(The Humanitarian Social Network)
UPDATE: *NEW SECTION FOR REVIEWS ON GRADUATE PROGRAMS* - To read or add a review, just go to a graduate program's listing on the International Aid & Development Schools and Degree Programs page and click "*Read or Add Reviews*". If your program isn't listed yet, make a suggestion in the comments at the bottom of the graduate programs page.
We're working on adding more to the International Aid and Development Graduate Programs page. But, I'd love to hear from people about what their opinions are on the strongest graduate programs in the different specialties within aid and development. Forget official rankings.
Especially, if you're a current graduate student, what do you love about your program? What do you wish it had more of?
I'd add the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. Two of the MPA tracks (Development Studies and Economics and Public Policy -- I'm in the latter) place a lot of graduates in aid and development jobs. You might also add public health and other sector-specific programs, but then your list may get too long.
Hi Grace, I'm not a current graduate student but have applied and plan to enroll in a program this fall. I may have a choice between a program focused on a specific issue and one that is a general "development" program, in which case it will be difficult for me to weigh the pros and cons of the two. I don't know if you're already planning to add this to the Graduate Programs page, but it might be helpful to add a "reviews" section to each program (like on any store website) so that former/current students could leave comments. I've searched quite a bit for student commentary on programs, but responses are scattered and unorganized (and often biased if on the program website). Having "reviews" in one place from people who have gone through each program would give applicants a more realistic idea of which one is the best fit.
@Brett - Thanks for the feedback. We'll be making updates the Graduate Programs page and so we'll add the Woodrow Wilson School.
@Andrea - Thanks for the idea. Yes, that would be great to have a place to gather "reviews" on schools much like they do for a lot of jobs/companies from applicants/employees. I have a couple of ideas of how to do this on the site but still thinking it through. If anyone knows of useful tools to do this, please do let us know. For now, we can use this discussion forum to gather feedback. Feel free to ask specific questions..
Also, Tales from the Hood had a post that addressed this a bit. Here it is if you were interested. Lots of other blogs have posts on graduate school advice. We'll try to accumulate them and list them so people can have them all in one place.
Here are some more suggestions:
@D - Thanks for the suggestions! Will go ahead and add them.
Keep the suggestions coming! Would love to see more a diversity of programs, esp non-US programs, on the page.
Here's the correct link for the Graduate Programs page.
Hi Grace, I really enjoyed my programme at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. I did the more specialized MSc Violence, Conflict and Development. What I liked about it:
One year (versus schools in the US which were longer programmes).
Leftist (it's often compared to the LSE programme so like comparing Colombia to the New School...I finished up my undergrad at the New School).
A range of courses to choose from where if you could justify it, you could take classes outside of your department.
I was a returning student (break of 6 years), so I knew what I wanted to do and there was LOTS of students that were coming straight from their undergrad and my interaction with them was not as rich with my few colleagues who had already been out to the field. Those guys are the ones (mostly) who have ended up being my friends and the ones I stay in touch with and network with.
What I had to get used to as an American was the interaction with my professors. I had to go see them in their office hours and made sure I did that, just even to chat...this did not seem to be the norm with the other students there. UK students like to seem to be left alone and I wanted more interaction so I made sure I got it.
Hope that helps..and your link on the bottom doesn't work right now...xx
Thanks for the input, Zehra! Yes, I agree. I went to two different graduate schools and I saw that in general the students that waited to go to graduate school were more engaged and focused than those that went straight from undergrad.
Interesting observation about the difference in academic culture in the US vs. UK. I've noticed differences between US vs East Asian schools as well, esp. with regards to student-professor relationships. Learning cultures can be an important factor in considering what you want from a program as well.
Firstly, thanks a million for creating the group and the grad programme listings.
I'm not a graduate student either, I'm currently an undergrad in Ireland studying International Development and Food Policy.
I'm interested in food security, agriculture and the environment (blah blah) and I'm torn between a scientific/economics Masters and a more practical one like community development.
Just wanted to say I love the idea of a grad programme review page, as there's a lot out there and it's hard to know what's good.
Graduate Programs page has just been updated! Look for more programs to come.
In regard to graduate programs outside the US (and UK for that matter) I have just completed MID at La Trobe University, Melbourne. http://www.latrobe.edu.au/handbook/2010/postgraduate/humanities/cou...
This course was fantastic and flexible enough to focus on a range of different areas, including forced migration, environmental sustainability and social change etc. It is coursework with an optional thesis. While I enjoyed the academic challenge of the course, I did think it lacked more practical subjects that built skills directly related to development work. I believe they are remedying this however and incorporating more practical components from now on.
Great, we'll add this to the main graduate programs list soon. Thanks for the suggestion!