The BEST Political Science/International affairs

<p>If you're at all interested in LACs you should check out Bowdoin College.</p>

<p>Great poli sci department.</p>

<p>"Johns Hopkins ranked dead last at #20 for undergraduate IR?"</p>

<p>On the contrary, it ranked in the top 20.</p>

<p>"It does seem strange that several of the top programs listed, such as Columbia, Harvard, Berkeley, just to name a few for undergrad, don't even have IR/International Studies majors, doesn't it?"</p>

<p>It isn't in the least bit strange. You keep on talking about top programs, but that's not what they were ranking. (But, as you have been shown on multiple occasions, Berkeley, for example, does indeed have an IR concentration within its political science department, and that is not at all uncommon.) At Columbia, professors such as Jeffrey Sachs and others from the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs offer a wide range of IR-related courses. The government "concentration" at Harvard offers the same opportunities (the major difference with most IR programs being that it doesn't require a language - which I think is a mistake.)</p>

<p>"graduate-level professors have little or no knowledge about."</p>

<p>Graduate level professors would know more about undergraduate "preparation" (which is what the survey asked) than they would about other graduate schools. That is because they both admit students from various schools, and actually teach them.</p>

<p>
[quote]
"graduate-level professors have little or no knowledge about."

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I've never heard of a college or university that has a separate "graduate-level" faculty in the arts and sciences. In an area like international relations---whether as part of a political science department or as a stand-alone IR program---faculty in this area would normally teach both graduate courses and undergraduate courses, and at the better schools advanced undergrads would take many of the same courses as grad students and be treated as their peers.</p>

<p>
[quote]
To be more exact, they asked a majority of foreign policy academics across the country which schools prepared their students best for a career in international relations (NOT which is the best program).

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I'm confused about this. On the web page linked from post #5, the caption above the 3rd table is "Top Undergraduate Programs". In the complete survey results (cited in a footnote at the bottom of that linked web page), Q56 of the 2009 results is:
"What are the 5 best colleges or universities in [country X] for undergraduate students to study IR?"</p>

<p>Is this not the form of the question that went out to participants in the current survey year (the one that generated the rankings we're discussing)? </p>

<p>If it is the exact question that went out, perhaps many participants thought they were evaluating the quality of the undergraduate experience as a whole for IR students. Hopkins is virtually tied for 13th in the table; this is about equal to its overall USNWR ranking, right? </p>

<p>I wouldn't be too surprised if many participants simply turned in 5 schools from the top of the USNWR list, with a substitution here and there reflecting personal experiences. Not because they are uninformed or uncooperative, but because the question is too hard to answer by judging from personal experiences alone.</p>

<p>Indeed, that appears to be the case. It explains why HYPS are all ahead of Georgetown.</p>

<p>Here is a Johns Hopkins IR Professor on this matter:</p>

<p>
[quote]

The undergraduate International Studies program at Hopkins is the 19th <a href="dead%20last,%20w%20t%20f">B</a>** best in the country, according to a study published in the influential Foreign Policy magazine's March/April issue. </p>

<p>It was the first time that Foreign Policy has ranked undergraduate international relations (IR) programs.The study, conducted by faculty at the College of William & Mary, polled nearly 1,200 international-relations scholars and professors across the United States, comprising over 41 percent of the field. </p>

<p>The respondents were asked which five undergraduate programs they considered to be the best. In a listing of the top 20 undergraduate programs, </p>

<p>While it is commonplace to attack studies that don't place a program in a positive light, in this case the study warrants an explanation, he said. "I participated in the survey myself, and the undergraduate program question was only one of a much broader 50-question survey. Considering that some of the schools ranked above us in the study don't even have specific International Relations programs, I don't think many of those surveyed had a good sense of the best programs. Most knew the graduate schools better," David said.</p>

<p><a href="http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:HQBa8wVPmW8J:www.jhunewsletter.com/news/2007/03/29/News/Ir.Program.Ranked.19th.In.Nation-2813781.shtml+The+undergraduate+International+Studies+program+at+Hopkins+is+the+19th+best+in+the+country&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:HQBa8wVPmW8J:www.jhunewsletter.com/news/2007/03/29/News/Ir.Program.Ranked.19th.In.Nation-2813781.shtml+The+undergraduate+International+Studies+program+at+Hopkins+is+the+19th+best+in+the+country&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&lt;/a>

