My MAPSS Experience (So Far)

So I’ve noticed that many of the people visiting my blog are searching “uchicago mapss” into google, or something similar. This makes sense since the MAPSS program is in the midst of sending out acceptance letters for the 2012-2013 academic year. I remember when I was admitted that it was hard to find useful information online from former/current MAPSS students about their experience in the program. Since I’m in the middle of some serious work on my thesis (and it’s 1:30am), my summary of my MAPSS experience will be short (although in the future I’m sure I will be giving a much more thorough review of my experience). If my comments don’t address a particular question or concern you have about the MAPSS program, please don’t hesitate to email me with any questions you have (leesplez@gmail.com).

Anyway, I can genuinely say that my experience in MAPSS has been positive. By far my favorite thing about MAPSS is the fact that it is not a weed-out program. Many masters programs are simply ways for the PhD programs to select their favorite grads, and so everyone in the program is constantly trying to one-up each other in a bid to be the most appealing to the PhD acceptance committee at that University. MAPSS is completely opposed to that type of program. In MAPSS, the program’s staff is dedicated to helping you achieve whatever goals you set for yourself! The MAPSS program is a completely separate department, with its own support staff and several faculty. If you want to move on and apply for your PhD, they can provide some exceptional advice as to how to go about that process. However, if your goal is to graduate and find a job in the private sector or government, and you have no ambitions of continuing in academia, they are just as helpful! They have one full-time staff member who’s whole job is career counseling for the MAPSS students (and he’s very helpful).

In the program you will take 9 classes, and you will have free reign to choose 8 of them from practically any course taught in the graduate school. The classes at UChicago are phenomenal, and are very intense. Speaking of intense… you will have to write a masters thesis in order to graduate. And yes, of course it’s a huge stress. But I can tell you that I’m enjoying writing mine. You can write your thesis on basically anything you want, as long as you can find a faculty member who will advise you.

I certainly don’t regret my decision to come to MAPSS. Yes it’s pretty expensive, but the degree is worth it. It’s a perfect stepping stone into a PhD program if you can succeed in MAPSS, and regardless of where you are or what jobs you are looking at, having the University of Chicago on your resume is a big boon. Yea there are some things that are certainly annoying about the school, but those are more about UChicago in general, not something specific to MAPSS. But those little annoyances by no means outweigh the great education I’m getting and the great time I’m having.

I know this is a really, really short blurb about my overall experience, so please feel free to email me with questions 🙂

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4 thoughts on “My MAPSS Experience (So Far)

  1. If you don’t mind, I have several question which I could use answered:

    How close are you with your Preceptor? Are they really as helpful as the program makes it seem?

    Word is that the program is very “sink or swim” and that MAPSS students don’t get enough support. Is this true? I may need a bit more help than other students and would hate to find myself in a position where I’m left to fend on my own.

    Are the classes you take actually part of the regular graduate courses? In other words, are you taking the same classes as PhD students? Have you been able to keep up with the coursework?

    I also heard that some professors aren’t very friendly or sympathetic to MAPSS students. Is this true? Do they treat you the same as a PhD student?

    Is the degree as respected as UC makes it seem? I’ve heard it described as a ‘bastard degree’ and ‘second rate.’

    • Hey Michael,
      I’m happy to give you a full response! I’m pretty swamp with work at this very moment, but I’ll respond on the blog before Monday (but probably much sooner) 🙂

  2. Jeff,
    No rush on the response. I understand how busy things can get. I appreciate you taking the time to help me sort things out.

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