American University - Graduate (MS/PhD) Ratings|
|Total Grad Surveys||11|
|Avg years at University||2.0|
|Research Quality||B- (5.9)|
|Research Availability||B- (5.9)|
|Research Funding||C+ (5.6)|
|Graduate Politics||B (7.2)|
|Errand Runners||B (6.8)|
|Degree Completion||B- (6.4)|
|Alternative pay [ta/gsi]||C+ (5.6)|
|Sufficient Pay||C+ (5.1)|
|Education Quality||B (7.1)|
|Faculty Accessibility||B (6.8)|
|Useful Research||B+ (7.7)|
|"Individual" treatment||C+ (5.4)|
|Campus Beauty||B+ (7.6)|
|Campus Maintenance||B+ (7.4)|
|University Resource/spending||B (6.7)|
|Surrounding City||A- (8.8)|
|Social Life/Environment||B+ (7.8)|
First, regarding the IR schools ranking, I must let you know that there is no official ranking. APSIA, the umbrella organization that every quality IR school is apart of, will not rank the schools because big name institutions like Columbia and Georgetown refuse to allow for this to take place (need a consensus from all the schools to get their ranking published in US news report). Why would these schools not want a ranking? It might be because they know that their programs would not be ranked as high. This seems to be a reasonable assumption, but no one really knows the answer. However, the problem is that because Columbia and Georgetown refuse to allow for a ranking, it makes it difficult for students to assess where they want to go to school. Well I can give you at least some means for comparison.
Through a consortium program at AU, I was able to take IR courses at Georgetown. First, academically, the faculty and coursework are the same at each institution (both are challenging). However, the main differences are the students and major requirements. At AU, SIS students must take statistics, economics, and some form of IR theory before concentrating in his/her major. At Georgetown, students are not required to take any of these courses (at least those majors that are not in the Masters of Foreign Science program). What are the benefits of taking some math or economics you might ask? Well, if you want to get a job that pays over $40,000 a year, you better know some stats or else you will be stuck writing op-eds for the rest of your life.
Moreover, the course selection at both schools are different. If you are interested in development, peace and conflict resolution, international economic policy, political economy, global environmental policy, and/or international communication, you will not find these majors or classes pertaining to these degrees at Georgetown. Georgetown is set up with a very traditional program that focuses only on regional areas (ie Asia) with concentrations in english, politics, sociology etc.
Furthermore, what I find even more intriguing is that the government does not care where you received your degree. All they care about is your GPA, major, classes you took etc. So, if you think getting a degree at Georgetown is a quick way to get into government, think again.
Now, the student body is a completely different discussion. AU students are generally very liberal and left thinkers. Georgetown students on average are a lot more conservative in their politics, which makes anyone who thinks a little more left wing somewhat of an outsider. But the benefits of having experiences with students at both universities definitely has given me, thus far, a well-rounded education.
What about costs? AU's cost (books, living, tuition etc) is estimated at $30,000 per year or $60,000 for two years. Georgetown's cost is approx $40,000 per year or $80,000 for two years. Again, the quality of education is the same for both schools. What you need to ask yourself is simply: what do I want from an IR program? When you can answer that, base your decision on the school's capacity to provide for your future-- not the "name" of the insitution itself. In making a choice to come to AU, don't think you are losing on the deal for not having the Georgetown name.