Saturday, March 19, 2011

Decision 2011

Whew boy...
So with a baby coming in October, I have a huge choice before me that will affect my life for at least the next three years. Which Ph.D? Thus far I've been accepted to three (with two others that I should hear from in the next week). And three I've gotten into are all excellent programs with good reputations. There are a lot of positive things about each one. What makes the decision so difficult is that there isn't an obvious "bad" choice.

All three programs are fullrides--they include all the bells and whistles of stipends, insurance, conference funding, etc. 

All three programs encourage continued growth in practical experience in the field, and the development of at least one foreign language.

University of Missouri-Columbia: Is consistently rated as one of the best journalism programs in the country (if not the best). Missouri was the first university in the United States (the world) to create a journalism program. Missouri also is the only option with an obvious mentor relationship (although I would likely work with them little beyond the dissertation phase of my study) and is the most accelerated communication program in the country--PhDs finish in 3 years as opposed to 4 plus.

However, there are few job opportunities outside of Missouri for working and there are limited options for study/research outside of the Missouri-Columbia environment. My wife and I have a few contacts in Missouri, but largely we'd be forming a network from scratch in Missouri.

University of Maryland-College Park: Would offer a broad range of options for study outside of Maryland as well as within. The consortium at Maryland includes Georgetown (my alma mater), Catholic University of America and George Washington University. It's proximity to Washington, D.C. also makes it a prime location for research in the city.

Since my wife and I have lived here three years, we also would have solid support network. On the downside here, Maryland also has no obvious mentor figure for my field of research and the cost of living in DC Metro area is significant to say the least.

University of Texas-Austin: Would offer me more chances to teach. I'd be teaching perhaps throughout my entire career at Texas which would bring more income as well get me used to large, lecture hall teaching of which I have little experience. Since my wife is from Texas, this also allows for a solid support network for us.

On the downside, there are limited options for study at universities outside of Texas and there is no obvious mentor figure there that I could study under.

This is a tough one.


Blair said...

I vote Texas! Though I'm not a Longhorn fan, you can't beat the quality of life in Austin...but I won't take it personally if you choose someplace else, ha:) Congrats on the baby!

Alex Pearson said...

Has anyone else noticed that the Longhorn logo looks like a depiction of the female reproductive system?

Just sayin'....