Howdy! I’ve spent a few weeks now looking around the forum getting a feel for the graduate Econ situation and now I think the most beneficial thing I can do is ask directly for some advice. As you’ll see below, my undergrad record is decent (but not great), and the feeling that I get from reading this forum is that my best shot at a solid PhD program lies in some kind of master’s degree. The list I compiled below is basically a list of every master’s program people seem to see as quality that is located somewhere I wouldn’t mind living. I’ve got a strong preference for continental Europe, as I think it would be great to be able to spend time in a non-English speaking country actually learning something (as opposed to several of my friends’ somewhat more “typical” study abroad experiences)!
I don’t have my heart entirely set on a PhD at this point, but my main motivating factor at this point is the desire to learn more about economics – as cliché as it is (especially to the folks on this board), I find it endlessly fascinating! I feel like my undergrad education in economics has not been very rigorous (though I am not sure what the ‘usual’ is), so doing a master’s will hopefully give me a taste of this “real” economics everybody keeps talking about, too.
I feel like the weakest parts of my resume as this point are my choice of institution and my lack of research experience. Both of these I would like to make up for in my choice of master’s program. From what I understand, the normal track at most of these places is around a year long – is that long enough to get the kind of research experience I’d need for PhD applications? Are there any schools that would be better suited to rectifying that type of deficiency?
I suppose the last and possibly most painful question is – what are my chances at getting into these schools? I have very little basis for judgment so I’d like to get some perspective on where I should be looking.
Type of Undergrad: Flagship state school, (<100 on econphd rankings), Econ, Math, and Music majors (had a big change of heart halfway through )
Undergrad GPA: 3.77
GRE: Will be taking the new GRE this Fall
Math Courses: Calc I&II (AP); Calc III (B); Diff EQ (In Progress); Linear Algebra (In Progress); Intro to Stats (A); Stats for Engineers (A); Elementary Analysis (B); Ord. Diff EQ I (Fall); Math Modeling (Fall); Plus two more classes in the spring to finish out the degree
Econ Courses: Intro Macro (A); Intro Micro (A); Intermediate Macro (A-); Intermediate Micro (A-); Development Econ (A-); Int’l Finance (A+); Public Finance (Fall); Econometrics (Fall); Also thinking of taking Grad Micro this Fall semester
Other Courses: A degree’s worth of music theory/history classes
Letters of Recommendation: Hopefully one from a top-20 PhD prof; one from the director of a reputable legal NGO; can also get them from music professors (but I suspect those wouldn’t be too helpful?)
Research Experience: Year as an intern at a legal NGO working on a piece of original research to (hopefully) be published at the end of the summer/early fall
Teaching Experience: None
Research Interests: Development? Beyond that, not too sure
The schools I am looking at:
Paris School of Econ
U of British Columbia
U of Toronto
Thanks in advance - absolutely any advice is appreciated!