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Old 25.12.2011, 11:49
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University of Lausanne or University of Neuchatel?

Dear Forum members,

I have been searching within the Forum but did not come up with a topic related to this comparison.

I am planning to start studies in Switzerland and recently I got a reply from both universities. Now I am in need of some feedback for choosing the best option.

So here is the situation: I am an International Relations student and the programmes are Master in Political Science with Globalisation orientation at UNIL and Master in Economic Policy at UNINE. The topic of my thesis can be implemented in both programmes, so I am not worried about this. But there are some advantages of each uni:

----UNIL is rather a French-speaking environment which is good for my eternal purpose of improving my French to an advanced level. And it is located where I live. It has a bigger size which I assume will come with bigger facilities like library, sports, cultural events, career advise, part-time jobs etc.

----UniNE's programme is dominated by English language, which is easier for me to follow. Courses are rather statistical, numerical which would provide me with more technical knowledge than theoretical (unlike UNIL) but give me as well a hard time in following the Maths and all these calculations as I do not have a strong background on numbers. For this purpose, the programme includes some preparatory classes but the definitive plan will be made at the beginning of the Semester in February.

For me the basic criteria is their advantage in being able to pursue a career in an international organisation, international NGO or company after the studies (in Switzerland or abroad): so their career services and preparation for professional life. I also strongly want to advance my French.

I will have to make up my mind quite soon. Although I have some tendency for UNIL, I would like to hear any feedback from you. Also, if you know the examination methods of each university, I will be happy to hear! I know that UniNE has rather 2-3h exams but I am hoping UNIL would have some essays or projects, not exams only....

Thanks in advance for your answers.

Have a happy New Year!!!
N.
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Old 25.12.2011, 13:56
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Re: University of Lausanne or University of Neuchatel?

I don't know for sure if this is the case or not, but I think you might be more employable with a Masters in Economics than a Masters in Political Science.

My husband is doing the former at UNINE and has been very happy with it. However, it is quite different than you described, as it is more of an applied program (than for example, the Masters in Economics offered in Geneva), and not as math heavy as even his bachelors was. It was more about critical thinking and applying the theory to real life scenarios, and less of crunching formulas to get you into a PhD program. I guess it depends partly what your bachelor is in...my husband has found that this program was more challenging for those without a solid foundation in economic principles and some prior experience with analytical experience. That said, some of his classmates came without this background and did very well.

He has also been very content with the social aspects of the program...it was quite small around 30 students, and the group became pretty close knit. They have a lot of sports offered at the University and Neuchatel is a great city.
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Old 26.12.2011, 15:35
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In social sciences, generally speaking, you have a better chance of getting a job if you have some quantitative skills, so Neuchatel might be a better option for you on a practical level. The math and stats aren't that bad... If you think of them as tools to help you explain things, tell your story.

There are two parts to the quantitative stuff- theory and computation. If you can grasp the theory, which often requires critical thinking, you can probably get through the computation bit.
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Old 26.12.2011, 16:06
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Re: University of Lausanne or University of Neuchatel?

Hey!

I had a similar situation but deciding between UNIGE and UNIL. I just moved to Switzerland from the USA and am now doing my Masters at UNIL.

You are right about UNIL, a lot of people speak french but as well as a lot of other languages. All of my courses are in French but I can still speak English if I want. They also provide free language courses with a lot of different options.

I haven't visited UNINE so I am a bit biased, but UNIL has a lot of facilities and organisations which I love. The campus is really nice too. Plus you are already one step ahead since you already live in Lausanne. They also have lot of different lectures that you can attended and resources for post-graduation.

Exam wise, it really depends on your courses. Most of my exams will be this January/February, but it depends if you are taking a seminar or lecture class. Some courses have exams during the year, like a mid-term and then final. The seminar classes you normally have a project or papers throughout the year then you continue the class all year long and sometimes have an exam at the very end. Also some exams are written and others are oral. Basically it depends on your section and courses.

Hope that helps!
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