Most of these folks have more policy experience than I do (one year), more experience with policy schools (none yet, although IR/PS was near the UCSD poli sci dept and I worked with profs who were based at IR/PS), but I have had students move on to policy positions and most of my PhD students have found tenure-track positions. So, I have heaps of opinions about this stuff but I can summarize it in one line, given this job market
- If you do not have a deep curiosity about politics, a PhD in political science is not for you.
I do disagree a bit with Joyner who basically says don't go to a school outside the top ten or twenty-five. Rankings are far from perfect, as I have noted before. And one can end up doing great in grad school (great idea, great execution, strong pubs)* so that a very good program can be good enough. But there is a point--that the worse the reputation of a school, the more you are daring the fates. You can get a great education in a middling program and get a good job, but it is riskier.
* Not referring to me, as I had good idea, good execution and no pubs.
Grad school is a reasonable choice, if you go in with your eyes open to what opportunities that it may or may not open up. But there are tradeoffs, so it is not a great idea for those who simply want to delay "real life" a few years.
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