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AcademicGround >> GRE Scores for Poly Sci Grad?


9/18/07 3:29 PM
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Hollywood Blonde
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Edited: 18-Sep-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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Does anyone here know what type of GRE scores top universities expect for their PhD programs in political science? Also, on a slightly different note, when people say "top universities," do they usually mean the top 10 schools in the discipline? The top 5? The top 25? Finally, if you are wanting to become a professor at a teaching institution (i.e. a small college or community college), how important is the prestige of the university you acquired your PhD from? Thanks!
9/18/07 9:15 PM
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Hollywood Blonde
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Edited: 18-Sep-07
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9/18/07 10:32 PM
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FiatLux
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Edited: 18-Sep-07 10:38 PM
Member Since: 03/12/2002
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"Does anyone here know what type of GRE scores top universities expect for their PhD programs in political science?" Well in new rankings this year released by william & mary Stanford was ranked #4: "Admission to our program is highly competitive. About twelve students, chosen from a large pool of applicants, enter the program every year. These students are chosen on the basis of a strong academic background as evidenced by previous study, test results, written sample, and letters of recommendation. Students that are admitted have GRE scores of 700+ in each category Verbal, Quantitative and on average a 5.5 in the Analytical; GPA 3.8+. Please be assured that the department reviews each application very carefully and makes decisions on an individual basis." http://politicalscience.stanford.edu/grad_faq.html#Admission04 A 5.5 out of 6 on the writing section is probably about 90% "Also, on a slightly different note, when people say "top universities," do they usually mean the top 10 schools in the discipline? The top 5? The top 25?" Usually people are talking about the top 10 schools when they talk about top universities. It's possible they could be talking about the top 20-25, but anything beyond that is very unlikely. "Finally, if you are wanting to become a professor at a teaching institution (i.e. a small college or community college), how important is the prestige of the university you acquired your PhD from?" It's interesting that you almost have the situation backwards in a way. Most people that don't go to a top school will have trouble getting a job (tenure track especially) anywhere other than a small liberal arts school or community college. Going to places like Duke, Cornell, MIT, Standford, or Cal set you up for tenure track jobs at major research universities.
9/18/07 11:03 PM
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asdf
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Edited: 18-Sep-07 11:12 PM
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"Finally, if you are wanting to become a professor at a teaching institution (i.e. a small college or community college), how important is the prestige of the university you acquired your PhD from? " This is easy to solve. Go to the webpage of your dept at a big-time school. See for instance the political science department at Harvard. http://www.gov.harvard.edu/pub/gov_faculty_fall_07-08 See where they went to school. I tend to agree with fiat, but see for yourself in your field. I guess I would add you can always go to a small school with a degree from Harvard. Doing the opposite will be much harder. Go to the best school you can get in. Top grad schools mean top10. Unlike undergrads, there aren't that many grad students to make the rankings out to 25 matter.
9/19/07 12:47 AM
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Hollywood Blonde
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Edited: 19-Sep-07
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Thanks for the help. This is interesting to me: "Students that are admitted have GRE scores of 700+ in each category Verbal, Quantitative and on average a 5.5 in the Analytical; GPA 3.8+." Let us just assume that the Analytical and GPA are about the 90th percentile. Above a 700 in Verbal is about 99% percentile, while above a 700 in Quantitative is less than 80th percentile.
9/26/07 9:06 PM
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thesleeper
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Edited: 26-Sep-07 09:12 PM
Member Since: 08/31/2007
Posts: 28
Political science is a VERY competitive field. If you want to teach at a B level school, you need an A level Phd. If you want to teach at a community college, you can do that with a masters, probably make more money with a Phd. What type of Political Science you want to do is important as well. Your GRE scores aren't as important as your BA grades and writing sample. You can increase your chances of getting in quite a bit by having graduate coursework on your record. If you want to teach and get a Phd, you need to get funding (assuming you can't pay for it out of pocket). DO NOT borrow money to get a Phd at a mediocre school. You will never make enough to pay off all the debt.
9/26/07 9:43 PM
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Hollywood Blonde
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Edited: 26-Sep-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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If I can be forthright here, what do you think my outlook is like with this background? GPA: 3.99 GRE: 610 verbal (87% percentile), 720 quantitative (77% percentile), 5.5 writing (88% percentile) Co-authored two refereed articles Lead presenter or co-presenter in five professional presentations Selected as the top poly sci student at my school (a small, fairly prestigious liberal arts college)
9/27/07 12:48 AM
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FiatLux
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Edited: 27-Sep-07
Member Since: 03/12/2002
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Hollywood, I think your stats are very strong. The likelyhood of getting in to a top program is going to depend on the details, where the devil is, in terms of who else applies that terms, and how your research interests match up with current professors...
10/1/07 12:19 AM
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thesleeper
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Edited: 01-Oct-07
Member Since: 08/31/2007
Posts: 31
Hollywood, that is pretty strong with your grades, it would have been better to be closer to 650-700 on the verbal. Where were you thinking of applying to and with what emphasis? Comparative politics, IR, Theory, domestic stuff, International law, etc.
10/1/07 4:57 PM
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Hollywood Blonde
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Edited: 01-Oct-07
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Thanks for the help, folks. The subfields I would be shooting for are IR and American politics. As for where, I am not sure yet. If we assume that I try to get into a top 10 program, what do you peg my odds at?
10/2/07 1:44 PM
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BodyandSoul
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Edited: 02-Oct-07
Member Since: 08/24/2007
Posts: 32
Hollywood, Looks like you're set. The publications are key. Don't neglect the informal aspects though - contact professors in the departments where you wish to apply and make sure to get good letters of reference. My girlfriend had much better marks than me and was rejected a year after I was accepted. The differences were that 1) I'd been in semi-regular contact with the professor I wanted to work with six months before I even applied and 2) My Master's thesis committee loved me and really went out of their way to help while she fought with hers and received a very lukewarm response to her reference letter requests.
10/2/07 6:26 PM
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thesleeper
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Edited: 02-Oct-07 06:44 PM
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Visiting the department so they have a name to put with you is very helpful. You do have to understand that IR and political science are divided into 2 camps. You have the wannabe science people and the traditionalist/theory people. If you apply to a good school like Georgetown, UCSD or UT Austin, very likely they will have a gametheory/model approach. Schools like Berkeley/Standford/UofChicago/Johns Hopkins/UofMinnesota are more traditionalist/theory oriented. But these places are where alot of teachers get hired from. Harvard and Yale could go either way. But these schools are so competitive that you would have to have a very good research proposal and writing sample to get in. If you find someone that you would really like to work with in one of these schools, you really need to make the effort to contact the person/department.
10/20/07 2:07 PM
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thesleeper
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Edited: 20-Oct-07
Member Since: 08/31/2007
Posts: 101
I just talked to my IR theory prof. He said that at Johns Hopkins that nearly all the Phd students that were admitted without a masters dropped out of the program. Something to keep in mind. It is pretty difficult to know what you are interested in without taking some grad level classes.

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