in Europe, and I would be done in one year, but I'm worried the degree is too "narrow" for my interests (no economics, no development classes) and perhaps too theoretical. I'd love to learn French and the courses at PSIA looks great, but I've met several alumni who were not satisfied with the school (large classes, quality of teaching etc). SAIS would give me the economics and development classes I want, but it's terribly expensive and not too well known outside of the US?

    Does anyone have experiences from any of these schools? Pros and cons? Grateful for all help!

    LSE: I concur that the 1 yr format and indepth modules provide a focus with pros and cons. If you know precisely your academic interests and LSE offers a match, LSE works for you. You need to have a clear idea for your dissertation topic in Oct and discuss it with your supervisor. Students were told by IR teaching assistants in welcome briefing. On the other hand, if you need time to explore interests and summer internship, then SAIS or SP are better fits. LSE tends to be theoretical and is a good feeder for PhD programmes. Some well known IR profs teach at LSE. LinkedIn shows that many grads work for government, NGO and IOs. Prior work experience is not required and the class profile is on the younger side as most don't have seasoning.

    Sciences Po: 2 yr, regional and thematic concentration, syllabus has more general studies (fundamentals, French classes and development). It does not go in depth and many lecturers are adjuncts rather full time academics. Larger classes and diff to register for your chosen classes. Students' reviews on teaching of classes vary from good to poor. It does not respond to students' needs and bureaucratic admin. Some complaints about its career services for non French students. Poor facilities as library is overcrowded and difficult to find a seat, insufficient books stock and iffy online journal subscription.

    SAIS: I think SAIS is known in Europe among academics and policy makers due to its publication and events with panels. Some famous profs teach at SAIS and academics had experience as adviser or cabinet members at various administrations. MA IDEV is the most known and selective concentration, SAIS has more analytical rigour and economic analysis. The curriculum covers stats, econ and policy analysis. Small classes go indepth and heavy emphasis on policy making. Good balance btw theory and practice. SAIS would offer a more US perspective in foreign policy. Excellent guest speaker series for DC campus, networking and internships. I like that SAIS students have more seasoning. IR people comment that SAIS is establishment and support the DC consensus. A different IR school with more left-liberal leaning would be Fletcher MALD. Interestingly, 42% of SAIS class join the private sector as the Econ Analysis is transferable skill for private sector too. Some critics think this is partly due to the debt burden of grads who need a well paid job. Cost for tuition & living at $100,000 is a huge factor. one either needs a $$$ scholarship or independent wealth. By all means, LSE is not cheap either.

    Good luck

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