I have a full ride MPA offer (2 years) from Harvard/Columbia/Princeton. I have 6 years development finance experience with a Masters in Science/Health Policy (LSE) and a Diploma in Law (non-target and diploma largely unknown outside law). Wish to enter an international organization (e.g. UN) in a gov/policy role alongside getting more involved in politics.

Welcome your thoughts on:

  • the MPA offer with respect to my goals (loss of salary but full ride);

  • continue working and network (I am scheduled for promotion) and then apply for a 1 year LLM at the stated unis (strong policy element, 1 year, however risk of non-admittance/scholarship).


All 3 schools offer information regarding the employment of their MPA graduates. You should carefully consider those, along with the published job openings at the UN, for example, to ensure there is a match between the qualifications required and your degree plan.
Your nationality greatly affects your eligibility for jobs at the UN.

I am confused on why you need any type of graduate degree to do what you want to do. Your experience in international finance combined with a one year masters in law should be enough to get you where you want to go, given networking and of course, the luck factor. I guess getting a graduate degree may help a bit with the connections and luck but it’s not going to guarantee you anything that you can’t get without it.

Why is this thread titled Harvard/Columbia/Princeton? What does that have to do with the question being asked?

My DD is also interested in working for an international org and learned that it’s all about networking and access to the hiring decision makers to get past the screening. She has had 2 internships in the field so far and both were through professors with those connections. She did not have any luck on her own despite an impressive resume. Can you do that without another degree?

Not clear why you need an MPA on top of your existing MA - you can get into the international orgs with what you have. The main thing you would get is more contacts / networking opps. Most of this year’s crop of MPAs at one of your 3 did not already have grad degrees, or had them in very different fields.

Are you young enough for the UN YPP program?

P’ton does not have a law school, so does not offer a LLM.

Harvard Law does provide financial aid to its LLM students, but it is based on financial need.

Columbia also provides aid $ to LLM students but its only a partial amount.