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View Full Version : Is this enough upper level math/econ?



Jlesnick
03-09-2012, 03:01 AM
Hey guys, I'm a 24 year old guy, and I graduated last year from school in Chicago with a 3.2 cum, and 3.53 in my upper level classes, of which I took many. I got a double major in International Relations and Economics and had wanted to originally pursue a PHD in International Relations. However near the end of my studies I realized that, that was the wrong path and that Econ was the better choice. THe problem is that I have a virtually nonexistent background in mathematics. So I have committed to do what is necessary to get into a top 10 or 20 program.

TL;DR Graduated with (3.2cum/3.53upper level) in Int'l Relations and Econ, with very little math background. Would like to pursue PHD in Econ.

I've spend a lot of time researching econ programs lately, thanks in great part to a lot of the links you guys sent me, and I've come up a schedule classes for the next few semesters. Let me know what you think? This amalgam of classes is technically commensurate with a Masters in Math & Economics, however I'm not sure that I would necessarily take them as a graduate student, unless of course that is better.

Spring 2012: Intro to Econometrics (513), Intro to Game Theory (474), International Finance (Macro) 455, Stats (210), A survey in calculus and analytical geometry (211)

Summer 2012: Calculus and Analytic Geometry II (232), Seminar introduction of the mathematical language (proofs, theorems etc.) (341)

Fall 2012: Calculus and Analytic Geometry III (233), Linear Algebra and Differential Equations (234), Economic Theory: Microeconomics (701), Mathematical Economics I (506), Advanced Calculus I (521)

Spring 2013: Advanced Calculus II (522), Introduction to probability models (571), Mathematical Economics II (606), Economic Theory: Macroeconomics (702), Foundation of Econometric Methods (734)

Summer 2013: Advanced Microeconomic theory I (801), Advanced Macroeconomic theory I (802)

Fall 2013:
Introduction to Analysis I (621), Theory of Functions of a Real Variable I (711), Introductory Topology I (751), Theory of Probability (771), Econometric Methods I (735)

Spring 2014:
Theory of Functions of a Real Variable II (712), Topology II (752), Introduction to Analysis II (622), Econometric Methods II, Advanced Microeconomic Theory II (821)

Fall 2014: top 10 program



Am I going overboard here? Would you recommend that I get rid of certain things? Keep in mind that I went to a decent private school for undergrad, however my econ dept was filled to the brim with marxist professors. Needless to say I will not be looking to them for LOR's. There are two prof's of mine in the Int'l relations dept that I built a strong relationship with over the years, however some people have told me that it is futile having a professor that's not an economist, write me a LOR. I've begun to take the aforementioned sequence of classes at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and unfortunately well-known, rockstar, economist researchers are not exactly prevalent. Any advice would be most appreciated.

unfallible
03-09-2012, 04:36 AM
That's quite the ambitious plan you have, and it should be sufficient math/econ preparation, assuming you combine it with strong letters, to get into the top ten. Even if you can't find famous professors, a sincere letter from a prof at UW-M who knows you really well will go a long way.

godlesschum
03-09-2012, 04:51 AM
not nearly enough bro. you need a PHD in math before you can get a PHD in economics.

Jlesnick
03-09-2012, 04:52 AM
not nearly enough bro. you need a PHD in math before you can get a PHD in economics.

Kinda nice to know that economists like to derp too.

8675309
03-09-2012, 06:12 AM
If your economics is above a 3.50: I would take next year in the summer : Calculus I and II a couple of econ courses, and a basic stats course if its required


In the fall as an undergraduate :
I would take Calculus III, Linear Algebra, Econometrics and a few econ electives. in spring advanced calculus probability


I would try to get an M.A at one of these places

1. Duke
2. Tufts
3. U of Toronto Doctoral
4. UBC
5. U of T non doctoral

good letters are pretty much necessary to get into top 10 schools and the competition is fierce. However, most econ Ph.D from top 40 schools have better job prospects than an I.R graduate from a top 5 school. However, Most econ students at top 40 schools have much stronger backgrounds than most quantitative political scientists.

godlesschum
03-09-2012, 06:19 AM
go ahead, keep downvoting my post. i dont care if you don't have a sense of humor. ^_^

8675309
03-09-2012, 06:21 AM
Happy now? I can also give you a reputation point if you would like.

