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Thread: Choosing a program outside top 30: environmental/development

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Choosing a program outside top 30: environmental/development

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    Hello everyone,

    With the admission decision process underway, I have been trying to narrow down schools. Ranking lists contradict themselves, there's not a ton of discussion about non-top 30 programs, and in general, I have a lot of options. All in all, I could use some help!

    My main research interest are environmental and development, though if I had to choose, I would weigh environmental over development. In particular, I would like to look into issues of public land conservation and management. Ideally the school I will attend will be strong in both fields, giving me some room to explore my interests. I am looking for a smallish department (i.e. personable, friendly, with lots of faculty-student interaction) in a place that has easy access to outdoor recreational opportunities.Of course, funding/ cost of living is a consideration as well

    Acceptances: UCSC ($$), Wyoming ($$), Arkansas ($$$$$$), Tennessee ($$$), Kentucky ($$), West Virginia ($$$), Arizona ($$), Oregon ($$), NC State (no word on funding yet)

    Waiting to hear back from: UCSB, U Washington Seattle, Colorado Boulder

    If anyone has a suggestion or insight into any of these programs, it would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Re: Choosing a program outside top 30: environmental/development

    Congratulations on being admitted to such a large group of good departments. This isn't my area of research, so I can't comment on that aspect of fit. But please don't let the size of the stipend influence your decision. A program that is a good fit for you repay itself many, many times over.

    I think your other criteria are spot on. I would reach out to a handful of current students at each school -- the DGS can put you in touch -- and talk to them about their experiences in the program. Ideally students persons who work in your fields of interest. That will be your best data on whether the department is friendly, supportive, and has a lot of faculty-student interaction. Ask them what they like about the program. What they don't like. Are they happy there. What do they know know about graduate school that they didn't know when they were comparing options. Also ask them about which faculty students enjoy working with, quality of instruction, etc. You don't want to show up and then find out that the professor who teaches development is a jerk who students avoid.

  3. #3
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    Re: Choosing a program outside top 30: environmental/development

    What kind of career do you wish to pursue? I'd recommend looking at their placement records to get a sense. Personally I'd choose Arizona or Wyoming.

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    econ scholar dogbones's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a program outside top 30: environmental/development

    UCSC sounds like a fun place to live! Close to outdoor recreation, close to SF, one of the UC schools...

  5. #5
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    Re: Choosing a program outside top 30: environmental/development

    Arizona seems like the better pick, by quite a margin, in my opinion, from the placement strength alone.

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Choosing a program outside top 30: environmental/development

    Arizona is a very good place to do environmental economics as a graduate student right now. This is especially true if you are interested in the application of structural econometrics and/or computational methods to applied topics within environmental economics.
    Last edited by to2012; 03-10-2019 at 12:40 AM.

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