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International Relations Masters watch

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    I was recently accepted into manchester for international politics masters, and i think im going to take the ir route). I want to apply to Kings and lse, but am unsure if I would even get in because of my bachelors. I'm from teh U.S. and have a 3.6 something gpa w/ a business degree. I went to a small private school and worked 2 jobs while in college, so that's why my gpa is a little lower than what I could achieve. I can get good references and write an excellent personal statement, but do i stand a chance at being accepted into those schools w/ a business degree and my gpa? Thanks again for the help!!
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    Couldn't hurt to try, but I might recommend a bit more work experience. When I was at LSE for the IR program, most of my friends had around 3-4 years working in an IR-related field. King's would be a safer bet than LSE.

    There are also a number of other programs at LSE which you may want to look at. Shady Lane will sing the praises of Global Politics, and I had a number of friends in History of IR, Theory and History of IR, and International Political Economy (which might possibly be more up your alley). They all sound similar and generally are similar. It's just a question of which department they are in usually. Global Politics is very much influenced by David Held and others, who are interested in the major transnational issues (and is run through the government department, which has a slightly weaker reputation than the IR department). IR has a straighter focus on state-based action, IPE obviously on international markets (IPE is run through the IR dept.). History of IR is run by the History department, and is far less theoretical than the IR degree. Had some really good friends there, none of whom are really doing IR or history right now. :-)

    My question to you would be what do you want to do afterwards? That should probably be a bigger determinant of what you should apply to and your chances of convincing the admissions people to let you in.
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    What is with you and the reputation of IR vs. Government? It's such a weird thing to keep harping on. Global Politics was one of the first MSc courses to close to applications this year, due to extremely high demand. The reputation issue is totally imaginary from what I've seen; it's history, not actually qualitative difference between the departments.

    Sorry americanguy, chengora has a weird ego issue with the IR department, and I think he's making pretty irrelevant comments that I wouldn't want you to use in making a decision. The LSE is the LSE--any course in politics, IR, etc. has a STRONG reputation. I studied at Stanford and I was encouraged to for GP over IR, due to my interests. If the reputation was so weak then I doubt that would have been the case.
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    IR or Global politics, what's the major difference?
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    Global Politics is an interdisplinary course, based in the Government Department but officially co-sponsored by the IR Department and the Development Studies Institute. The focus is in globalization, and students can choose a focus. I focus on political economy, but other people do migration, conflict, international organizations...you get the picture.

    I chose GP because it allowed me to combine modules from three different departments into a self-designed area of interest, which wasn't available at in any other course that I saw. IR is traditional IR pretty much--I did that at undergrad and wanted to move into something a little more unique.

    The reason I get annoying about the "reputation" thing is that it's just rubbish the IR students tell themselves to feel superior. In our core course, we had lecturers from the IR department coming in pretty much every week: Chris Brown, Michael Cox, Barry Buzan, Andrew Walter, for starters, and one of the course convenors is actually a staff member in both the IR and the Government Departments. It's not even close to true.
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    http://www.lse.ac.uk/Depts/intrel/MScDegrees.htm
    Note how it's listed as an MSc course in the IR department.
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    i have a friend that got their masters in ir from lse and one that's getting their undergrad in ir @ Stanford, so i've had many discussions with them about the subject. I think w/ an LSE degree, whether in comparitive politics, IR, or something similiar, I wouldn't get turned down for most jobs..... I could be wrong though, so any help is useful... I'm not exactly sure what I want to do after i get my masters but I think it will be something with helping disadvantaged people, such as tsunami or genocide victims. Have worked w/ disadvantaged people thoughout h.s. and college and really like giving back. I even looked at history of I.R. since it seems to have a higher acceptance rate I would stand a better chance at getting in there..... I really do appreciate all the help and advice.... Thanks!!
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    Your best bet, as I always try to say, is to take a look at the actual modules that you would want to take. Several of the MSc programs at LSE sound very similar and many are very fascinating. I, personally, when I was applying, considered at least five programs: Economics History, Global History, IR history, Global Politics, and straight IR but I chose IR history because that was what I wanted to study the most and had the courses I wanted to take the most.

    I'm not too much of a fan of the traditional IR approach and I'm much more of a historian than anything else, so I chose IR history because it seemed that it didn't use much theory and offered courses on exactly what I wanted to study. You just have to take a close look at the prospectus.
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    (Original post by americanguy)
    i have a friend that got their masters in ir from lse and one that's getting their undergrad in ir @ Stanford, so i've had many discussions with them about the subject. I think w/ an LSE degree, whether in comparitive politics, IR, or something similiar, I wouldn't get turned down for most jobs..... I could be wrong though, so any help is useful... I'm not exactly sure what I want to do after i get my masters but I think it will be something with helping disadvantaged people, such as tsunami or genocide victims. Have worked w/ disadvantaged people thoughout h.s. and college and really like giving back. I even looked at history of I.R. since it seems to have a higher acceptance rate I would stand a better chance at getting in there..... I really do appreciate all the help and advice.... Thanks!!
    Why not take a look at Development Studies as well?
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    i just briefly looked at that on the website and it looks interesting, i'll have to look at it a little more.... but my main concern is that with the acceptance rate being so low i will not stand as strong of a chance at getting in. I'm not exactly sure, but do extracurriculars and work experience play as big as role at getting accepted in england as they do in the states? If so, I have a little more experience, and have read more books, articles etc. that might give me somewhat of an advantage....as i type this that program does sound more and more enticing, i'm just worried at the really low acceptance rate....thanks for the advice on that though.
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    Is it true that MSc IR has a (much) lower acceptance rate than MSc Global Politics, Theory and History of IR, Development studies? Just want to know more... No offence intended. Thanks!
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    I'd imagine it's lower than GP and History of IR because LSE is famous for IR. But Development Studies is really competitive, at least as much so as IR.

