This may sound obvious, but a good program is one where you will be happy doing research. This means that you like the research that is being done there, and that you have a supervisor (or potential supervisors) who is supportive of your work and will help you develop as a researcher.
Other things to look for:
- Does the department have other students in your area of interest? Being able to bounce ideas off others will help your progress enormously.
- Is there funding available? If they can’t pay you, or give you money to present at conferences or do fieldwork, then it’s probably not worth going there.
- Will there be opportunities to teach? This can be a good way of getting experience if you want an academic career, but if not it’s probably not worth doing.
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