I think if you are planning to apply to LSE phd or top 20 US, LSE is the best option. Also as you said, if you can get good LoR from UCL , that might help you a lot. CEMFI and Barcelona GSE are good schools but they are not as good as LSE.
I am a current UCL final year student and I'm planning to do a Master's and PhD in Economics. My final aim would be a top 20 US or LSE PhD programme.
I have offers from:
- Cambridge- MPhil Economic Research (Funding results at the end of May)
- LSE-MSc Economics (No funding)
- UCL-MSc Economics (No funding)
- Toulouse School of Economics - Master 1 in Economics (Still waiting for Eiffel Scholarship)
- Barcelona GSE - MSc in Economics (50% off tuition waiver)
- CEMFI - MSc Economics and Finance (No funding)
I am more inclined to CEMFI as it is a 2 years programme and would provide me with better preparation for PhD. However, as I did not get any funding, it is also one of the most costly options for me besides LSE. It is very likely that I will get funded at TSE, but the teaching there would probably be the worse among my options. Barcelona, UCL and Cambridge would come with approximately the same costs. Furthermore, staying at UCL would mean that I can get good LoRs but I am not sure if I should stay in the same institution for my master's studies.
Any help would be appreciated!
Firstly, congratulations on your acceptances. All of the schools you listed are great schools. Whichever you choose, you will definitely learn a lot there.
Top 20 US schools pay great attention to LoRs so, at this point, you have to decide where you can get strong references. Barcelona GSE and TSE are great schools, however, their class size is big so it may be hard for students to shine there. But I have heard that professors at Barcelona GSE are very supportive. I have no idea about TSE, though.
In your specific case, if you believe that, you can get a 1:1 degree and good references then you should consider about going to LSE since LSE PhD is one of your aims.
CEMFI is a great school (I will most probably attend there) but if the costs of going to CEMFI are higher than going to UCL, it may be rational for you to choose UCL since you know that you can get strong LoRs there and it ranks higher.
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