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Thread: Profile Evaluation for phd in political economy (fall 2017)

  1. #1
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    Profile Evaluation for phd in political economy (fall 2017)

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    I'm going to apply graduate school at fall 2017; my ultimate intention is to make phd in political economy. Although a traditional phd in econ would also suit me, current phd programs in economics looks me too much isolated from the other social disciplines like political science, philosophy, sociology etc so I wish an environment in graduate school which combines other social sciences as well.

    I'm currently a 4th year undergraduate student and I would be very happy if you evaluate my chances for getting admitted into a decent political econ phd program.

    Undergraduate education: top research university in an Eastern European country
    Undergraduate Degree: Economics
    Undergraduate GPA: 3.82

    Math Classes: Calculus I-II (A,A), Linear Algebra (A), Differential Equations (A), Partial Differential Equations (currently taking, probably will pass with B or B+), Models and Methods in Linear Optimization I-II (A, B), Advanced Calculus (currently taking, textbook is baby rudin, will pass with probably with B or B+), Math for Econ (A), Discrete and Combinatorial Mathematics (A)

    Statistics Courses: Probability and Statistics I-II (A, A), Stochastic Models (A-), Applied Data Analysis (A)

    Economics Courses: Macroeconomic Theory I-II (A,A), Microeconomic Theory I-II (A,A), Econometrics I (A-), Theories of Growth and Development I-II (A,A), Game Theory (B+), Institutions and Development (A)

    Other Courses: Algorithms and Programming (java) (A-), Some European and world history courses (A's mostly)

    Research Experience: unfortunately I have no credible research experience. Although in econometrics and growth courses I have written 2 research papers as assignment, I
    guess they are far from being enough. I will take a seminar in macroeconomics in which we will prepare an honors thesis in spring 2018, but it will not show up in my transcript at the time of admission.

    Teaching Experience: Also no teaching experience

    Letters of Recommendation: one is from a macroeconomist who holds a phd from Princeton, he has relatively strong ties with some reputable macroeconomists (has a joint paper with Stiglitz). Second letter can be written by a professor whose field is applied microeconomics and got the phd from Oxford, she was recently a visiting scholar in Princeton. Third one is from a professor working on institutional economics and has world wide reputation in that area (her phd is from Marryland). An
    auxiliary letter can be got from a macroeconomist who is working on growth and general equilibrium (phd from Minnesota)

    Work experience: I have done my summer internship in one of the leading think-tanks focusing on economical policy-making in my country. I have no industry experience.

    I haven't taken GRE yet but I don't think that its quant section would be problematic for me.

    As you can see my main weaknesses are the relatively low grades in partial diff equations and advanced calculus (this is called advanced calculus in my university, but it can be seen as real analysis I in the most US schools), as well as the absence of research experience. Probably top 3 political econ programs (Harvard KSG, Stanford GSB, Princeton) would reject me, and I couldn't find any other decent program specifically designed for political economy. Another way is to enter a middle-to-low ranked (around top 20-30) econ phd program and to choose political economy as the primary field, but this makes me a little bit sad

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by richardsorge; 07-04-2017 at 06:03 AM.

  2. #2
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Profile Evaluation for phd in political economy (fall 2017)

    You should reconsider your focus on political economy programs. There is no particular reason why you cannot specialize in political economy as an economics PhD. Furthermore, the pervasively low scientific standard of political science will be a cultural shock to some students with pure econ backgrounds, and you may decide that you are not interested in political science publications after all. In that case, there is little value in choosing political economy PhDs, and you may even end up switching your field to development, applied microeconomics, or public economics.

    I generally recommend political economy PhDs for students that already have substantial exposure to political science at an undergraduate level, and know what they're getting into. For people who developed an interest in this field solely via the economics literature, your interests are likely still in mainstream economics, and you should prioritize pure econ programs for the additional flexibility.

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