    However, I wouldn't judge the quality of a course or its students on the acceptance rate. It's LSE...you need to have strong grades and good recommendations to get in. On my course, there are former World Bank employees, someone who has published academic work already (his chapter was assigned in the course!), people working for various world governments, etc. My only problem with GP is that, because it is more open to what people studied as their first degree, some concepts can be a bit annoying for those of us that have a solid background in these things already. Personally I found it annoying how much people complained about the political economy portion (which is about 1/3 of the core course). How on Earth do you want to study globalization and not want to understand economics and markets? (rant over).
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    That's funny, Shady. Because from what I can tell, you get awfully prickly about Global Politics (even on the smallest thing), as well as a whole lot of other subjects. And for whatever reason, you take these things as a personal offense, and you lash out in an unconsidered, personal manner.

    Look, I've been out of LSE for several years now. I'm applying for a Ph.D. in poli sci in the best programs in the U.S., I've worked in top jobs in top companies in foreign policy, and I've published several papers while working. I won two awards for my dissertation, and I was the student-staff rep my year and played a critical role in fundamentally revamping three IR courses. I regularly advise and talk with people about LSE, especially in comparison to other MA schools, because I hire from that pool.

    So, when I say that the IR department has a slightly better reputation than the Government department, I mean exactly what I say, based on a pretty wide range of discussion with lots of people - in both the academic and professional worlds. This has nothing to do with a personality tick, which you seem to reach for as an argument far too often when you disagree with someone on this board. I deeply respect the Government department. But outside of LSE, the difference in reputation is the reality of it, particularly for Ph.D. programs, and it does no good to give people advice about their educational decisions without some perspective. Nor to jump down peoples' throats without careful consideration of their views.

    For your question about jobs, Americanguy, it's not that you would be turned down for a job because of your degree. But when applying for something in, say, a DC-based development firm, they tend to use the most marginal criteria cull through the (literally) hundreds or thousands of applications they get for each position. But, by far more important than any of this is your enjoyment of program and how free you are to pursue your interests or (more importantly) incorporate your studies into what you are interested in. Which is why I was discussing the different foci of the programs, as their overall approach affects how engaging you find the coursework.

    And, to answer the latest question, yes, the IR degree typically has a lower acceptance/matriculation rate. In my year, it was around 4%, which was by far the lowest of any govt, IR, dev. master's program. On development studies, my friends who did the program did not have a good time with the classes, but perhaps surprisingly, more of them are doing development work than are comparative people doing government work, say. Or the History of IR people unfortunately. But that's not an indication of where you will end up. As I said, you should consider the different approaches and how they relate to what you are interested in. And Phoenix has the right of it in that you should take a close look at the courses on offer in each program.

    The extracurriculars don't matter quite as much, and I would actually say that work experience is weighted less, as a general rule, in the UK. But, that's not to say that work experience doesn't help. Particularly for your circumstances, it can help in rounding out the "narrative" of what you want to do, and perhaps provide some perspective or thoughts to consider when you apply. So, in short, it helps, but it all depends on the admissions people.
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    By the way, for those trying to play the acceptance rate game: you get two choices on the application. If you put IR first and don't get it, you could get your second choice of History of IR.

    Just a final comment on the competitiveness/reputation issue: a friend of mine started in Comparative Politics, but realized in the first week of the term that it wasn't for him. He asked to switch into Global Politics, and was refused because the course was already full. So...they asked him to switch into IR :p:
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    OK, one more thing. From the graduate prospectus on IR:
    Intake/applications in 2005: 134/1,313

    If 10% of applicants started the course, then it is impossible that there was a 4% acceptance/matriculation rate.
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    Unless, of course, I didn't go that year. :-) The data for 2002, 2003, and 2004 was much different, and the IR department has been good about culling down to 85 students per year. As for your other post, you're talking about the first week transfers. Entirely different, and people shouldn't be misled by it. That's based on the number of people who physically register for the course, and has very little to do with acceptance rates. It has much to do with matriculation rates, but that's a different question. We happened to have two spots open my year, but that was because someone had family issues that she had to attend to. And for anyone who's still reading, it's obviously not guaranteed that that will be the case if you aplpy and go. A friend of mine who did the IR program two years prior did not have any spots open.

