This is my first post here, but i've read the threads for some time. I have a question about the Warwick masters degree and whether it makes for good preparation for getting into a good US PhD programme.
Long story made short, I applied for a couple of masters degrees in the UK this spring and Warwick (and York) were the best I was accepted into (no declines). I was too late to apply for LSE and University College and hadn't taken the GRE test so I was also too late to apply to UPF and Amsterdam for example (I realise this sounds awful, but I had my reasons).
To give you some background: I completed my BSc degree at the best economics school in my country (non-eu) and was among the top 10%. I have solid grades and am certain that I will be able to get at least 780 on the GRE-test. I think my LoRs are good (nothing spectacular though) and I've been out of school for 2 years, working as an analyst. My main interest ly in public economics, labour economics and behavioral economics.
My questions would be:
1) Should I take the Warwick masters degree this fall or wait for one year and try to get into some better schools to increase my chances of getting into a solid PhD programme in the US? I was rather inclined to go to Warwick this fall, but after reading some of the threads here I'm not so sure, as Warwick has been described as a second tier school and at a dreadful location.
2) At the risk of sounding cocky and unrealistic, I think I would be able to do well in the Warwick programme - wouldn't it be better to be among the top 10% in a 2nd tier school than a mediocre student in a 1st tier school (i.e. LSE)?
3) Berkeley would be my absolute first choice in the US - do I have any chance of getting into the PhD programme there with a BSc degree from an unknown university (albeit the best in my country) and a masters from Warwick? Should I rather wait the year and try my luck getting into a better school?
I do not believe much in such a advice.
1) Warwick is good school, some would argue that it is not even worse then oxbridge/lse in some ways. If warwick cannot help you, then I doubt oxbridge can either. BTW, I went through students webpages at top10 schools and I found surprisingly small number of msc graduates from lse or oxbridge
2)what will you do in your year off? if you start working, you could loose some studying skills and contact with academia
3) with msc from warwick you can apply to MRes at LSE, if you still need to boost your profile and applying to top us programs a year later anyway
in: BU (waitlisted for $)
out: Berkeley, NWU, Princeton, Columbia,Stanford,(assumed) NYU,
Warwick places very well into UK PhD programs, but a lot less so into US ones. The department is rising, but it just doesn't have the momentum of LSE/Oxbridge. If you are looking at the US top 10, or even top 15, then I really, really advice you to attend one of those schools. I did my undergrad at Warwick, told my prof my goal was doing a PhD at a US school and he said that I should basically look only at LSE/Oxbridge (in the UK), although Warwick and UCL might be sufficient if you're looking perhaps US 20-30 and below. Thus, unless you got plenty of funding, the Warwick MSc is a quite bad investment. If you're non-EU, I suppose you're going to end up spending £10k+ anyway, and I would think that money is a lot better spent at LSE/Oxbridge.
Moreover, my impression is that you still need to be in the top 10% of your class at the LSE to have a shot with the US top 10. I don't think being in the top 10% at Warwick will quite do - you'd probably have to something like "the most excellent student I have taught in ten years". A word of warning: UK programs start quite late in autumn, and it may be quite difficult to find profs able to write you an excellent letter (which is crucial for places like Berkeley) during your master's.
Finally, the Warwick location isn't that bad. It's alright if you are really fond of the countryside, and it's very green. A train to London takes about 1 hour and you can take a bus for less than £5 (£1 if you're lucky) down to London in about 2.5hrs.
Entering a PhD program? Better think carefully.
If you do excellent (80%+) at Warwick then you might have a chance in top schools.
However Warwick Econ has extremely bad teaching at the master's level and I have cross-referenced that with more than 10 former Warwick MSc econ students who did well in the MSc and some of them are current PhD students at Warwick. Most of them were also talking about unfair exams.
If you can do really well with extremely poor teaching and unfair exams then Warwick is for you.
I second Reactor's post!I did my MSc at Warwick and my experience has been extremely negative.All his saying is true.If you search this forum you will find other people's experience on Warwick MSc.Of course you should consider what other option do you have and if you are available wasting another year.Btw why did you not apply at UPF?
This is really scary-sounds like Warwick is not a good place to go and surprisingly it was my first choice! When I got admitted I just stopped applying elsewhere. I spoke to Professor Hodges and I got the impression that the lecturers were very helpful. I applied to the MSc Finance and Economics and was abit worried because I have absolutely no knowledge of finance....and now you people are scaring me. What do you mean by unfair exams?
I think that if you are ready to be deceived by lecturers (and sometimes well-published professors) that do not give a damn about students (and are not embarashed to show it) then go to Warwick.
Just do me a personal favor and if you fnally attend Warwick, post at TestMagic your experience.
Simply put, Warwick professors' research may be rising but it's at the absolute expense of (at least) MSc students.
As a former Warwick msc econ student (who is now in a well-respected PhD program) said: "You pay, you suffer, you go through agonizing and desperate times, you get no high marks and you learn nothing".
I expect Italos to comment on my post and I challenge and invite anyone who has attended Warwick MSc in economics or has some honest friend who did so, to comment on this.
Last edited by reactor; 06-13-2008 at 09:57 PM.
Reactor you made me smile when I read your post........so frank.
Anyway I am not sure about if I will attend this year-it really depends on if I get the funding but now I am wondering if it is worth it. Thanks for your honest response.
By the way have others discussed their experiences at Warwick formally on other threads before? I would really like to read about other people's experiences also if it is available and don't worry I will remember your request if I do end up in Warwick.
Thanks for the advice guys - and especially reactor for his brutaly honest 2 cents! As it stands I'm drifting farther away from going to Warwick and instead apply for fall 09 admissions in better MSc programmes. I'll probably ask your advice come application time - if I actually end up going to warwick i'll remember to post my thoughts here at TM!
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