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Thread: Barcelona GSE (Standard? or Advanced track)

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    Barcelona GSE (Standard? or Advanced track)

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    Dear all,

    I am trying to figure out the best master degree option for placing me to top level UK or US top 40 US phd econ and I am VERY interested in staying in Barcelona for my master. Any advice or comment would be really appreciated (Especially current or old BGSE students!).

    My concern is whether I can really handle advanced track or not. I've done my bsc economics in the UK and took as many theory courses as possible and did quite well on them. However, my university is not a stellar one, around top 15, hence, my econ courses may not be as rigorous & challenging as top univ like Oxbridge or LSE. Moreover, BGSE standard track seems to be the same level as most of British msc economics: LSE msc economics, 1st year Oxford Mphil and UCL msc econ. Advanced track looks like equivalent to UCL, LSE MRes courses or 2nd year Oxford (I might be completely wrong though).

    Hence, rather than doing advanced track straightaway, I might start with standard and stay one extra year for UPF MRes (called delayed(?) entry phd track) for advance level and make phd applications while I am on MRes. Do any of you think my scenario is convincing? or should I force myself to advanced track as it is far better option.

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    Re: Barcelona GSE (Standard? or Advanced track)

    Grad level economics is very mathematical. Are your advanced theory courses in undergrad mathematical? Also, what math classes do you have under your belt?

    If you did well in BGSE, you definitely can place well (based on the placement data they sent me). The LSE MRes requires applicants to already have a masters so you're not comparing apples to apples; however, it's true that the 2 year MPhil at Oxbridge is seen as superior due to the ability to take more challenging coursework and also getting to spend more time with profs, resulting in good letters.

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    Re: Barcelona GSE (Standard? or Advanced track)

    Thanks for reply.
    In terms of texts books, what I studied are:
    Math : Further Mathematics for Economic Analysis by Sydsæter. Didn't do real analysis and topology.
    Stats : Intro to mathematical stats by Hoggs
    Metrics : Econometrics Methods Johnston Dinardo, Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and .. by Wooldridge.


    The reason why I compared BGSE advanced track with LSE MRes is to know the rigorousness and depth in topics that advanced track covers. For instance, LSE's EC441, EC442 which are core Micro and Macro courses for MRes seems to be on the same level as advanced track for BGSE (again, I may be wrong) and this is the reason why I am quite frustrated to take advanced track.




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    Re: Barcelona GSE (Standard? or Advanced track)

    Quote Originally Posted by ferrttt View Post
    Thanks for reply.
    In terms of texts books, what I studied are:
    Math : Further Mathematics for Economic Analysis by Sydsæter. Didn't do real analysis and topology.
    Stats : Intro to mathematical stats by Hoggs
    Metrics : Econometrics Methods Johnston Dinardo, Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and .. by Wooldridge.

    The reason why I compared BGSE advanced track with LSE MRes is to know the rigorousness and depth in topics that advanced track covers. For instance, LSE's EC441, EC442 which are core Micro and Macro courses for MRes seems to be on the same level as advanced track for BGSE (again, I may be wrong) and this is the reason why I am quite frustrated to take advanced track.
    What I mean is that do you actually have Math courses (equivalent to 1 year worth of calc, algebra and ideally some proof-based course) on your transcripts? If not, then addressing these takes precedence over a masters programme in economics. It seems weird, though, that you'd cover FMEA by Sydsaeter instead of the undergraduate variant EMEA and not do any analysis. Seems a little over-kill to be using papa wooldridge for your undergrad econometrics class but I suppose you'll be sufficiently prepared if you've already gone through parts of it in undergrad.

    Anyway, the advanced track in BGSE is equivalent to the first-year PhD sequence. Simply judging from the textbooks used, it seems pretty standard: MWG, Rubinstein, Papa Varian, Hayashi & Papa Wooldridge, Sargent and Ljungqvist, SLP and Romer. The level III variants seem to be edging more into field-course area with them covering very specific areas in the different fields.

    Have you covered any Kuhn-Tucker, Dynamic Programming (Bellman, Euler) and Optimal Control during your undergraduate days? These should be covered in Sydsaeter's FMEA book.

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    Re: Barcelona GSE (Standard? or Advanced track)

    Yes I did study EMEA as well. Those books are the most advanced books I used (you can assume that I have gone through easier ones like Gujarati). I took Mathematics for Economists kind of modules but not ones run by Math departs as it is not allowed in my univ. I used wooldridge in my final year and had to meet particular requirement as you said it's not terribly easy, though there some universities using the book for their undergrads in UK.

    Just wondering, if advanced track is a first-year Phd level, then are msc econ at LSE and UCL in pre-Phd level?

