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Thread: Which kind of math to take?

  1. #1
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    Post Which kind of math to take?

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    I'm entering my final year of undergraduate studies - looking to go to a good school for a Master's program (like LSE's MSc in Econ or MSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics).

    I have a lot of econ and a lot of math, but the 'pure, proof-based math' I have really is only a few courses in probability theory and the standard Rudin RA. I received an A- in the latter which sounds bad by American standards, although in my country there is lower grade inflation (that A- represents the top 10-15% of my class - about a third of the class failed).

    In my final year, I have a choice between either Real Analysis II or some more applied statistics/econometrics classes that I find really interesting. I'd prefer to take the latter, but I'd like to ask - given my background and graduate admissions aspirations, would it be necessary/helpful for me to take RA II? I'm just concerned I don't have enough pure hard math but I don't know if it's really as necessary given that I both already have a decent mark in my transcript for RA I and I am not applying for a PhD program.

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

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    Re: Which kind of math to take?

    One bump before I give up.

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    Re: Which kind of math to take?

    Listing out all the math courses you've taken thus far, and grades obtained, will help others provide some advice. Also, can you provide a course outline for RA 2?

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    Re: Which kind of math to take?

    I think advanced classes in probability theory and mathematical statistics are very useful, especially if you plan to do empirical work.
    If you want to be a theorist, RA2 would be useful.

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    Re: Which kind of math to take?

    My current math courses (not including econometrics of any sort):

    Calc I (A)
    Calc II (A)
    Calc III (A+)

    Linear Algebra (full year sequence) (A+)

    Calc I-II prerequisite standard intro statistics course (A+)
    Mathematical Probability Theory I with Calc III prerequisite (A-)
    Mathematical Probability Theory II with Real Analysis I prerequisite (A)

    Real Analysis I (A-)

    Differential Equations (A+)

    Game theory (under math faculty at my school) (A+)

    Next year I would take courses like time series analysis instead of RA2. I'd rather take time series analysis, and I'd rather be applied as opposed to theoretical. But my concern is just for the programs I'm applying to. Would they prefer RA2? They are all Master's programs.

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    Re: Which kind of math to take?

    Seems like you already have all the requisite math classes so far. What's covered in RA 2?

    If you don't intend to go down the theory route, I don't think there's any real point in loading up further on math.

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    Re: Which kind of math to take?

    Seems it just expands on RA1. Stuff like fractals are included, as are more in-depth investigations of what we had done. More detail about things like Fourier series that weren't touched upon with significant depth in my class.

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    Re: Which kind of math to take?

    Have you decided before graduate school that it is absolutely essential for you to study micro theory or econometric theory, despite the thankless nature of these fields and the poor job prospects for even strong students? Then take measure theory and a basic course in functional analysis or convex analysis.

    Are you literally anyone else? Don't take any more math.
    Last edited by to2012; 07-30-2018 at 12:44 AM. Reason: typo

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    Re: Which kind of math to take?

    Take the latter (stats/metrics). If you're the top 15% of a Rudin-based RA class, there's no reason to take another RA class for either admissions purposes or academic purposes, unless you're absolutely sure you'll do very well (i.e. get an A on your univ's grading curve) with minimal time, or unless you're among the tiny minority of students who have a rational expectation that they'll end up specializing in micro theory.

    That alone should be sufficient to make your choice, but in your case it makes even less sense to take pure math for signaling purposes, because you'll be going through a top master's program which will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your theoretical ability at a very accurate level - i.e. the rank of your performance in grad econ theory courses in a well-recognized program with a long track record. This means your undergrad transcript will have a small weight in your academic record by the time you're applying for PhD programs.

    And for what it's worth, LSE's master's in econ is not good preparation for PhD programs; you should only consider specific programs tailored for research-oriented students who have PhD aspirations. In the case of LSE, EME is the only program you should bother to apply to.

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