So you want to go to grad school?
Future grad students of the world unite!
 
30th-Sep-2013 11:09 am
Hi guys!

I've never posted here before, so here goes: but I'm 25 and I'm applying to both JD and PhD programs, preferably joint JD-PhDs. Don't try to talk me out of this, this is truly what I want.

Now in some respects I'm quite lucky. I went to Cornell University for undergrad and have amazing professors who are very well respected in their fields, who I get along with really well, and who will write me letters of recommendation. Also, on my last practice LSAT, I scored a 177. I'm taking the LSATs this Saturday, so hopefully I'll score similarly. Likewise, I have a possible "in" at one of the tippy top law schools, which I feel like a spoiled whatever admitting, but I do know that the dean of that particular law school will be taking a "personal" look at my application, so here's to hoping.

Now here's the respects in which I'm not lucky: I didn't do amazingly well in undergrad. I had a 3.43 overall GPA and a 3.63 departmental GPA. However, I did go to Cornell and I know that we're known (rightfully) for grade deflation, so I'm hoping that this will help? Also, I haven't taken the GREs yet, but I heard that they're almost more of a formality for the programs to which I'm applying? I mean, I usually test well so I'm not super worried about them, I'm signing up to take then November 15th, and hoping to have out my applications by December 1st.

Here's what I'd like to do: I want to do research on topics in political economy and political and economic theory. I'm really interested in topics like the paradox of sovereignty, or the works of Giorgio Agamben and the relationships between elements of ontology, sovereignty and dehumanization. I'm also quite interested in legal history and jurisprudence. I've always wanted to be a professor, but I would also like to be able to work for think tanks, work as a practicing attorney for a bit in intellectual property rights and/or non-profit work and/or public interest work, but ultimately I want to publish and teach. I think that the JD will really complement the types of research that I want to do academically and also allow me to practice in fields that I also think will help inform me more on the topics that I want to research.

Here's my question: does anyone know of PhD programs that would match up well with these interests in political economy and theory and that are doable with my GPA? Trust me I have a bunch picked out right now, but I want to see if I'm overlooking anything that could be really quite perfect. And of course it's okay if it's not a joint JD-PhD. Depending on the strength or areas of focus of the PhD, I'd be willing to forgo the JD. However, I've been doing quite well on my practice LSATs and I know that with a top law school JD, I can go straight into academia, or nearly straight into academia, with just the JD. So I'm fine with also finding other JD programs that are known for eventually being "feeders" into academia or have strong theoretical coursework. Does anybody have any ideas for which other law schools aside from the top 3 are helpful for pursuing a career of legal scholarship?

Also, two last things: 1) I know I didn't specify a department, but that's because what I want to research is so interdisciplinary. For example, University of Arizona has a program that I love in which you work towards a joint JD-PhD with the PhD in philosophy, particularly political philosophy, headed by an amazing political philosopher who essentially does the type of life work that I want to do. Then Georgetown has a joint JD-PhD whereby the PhD that I would want to apply for is in Government. So it seems to me less about the particular discipline and more about which department has the appropriate faculty and resources. 2) I'm from NYC and would prefer to not go to school in NYC. Aside from that, I'm fine with absolutely anywhere in the country or even abroad. Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the UK could all be possibilities for the right program.
Comments 
30th-Sep-2013 06:37 pm (UTC)
I assume you've looked at University of Chicago, yeah?
30th-Sep-2013 06:55 pm (UTC)
Actually, I haven't looked that much into Chicago, largely because I wanted to get out of a big city setting and also because of the cold :( However, for the right program, I'd totally reconsider, so I don't want to overlook that. Are you thinking their law school or a PhD program?
30th-Sep-2013 07:00 pm (UTC)
They have a top political economy program, though it's more taught from an economics perspective than a political science one (I think, it's been a while since I looked at it). I don't know if they do joint law degrees, but it might be worth looking at.
30th-Sep-2013 09:41 pm (UTC)
UChicago does indeed do joint JD/PhDs.
1st-Oct-2013 02:10 am (UTC)
I had a 3.4 GPA and a 3.6 major GPA in my field, and I got into a top PhD program in my field. PhD admissions are more holistic than simply looking at the numbers. However, law school admissions are very numbers focused, so it's possible that you may get into PhD programs but not to JD programs at the same schools.

GRE scores can keep you out but they can't get you in. So they're only a formality insofar as you get scores that are acceptable to the respective graduate schools to which you apply.

I actually think most law schools in the top 15 can prepare you for academic law careers, although you can't go much lower than that - I was helping a friend with this question and browsed some pages, and even the professors at tier 3 law schools went to places like Harvard, Yale, or at least Northwestern and Georgetown. There is a little more diversity in where they came from, but still, most of the professors are coming from top 25 law schools.
This page was loaded Sep 18th 2014, 7:44 pm GMT.