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I am not sure how Michigan could be ranked 12th in International Relations when the university does not have such a department and does not offer such a major!</p>

<p>Same goes for Harvard, Columbia, UC Berkeley, Yale, Dartmouth, UMichigan, Swarthmore, UCSD, Cornell, Williams, Duke. They each do not offer IR BA/BS degrees and not have a dedicated IR faculty or staff, not do they have IR departments.</p>

<p>^</p>

<p>May have been ranked by their graduate program.</p>

<p>I don't know why either Phead128. It could be perhaps because Michigan has a top 5 political science department.</p>

<p>Also, any ranking that doesn't have Georgetown SFS as the undisputed #1 IR undergrad school.... is worthless trash.</p>

<p>
[quote]
The undergraduate International Studies program at Hopkins is the 19th (dead last, w t f) best in the country

[/quote]

Hopkins actually placed 17th, with UCSD and Brown coming in behind. Not bad, considering that other good IR colleges (i.e. GWU) didn't place at all.</p>

<p>If you look at the percentages, you'd see that there's not a great deal of difference between Tufts (#10) and Brown (#19). It seems fairly clear that Hopkins is not considered a top 10 undergraduate program, but it's rather less clear exactly where it falls outside the top 10.</p>

<p>

Phead, I can practically hear mini banging his head against the wall in frustration. Once again -- the "ranking" measures school success, not program quality.</p>

<p>A program can be extremely strong but not very successful in placing graduates. In my field, Brown has quite a strong program but an absolutely pitiful track record at placing graduates into jobs. Chicago, on the other hand, has a smaller program but has produced 48% of all tenured professors in the field. Which program would you consider better?</p>

<p>Hopkins has a well-deserved reputation for having a strong IR program. It has good students and great placement, which nobody will deny. What the list suggests, however, is simply that a few other universities are better at placing students into IR positions. Let's face it -- aside from IR rankings on USNWR, what do you or any of us really know about the success of IR prospectives at most of these universities? </p>

<p>I'm sure IR at Hopkins has a long list of successful placements, but I'm equally sure other schools can match or even surpass that list. Penn's list, for example, compares extremely favorably to JHU's.</p>

<p><a href="http://www.jhu.edu/careers/students/explore/majors/international.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.jhu.edu/careers/students/explore/majors/international.html&lt;/a>
<a href="http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/college/majors/intr.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/college/majors/intr.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Survey question asked about program quality, not success placement.</p>

<p>


</p>

<p>It did not ask about which schools best prepared them for an IR career as Mini asserted. It asked them to name the top five 5 best schools to study IR (I'm assuming they are asking academics who are supposely qualified to answer this question to answer it and answer it correctly) and tallied them up based on the response percentages (program quality; Graduate level Scholars and Professors probably did not know that Georgetown SFS steals tons of ppl from Harvard and other Ivies every year and GTown SFS is arguably the best undergraduate IR school period located in the best possible place for IR period.)</p>

<p>It's unfortunate that Harvard's Government major (#1 or 21%) or Political science major with subtrack in IR can full out rival a full blown and mature undergraduate IR department such as the one at Tufts in a ranking assessing quality IR programs.</p>

<p>IMHO, Georgetown SFS (#5 or 12%), Princeton WWS (rightfully so because admission in so strenuous and highly competitive to get into the program) and Tufts (#10 with 3%) (with Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Oldest Graduate of IR in the nation located on the undergraduate campus) should be given more weight.</p>

<p>Even AU and GWU (both located within the mecca of the IR world, Washington D.C. are not even listed within the top 20?) The internship opportunities located within D.C. is possibly endless.... It's a disservice to give more weight to Columbia, Yale, or Stanford just because they are USNews top 5 because only Stanford offers an IR program and they aren't even located in Washington D.C....like Gtown, AU, GWU, etc...</p>

<p>PS. Honestly, I'm not the only person on this board that believes this ranking is flawed. Research the links that I provided to you that goes back to 2006. Many CC forum members believes that list is highly flawed and is trash... Half the programs on the list do not offer IR programs, Graduate school scholars have no clue what going on at the undergraduate level, It was merely 1 question out of a broader 50 question survey. It asked the top 5 best IR programs (respondents replied back with schools that did not have IR/IS degree conferring programs)</p>

