Yes, your major will be taken into account. I'm a DGS at a good research university and we had a fair number of applicants with engineering or pre-med backgrounds. No problem having a few lower grades in challenging courses on your transcript.
So if I'm a physics undergrad with an Econ minor, will I be at a disadvantage when it comes time to apply for an Econ PhD program. I know that most of the good PhD programs require at least a 3.7 gpa for admission which is much harder to do as a physics major. So will I be at a disadvantage with regards to gpa? Or will they take the difficulty of my undergrad into account? Thanks!
Okay thanks tbe, I wasn't sure if it was like law school or something where they only care about a high gpa. Also, would doing a masters before a PhD look better/ help with admissions into a good program? I know that a US MA in economics are not considered to be very good, but would would one from the UK look good? Thanks.
If your ultimate goal is a decent US economics PhD programme, then you're better served pursuing a European masters programme, since most masters programme in the UK are terminal in nature (with the exception being LSE's programmes and Oxbridge MPhil).
Check out the likes of CEMFI, BGSE, TSE/PSE and Bocconi. These few programmes have pretty decent placement records for their top few students each year.
The average GPA for advanced (junior/senior) physics coursework should be on par with those for advanced mathematics coursework. Physics majors aren't at an intrinsic disadvantage; someone with a low GPA, and/or lack some crucial mathematics and economics coursework, will be.
Okay thanks for the awesome responses. I have one last question. Does it look bad (for US and UK universities) to have a four or five year gap in-between a bachelors and masters? I plan on going into the military for a couple years after my bachelors and going to grad school afterwards. I know that several famous economists have done military service between their bachelors and grad studies (such as George Shultz) and I just wanted to know how it would affect admissions into grad school. Thanks!
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