    If you want to make your points, fine, but you're really hung up about the reputation of your course. I have plenty of friends from many of the programs that we've discussed, and I've never seen this level of defensiveness come up. They are happy with their course and their choice, and not envious or prickly about other peoples' choices, and that's great. They are aware of the reputation issue, and the fact that it's just crap, but they don't see the need to constantly tout the merits of their own program in compensation. Far more important is some consideration of how the program fits into your overall career or academic plans and making a strategic decision from that vantage point.
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    I only brought it up because YOU keep bringing it up. Feel free to read through my other posts on the subject. I only respond to you. I have no issues with my course for the following reasons:

    1. My undergraduate degree carries a stronger reputation than most LSE courses do.
    2. I have an incredible job lined up that I got one month after starting at LSE, so I got to take the classes I want and enjoy my year
    3. I don't want to do a PhD

    I love GP, and you seem to have a problem with me loving it. I already studied IR, I wanted to do something different, and I'm totally happy with my choice. GP is a better step towards the private sector due to it being 1/3 political economy. Which is exactly what I wanted out of my MSc.

    I'm glad you enjoyed IR, and I hope the fact that you think its reputation is higher keeps you warm at night. As for everyone else, please choose the course that is best for you, end of.
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    Perhaps this is a discussion for private messages, but in most of the discussions I see you on, you're getting into an argument with someone, either about the reputation of your program or some other point. It's a pattern of behavior with you, but you keep thinking it's only because other people bring up or harp on objectionable points. You are prickly about your program and what you see as slights to it. You're not responding to me: you're picking a fight over something that pisses you off, and it's not the first time that's happened.

    I have no problem with you loving your program. In fact, I'm very happy that you love it so much. But, you seem to want to belittle other programs or constantly assert that your program is on par with others. No one's saying that it objectively is not. GP has great professors. But you don't help anyone by saying that the government department's reputation is as strong as the IR department when it may not be so. Which is why I specifically asked the question about what people want to do afterwards. If you don't want to do a Ph.D., fine. It's not for everyone. But some people do, and it would help them to know the wider academic perception of the department, and of course, where it fits into larger considerations of career, happiness, etc. THAT's what I object to, that your view is so myopic that you lash out against anyone who comes at things from a different perspective. You're not the sole authority on LSE's programs, and you seem to have a critical lack of objective analysis when it comes to your own programs strengths and weaknesses. This is not a competition: it's a forum to provide people with good advice about their decisions.

    And if you'll notice, throughout all my posts, the reputation of a university is not my main concern. That's something you - for a bizarre reason - keep reading into my thoughts. I could care less about reputation, but I'm not blind to the fact that other people DO care, and that's important in certain decisions.
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    Well, hon, I don't know what threads you're reading, but I don't talk about GP much in general because not that many people inquire about it in TSR.

    As for the rest, I never said IR = Government in terms of reputation. I read over what I wrote. I said that while the Government department might have "less" of a reputation, GP is practically an IR course and you can have the exact same professors and course options as an IR student with the exception of the core course.

    And no, I don't want to do a PhD, but one of my classmates is starting one at Princeton this fall, so I can't imagine it's that big of a hindrance.

    I'm not an authority, but I think the choice of an MSc course should not be done by attempting to measure the reputation of a department at an incredible university in relation to other departments in the same place, nor should it be done on applications/matriculation ratios (which have gone up significantly since you studied there apparently anyway). It should be on interest and interest alone.

    The OP doesn't know much about politics/IR (he has a business degree), and you are being misleading. The LSE has about a million MSc courses, and so many of them overlap that the idea that one course has a significantly better career/PhD placement than another is frankly ludicrous. I don't want people to be misled by you. I've never stated that GP is the best course; it's not. But it is the best course for many people, who might be pressured into choosing IR instead because of comments like yours. I have several friends in IR now who told me they'd have preferred my course. I want people to make informed decisions; reputation is easily not measurable, not in the way you keep defining it anyway.
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    I'm not going to go through your posts unless you really want me to. You know the comments you've made, you know the arguments you always seem to be getting into, and you know the warnings you've gotten on the board.

    You should also pay more attention to what I wrote if you want to have an effective response. Reputation was a small point I made amidst much larger considerations of how a course fits with someone's interests. My original post was all about how things overlap, for example, and it's been my MO that there are a lot of things to consider when deciding to do a Master's. It's a lot of money, but it comes down to enjoyment and a personal choice. We're saying the same thing, but you seem so hung up on the reputation thing that you're overlooking everything else I've said. THAT's the issue here.

    And you saying:

    I want people to make informed decisions; reputation is easily not measurable, not in the way you keep defining it anyway.
    is ludicrous. How can you offer people an informed decision if you're saying that no one cares about reputation? My point is that the sentiment is out there, but it's necessarily not a controlling factor in business, jobs, or academia. It's just something to be aware of. It has nothing to do with an individual's experience at school. You would prefer to write away the entire issue. That's hardly fair in terms of giving people good advice. The situation may suck, the situation is not fair, but the situation is there. And no amount of your protests is going to make that go away.

    I completely agree that there are intelligent people all over the LSE. I completely agree that reputation isn't the sole decision-making factor for employers. But I won't blind other people by saying that they shouldn't think about the issue. That's just irresponsible.
 
 
 

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