<p>Terrible list for a person interested in IR as a major to find out that UC Berkeley or Columbia doesn't even have such a major to begin with.</p>

<p>Tufts, Georgetown SFS, George Washington, American U, Johns Hopkins, Macalester, Middlebury, Claremont McKenna, Princeton WWS, Stanford, William & Mary are among the best schools for IR...</p>

<p>to actually ANSWER the OP's question:</p>

<p>International Relations:
1) Penn
2) Columbia
3) Brown</p>

<p>Political Science:
1) Columbia
2) Brown/Penn</p>

<p>Don't forget Ohio State. Amazing political science program. I'm not even in it and I've still met a candidate for governor and a senator while I was on campus last year.
LSE (I think) ranked OSU as 4th in the world for political science.</p>

<p>In conducting a survey, the wording of the question matters. It matters a lot.
The following are not necessarily trivial variations of the same question:</p>

<ol>
<li>What are the 5 best colleges or universities in [country X] for undergraduate students to study IR?</li>
<li>What are the 5 best colleges or universities in [country X] for undergraduate students?</li>
<li>What are the 5 best colleges or universities in [country X] for undergraduate students to prepare for careers in IR?</li>
<li>What 5 colleges or universities in [country X] have the best undergraduate IR [programs/departments]?</li>
</ol>

<p>Number 1 apparently was the question asked in the survey. In my judgment, #1 is more similar to #2 than to #4. Therefore, a reasonable answer might include Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford (the USNWR top 4). </p>

<p>So what's #5? The USNWR #5 is MIT. Although MIT has some superb liberal arts departments, many respondents are likely to skip over it as a "technical school" (whether it offers good IR courses or not). Once they do that, some of them are likely to pick the first school they think of that they associate with "IR". So, how about Georgetown?
Or, you work down the USNWR list until you come to the next highest-ranking school you associate with IR (or government ... or something). Columbia? Chicago? Or you go for geographic diversity and throw in the highest-ranking southern school (Duke!) Or, toss in one or two public universities. (Berkeley! No, Michigan!) Or you ask, what are the top USNWR-ranked LACs? ( Williams! Swarthmore!)</p>

<p>I think the resulting list strikes many people as odd, because the question used to generate it was not well focused (if the intent was to distinguish excellent schools for the study of this field, not just replicate the USNWR top-N with some minor jiggerings). A small change to the wording of the question can elicit very different responses, even if the participants are informed and cooperative. </p>

<p>So, what question do we really want to ask?</p>

<p>

Or simply because it shakes their preconceptions.</p>

<p>I suppose it's possible that highly informed IR professionals, without being influenced at all by the USNWR halo effects, systematically determined that Williams and Swarthmore are marginally better schools for undergraduates to study IR than Hopkins. And maybe that's the truth. I'm not in this field so I don't really have a dog in the fight. </p>

<p>But, applying Occam's Razor, it seems simpler to conclude that the USNWR rankings (or related whole-school reputations) influenced the participants more, in many cases, than detailed knowledge of undergraduate IR preparation. Not that I have a problem with telling applicants, "Choose by the school, not by the department". As long as we're clear about what this ranking means. It looks to me like an undergraduate IR program ranking interleaved with a holistic college ranking. A good survey should have teased the two apart.</p>

<p>Geez, mini how many times have you posted that list? I've seen it so many times on a lot of threads, and time and time again it has been discredited. I think Phead has the upperhand on this one honestly. JHU dead last? Come on now, it's common sense that the list is screwy!</p>

<p>I didn't read all the pages so I'm not sure if this was already said. But at columbia you would major in political science and everyone declares a concentration of four choices. One of the choices is international relations.</p>

<p>^that is a different animal, but the confusion is understandable. Technically, international relations is one of the four subfields of political science at American universities (the others being comparative politics, political theory and American politics). I believe what the OP was inquiring about is quite different--that is the interdisciplinary study of international relations, international economics, language and area studies. These programs are designed to prepare students for graduate studies or for careers in government, international businesses, ngo's, and the like and go by various names--including international studies, foreign affairs, foreign service, international service, global studies, etc. For some reason, some of these programs are also called international relations (and often referred to by students as "IR" programs) although it is a misnomer since IR is just one of the subjects included.</p>

<p>Technically, only graduate students in political science "major" in international relations if they chose it as their major subfield.</p>