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MA in Politcal Science v. M Public Policy
November 24, 2009 4:29 AM   Subscribe

¿Master in Political Science or Master in Public Policy?

I'm an Spaniard that wants to study a Master in the US next year. After a lot of research my final list of universities I'm applying, is this one:
1.Georgetown
2. U. of Chicago
3. Columbia
4. NYU
5. GWU
6. Northeastern
7. American University
8. Loyola University of Chicago

My question is: ¿Master in Political Science or Master in Public Policy?

Most of this universities has both Masters programs and mainly I know the differences between them, but maybe you can give me more information so i can make my decision with more criterion.
In thinking in applying one program or the other, depending in which university.
Maybe you know someone who took some of this masters...
As you can see the cities and departaments I'm interested are Chicago, Washington DC, NYC and Boston. Do you think this are the most interesting universities in this cities to apply for? (for an MA because others have only PhD).

Thanks in advance,
posted by brakiwi to Education (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
What aspect of politics are you interested in?
posted by quodlibet at 4:55 AM on November 24, 2009


Are you interested in US politics? If so I'd say GWU or Georgetown.

If you are interested in international politics I'd say either schools in NYC (because of the UN, all the consulates) or schools in DC (because of all the embassies).
posted by dfriedman at 5:39 AM on November 24, 2009


I don't have any recommendations, but I'll just point out, just so you know, that in the U.S., at least, public policy is generally considered a professional program, while political science is an academic program. So: If you want to write or teach, you'd probably go with a political science degree, while if you wanted to work in politics, you'd get a public policy degree.
posted by General Malaise at 6:04 AM on November 24, 2009 [4 favorites]



I don't have any recommendations, but I'll just point out, just so you know, that in the U.S., at least, public policy is generally considered a professional program, while political science is an academic program. So: If you want to write or teach, you'd probably go with a political science degree, while if you wanted to work in politics, you'd get a public policy degree.


This.

In these parts, policy folks are tight with the urban planners, public health, education, law, etc. They tend to be biased towards activism and actually getting out and making stuff happen. There are a ton of them in non-profits and local government and whatnot. Political science is way, way more ivory tower oriented. I almost never meet a political science person in my professional life as a planner, while policy people are _everywhere_.

If you want a master's degree, policy is probably the better choice. If you want to stick it out for a PhD, either is fine.

I'd also look at what else is big at the schools you've mentioned. ie, if you're interested in health care issues, go somewhere with a good public health school to leverage some of that. You may very well want to tack on an extra year and grab a second master's while you're there.
posted by paanta at 6:41 AM on November 24, 2009


I don't have any recommendations, but I'll just point out, just so you know, that in the U.S., at least, public policy is generally considered a professional program, while political science is an academic program. So: If you want to write or teach, you'd probably go with a political science degree, while if you wanted to work in politics, you'd get a public policy degree.

Thirding, and adding: When I was looking at dual degrees while I was in law school, I was informed by various sources that a Policy Degree - while nice, and useful - is not the most powerful degree that you can get. Everyone I spoke to said, "You've got policy via your JD. You want something else. Getting an MA in Policy would be redundant. Go get an MBA, because the budgetary aspect of policy is so vital, and also almost completely overlooked."

That said, what do you want to do and where do you want to do it? That information would be more helpful to us in answering this question.
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:47 AM on November 24, 2009


Thanks for your time :).

Within Political Science I'm more interest in Comparative Politics, I'm also interest in political theory but my BA was 5 years degree and I don’t feel that many possibilities to applicant that in a future job. So definitely Comparative politics is the option, or maybe some economical approach to political science, some departments offer that.
Because by the end of my Master I would be able to have a broad and global perception, i would know about us politics and how the political science is understand in USA, Europe and particularly in Spain, been an expert in a field and been and advisor could be an option, but there are many options. It think that along i do my master i would know what im most interest on.
About US politics I would like to take some course/module, I have some knowledge because I studied US history in my faculty, but im not interested in taking it as the specialization.

General Malaise. I'm no interested in working in the academic field but some of the courses are very interesting and I know i wont find them in a MPP. And one option would be to be a political analyst and probably for that the best option is a MA in Pol Sci, don’t you think?

Pantaa, policy making is something im also interested in. New development, technologies and politics, the relation of science research and its impact in politics. Improving the transparency in the administration, improving the democratisation in political parties, etc.. this would be more in the political consultant. Other option i also like.

Somehow im more interested in politics as a science than politics as an activity, but i know that the second one make the difference and give the chance about making an impact. And that is what probably seduce me more.

Greekphilosophy, a teacher from California University, also recommend me to focus more in economical issues, but i already took some economics courses in my BA and I like it but its not my passion. Actually, the admissions for MBA are very competitive and my general profile is good, my gpa is not very high. A I can read, MPP is for you the best option between the two i mention.

PD: I did my BA in Political Science and the fifth year i did the specialization in policy analysis (the other options were, Latin-American studies, European studies and public administration)

(sory for my English, I dont have time to revise the text)
posted by brakiwi at 8:35 AM on November 24, 2009


It sounds to me like you don't have a very clear idea of what you want to accomplish professionally, and therefore I would counsel against applying for either program until you have determined what you want to achieve with such a degree.
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:04 AM on November 25, 2009


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