Where to Apply? Choosing which schools to apply to in your home country can be difficult enough, but doing so in another can be even harder. How can you choose a good balance of safety, likely, and reach schools that would all be a good fit for you and your goals? Here are some things to consider:
- Minimum requirements vs class profile. Reaching the minimum requirements for admission is a great start, but it’s worth checking out the class profile to see how you’ll compare to your classmates. If your TOEFL is lower, will you be able to participate fully in discussions? If you have much more work experience, what will your new network provide you?
- Location. Outside of class, what will your life look like? What opportunities can the school offer based on its location? For example, schools near Washington DC can offer more government-focused opportunities.
- Specialisations and concentrations. In addition to the core courses, how can this school help you focus on your area of interest? You can consider any internships or field work experience offered in addition to official concentrations offered. Some schools also allow you to design your own specialisation from their many courses.
- Employment stats. If you’re self-sponsored and looking for a job after graduation, careers services and access to employers may be more important to you than for a sponsored candidate returning to a guaranteed job. Cost and scholarship options should also factor into your decision.
Posted by Faye
Looking at the many available course options for Master of Public Policy (MPP) and Master of Public Administration (MPA) degrees, it’s understandable that you may be confused. Deciding which one is right for you starts with understanding the differences and clarifying what type of career you intend to pursue. With this in mind, here are 3 points to help you make your decision….
- In general, the MPP tends to be more research heavy, with a focus on technical skills such as economic and statistical analysis, enabling graduates to research, for example, the social and financial impact of policy, and thus create new, improved policy. The MPA tends to focus more on developing people management, financial management, and leadership skills, enabling graduates to implement policy and ensure it is being followed.
- Most MPP and MPA programmes have a wide variety of concentrations and specializations. Some programmes allow you to cross register with other departments and even other universities, meaning that you have the opportunity to tailor your studies to your individual goals. Understanding what you really want from graduate study will help you identify the best match for you. It’s also worth remembering that there is no standard definition for these programmes, so ensure you do your research on each school in detail!
- Most MPP and MPA programmes require some work experience, but only some require relevant work experience. Considering your potential network, think about how this will affect your experience.
Overall, both the MPP and MPA degrees are well-respected, professional options for those seeking careers in Public Service. Having helped many students gain acceptance into the top programmes, I recommend clarifying your goals and skill gaps, identifying exactly what you need from a graduate degree, and then researching each programme to find the best fit.
Posted by Faye
MPP, MPA, MIA, MIR, MSFS, MALD….Where to start? Which degree do you need? What do people with these degrees do? Applying to Grad school can be daunting, but here are 3 resources to make it less so…..
- Careers in International Affairs. Published by Georgetown University Press, this book provides an overview of the wide variety of careers available under the very big umbrella of international affairs. From governments to multinational corporations to media, this book provides insights on the jobs available, and how to get them. http://press.georgetown.edu/book/georgetown/careers-international-affairs#_ga=1.29401209.754665725.1442231035
- APSIA. Featuring profiles of over 60 member schools, admissions events, and career resources, APSIA is a great first step on your admissions journey. http://www.apsia.org
- NAASPA. A great search tool that uses your potential specialisation and interests to suggest schools. http://www.naspaa.org
Posted by Faye