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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 🙂