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Thread: PHD in Economics After LSE's MSc in Economics & Philosophy

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    PHD in Economics After LSE's MSc in Economics & Philosophy

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    I'm currently an undergrad at the LSE studying Econ and Phil BSc and I am keen on studying the MSc Econ and Phil at LSE. I've spoken to the relevant admissions people, and I believe it's likely that they will accept me. In particular, I think it's more likely that I get accepted here than for pure economics MScs at LSE and other good universities (UCL, Oxbridge).

    Moreover, I am also interested in pursuing a PHD after my Masters. I'm slightly worried that not doing a pure economics MSc will reduce the chances of getting into a competitive PHD after my Masters. I believe I can compensate with publications since I'm currently co-authoring some game theory papers with my professors, however, I'm not sure this will be enough.

    On the other hand being at LSE for my MSc will likely mean that it will be easier to get into the MRes & PHD at the LSE since the relevant professors will get to know me. Secondly, if I decide to do my PHD in the United States, it might be less important for me to have a great Masters degree since most applicants will lack masters degrees anyway.

    Do these last two considerations make sense, or should I consider doing an MSc in Econ at a slightly less good university?

    ----

    Also, I really do enjoy Econ Phil, because it allows me to study Mathematical logic, set theory, computation and some other great fields.

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    Re: PHD in Economics After LSE's MSc in Economics & Philosophy

    Lack of math background is the first thing that comes to mind for me? You don't take math past the first year right? I'm not sure if that's an issue.

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    Re: PHD in Economics After LSE's MSc in Economics & Philosophy

    If I recall correctly, only a small percentage of LSE MSc Econ graduates actually get into ranked PhD econ programs after they graduate. Adding half a dose of philosophy to that degree seems like it'd make it even harder. If your choice of doing the econ/philosophy joint degree is mostly out of interest for philosophy and you're confident about your ability, then that may be fine. If, as you seem to imply, it's because you think you can only get admitted to a more interdisciplinary program, i.e. you concede you will be weaker than the median MSc econ graduate student in the type of academic criteria that will end up being important in PhD admissions, then it seems like you should re-evaluate your entire plan to get a PhD econ degree, considering that even those who get into the MSc Econ program don't usually place into PhDs.

    The homepage for your specified degree says 5.3% of students are engaged in further studies 6 months after graduation (the remaining are employed), but doesn't give a breakdown of how much of that are Econ PhD students (there could be philosophy PhDs or students taking a 2nd masters). In any case, it's low.

    Keep in mind that many of these students will have similar preferences as you - they'd want to get into PhD programs, as nobody does an econ + philosophy degree for professional reasons. But the success rate is bounded above by 5.3% and it's probably lower for those aiming for econ PhDs.

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    Re: PHD in Economics After LSE's MSc in Economics & Philosophy

    Hello Pafnuti, as a current student of Msc Phil and Econ, let me give you some information I believe you'll find relevant. I will also gladly meet with you on campus to discuss if you need.

    Currently there are ~15 of us in the program, compared to 150ish if you count Msc Econ + EME. So one thing I really enjoy about the program is how close our group is and how much social activity we do together. Pretty much we get together at least once a week as group at the George and we of course always hang out at the library and after class as well. This is not something I've seen in the Msc Econ because it is such a large program and I have a few Econ friends who have indeed complained to me about how cutthroat everyone seems.

    Classes. As you know we take half econ and half phil classes. I personally am taking Advanced Micro, Metrics, Philosophy of Econ, and Rationality & Choice so I can only speak for those. The philosophy courses are amazing, the professors really engage with you during seminars and are really open with students. For instance, we go drinking after class together or after talks etc... This is NOT something that the econ department even comes close to. My impression is that the professors won't even really speak to you unless you speak with them and the seminars are just problem set solution handout. But alas that is the nature of having many students and a more quantitative subjects. My impression of the econ classes is that they are just the undergrad version with more math and given that I did a math major I do find it quite trivial.

    Now I want to talk about PhD prospects a little. I would like to contradict Chateaheart's claim above. It is actually not the case that many students want to go on for a PhD among the Phil & Econ program so the 5.3% is not something I would worry about. For instance, in my cohort, only 3 of us considered PhD's and only I am applying. My impression is that if your math skills are already very strong, then there is no need to do a regular Econ Masters because you cannot demonstrate your quantitative skills strongly through those courses. A master's course in microeconomic simply is not as mathematical as a 4th year undergrad math course that is rigorously taught.

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