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    Re: Barcelona GSE (Standard? or Advanced track)

    Quote Originally Posted by ferrttt View Post
    Yes I did study EMEA as well. Those books are the most advanced books I used (you can assume that I have gone through easier ones like Gujarati). I took Mathematics for Economists kind of modules but not ones run by Math departs as it is not allowed in my univ. I used wooldridge in my final year and had to meet particular requirement as you said it's not terribly easy, though there some universities using the book for their undergrads in UK.
    So you don't have any math classes in your transcripts except for those Mathematics for Economists kind? That seems like quite a bad thing. Math for Economists type of courses are discounted slightly, seeing as to how its rigour isn't usually comparable to those taught by the math faculty (in general). You should look into taking a couple classes as a non-degree student or something along those lines. Get the requisite algebra, calculus and proof/analysis type of courses on your transcript at the point of application to greatly improve your chances of getting into a good programme. Most programmes explicitly mention requiring 1 year of Calc, Algebra and preferably some proof-based/analysis course from their applicants.


    Quote Originally Posted by ferrttt View Post
    Just wondering, if advanced track is a first-year Phd level, then are msc econ at LSE and UCL in pre-Phd level?
    I'm not really familiar with the UCL programme but judging from the reference textbooks they use, content-wise, it seems to be first-year coursework material; whether the rigour is there or not is another thing altogether, though.

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    Re: Barcelona GSE (Standard? or Advanced track)

    Current BSGE econ student, I'm taking a combination of adv and normal courses.

    Which books did you use for micro and macro courses?

    In the first weeks of the year you can sit in lectures for both the adv and normal courses to get a feel for what suits you best. In general, people realize what will suit them best during these first two weeks.
    I also worried about this question before starting, but honestly, the best way to make a decision is to go there and see for yourself.

    If you have other questions, feel free to ask.

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    Re: Barcelona GSE (Standard? or Advanced track)

    Thank you aweu. I got some questions to ask!

    Would you say the standard track is equivalent to LSE Msc econ, UCL Msc econ or M1 at TSE?
    The bgse website says limited no. of standards track students are allowed to proceed to MRes. How limited is the place for such students and difficult in terms of grade requirement for standard trackers (I guess you will be given a conditional offer to move from Msc to MRes). I am considering not to take any adv course at msc.
    Do you think my 2 year plan at BGSE seems convincing? and are there any students in standard track aiming for Phd?
    Lastly, how is the grading system at BGSE (Inflated? or hard to score like French system)

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    Re: Barcelona GSE (Standard? or Advanced track)

    Quote Originally Posted by tutonic View Post
    So you don't have any math classes in your transcripts except for those Mathematics for Economists kind? That seems like quite a bad thing. Math for Economists type of courses are discounted slightly, seeing as to how its rigour isn't usually comparable to those taught by the math faculty (in general). You should look into taking a couple classes as a non-degree student or something along those lines. Get the requisite algebra, calculus and proof/analysis type of courses on your transcript at the point of application to greatly improve your chances of getting into a good programme. Most programmes explicitly mention requiring 1 year of Calc, Algebra and preferably some proof-based/analysis course from their applicants.
    The issue for the OP is that this often is not possible in UK universities unless you're on a joint honours programme (i.e., Maths and/with Economics), in which case you have to apply for entry to prior to beginning university (it is the UK/UCAS way). Scottish universities are more flexible because they follow a more similar system to the US for undergraduate. English universities, however, are quite rigid for the most part in determining which modules you can and cannot take.

    This is one reason a lot of UK students seem to opt for doing an MSc before embarking on PhD applications in the US. But equally, US university adcomms are aware of the situation. UK students are admitted to US PhD programmes despite not having the "traditional US style one-year maths courses", ie despite only having UK maths for economics type modules.

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    Re: Barcelona GSE (Standard? or Advanced track)

    Quote Originally Posted by ferrttt View Post
    Thank you aweu. I got some questions to ask!

    Would you say the standard track is equivalent to LSE Msc econ, UCL Msc econ or M1 at TSE?
    The bgse website says limited no. of standards track students are allowed to proceed to MRes. How limited is the place for such students and difficult in terms of grade requirement for standard trackers (I guess you will be given a conditional offer to move from Msc to MRes). I am considering not to take any adv course at msc.
    Do you think my 2 year plan at BGSE seems convincing? and are there any students in standard track aiming for Phd?
    Lastly, how is the grading system at BGSE (Inflated? or hard to score like French system)
    1) Yes, the standard tracks will be similar to the master programmes you mentioned. Of course the one may be a little different or a bit harder than the other, but overall they should be comparable. (Though ofc, I only have direct experience in the BGSE one)
    2) Admission from the standard track to the Mres means you will basically be taking the master at BGSE again, but now with all advanced courses. The year after all advanced, you can continue to the last master year, which is full of topics courses. Admission is solely based on 1st trimester grades. Not many take this route. If your grades are good/very good, this should be easy.
    3) To be clear, If you want to do the PhD at UPF and start at the normal courses, you will take three years of master before starting the PhD phase. Also, doing the advanced courses if you don't want to do the PhD means you're killing yourself for no reason.
    4) haven't got grades yet, so don't know.

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