Jlesnick
03-09-2012, 06:29 AM
If your economics is above a 3.50: I would take next year in the summer : Calculus I and II a couple of econ courses, and a basic stats course if its required


In the fall as an undergraduate :
I would take Calculus III, Linear Algebra, Econometrics and a few econ electives. in spring advanced calculus probability


I would try to get an M.A at one of these places

1. Duke
2. Tufts
3. U of Toronto Doctoral
4. UBC
5. U of T non doctoral

good letters are pretty much necessary to get into top 10 schools and the competition is fierce. However, most econ Ph.D from top 40 schools have better job prospects than an I.R graduate from a top 5 school. However, Most econ students at top 40 schools have much stronger backgrounds than most quantitative political scientists.

So it is better to get an M.A. in Math or Econ, than to just take the classes as is? Would it be detrimental to just remain at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee to get the masters?

8675309
03-09-2012, 06:47 AM
American programs are not well known for having Ph.D preparation programs and many M.A econs are more like undergrad econ degrees at competitive universities with some supplementary MBA/Applied statistis courses. This means that a lot of American M.A. econ programs aren't viewed as being technical enough to count as preperation for a Ph.D.


This makes it difficult to get into Ph.D programs from a lot of M.A so I would strongly advised against just picking anywhere for an M.A. Also top 20 departments get something like 1000 applications and many of them are stellar. Letters of recommendations play key role in distinguishing excellent applications, and the reputation of the person writing them matters. A school like wisconson will only have one or two people who are reputable.

Most of the M.A's in foreign institutions are better and even the 2nd tier of Canadian M.A's (SFU, Mcmaster, Mcgill) are better choices to do an M.A. than most American schools.
If your concerned about money note that a lot of Canadian programs offer funding, and are relatively cheap (UBC costs 7000$ a year for international grad students, and is usually subsidized to the domestic tuition of 4500$). They are also very technical and viewed as good preperation for Ph.D programs. The schools I mentioned are also fairly prestigious in their own rights and would help you procure employment if you don't decide to continue to Ph.D.

If your strongly committed to American programs you may also want to look at Oregon, UNC greensboro or U Colorado Denver. However, if your a wisconson residence this is a lot more expensive way to go.

Another option for you is to take a necessary math and take some graduate courses in economics at UWisconson madison. This might be suicidal since their program is a top 15 and has a reputation for failing 1st year students (most of whom are stellar). Bad grades here would kill your file for top places.

Jlesnick
03-09-2012, 07:28 AM
American programs are not well known for having Ph.D preparation programs and many M.A econs are more like undergrad econ degrees at competitive universities with some supplementary MBA/Applied statistis courses. This means that a lot of American M.A. econ programs aren't viewed as being technical enough to count as preperation for a Ph.D.


This makes it difficult to get into Ph.D programs from a lot of M.A so I would strongly advised against just picking anywhere for an M.A. Also top 20 departments get something like 1000 applications and many of them are stellar. Letters of recommendations play key role in distinguishing excellent applications, and the reputation of the person writing them matters. A school like wisconson will only have one or two people who are reputable.

Most of the M.A's in foreign institutions are better and even the 2nd tier of Canadian M.A's (SFU, Mcmaster, Mcgill) are better choices to do an M.A. than most American schools.
If your concerned about money note that a lot of Canadian programs offer funding, and are relatively cheap (UBC costs 7000$ a year for international grad students, and is usually subsidized to the domestic tuition of 4500$). They are also very technical and viewed as good preperation for Ph.D programs. The schools I mentioned are also fairly prestigious in their own rights and would help you procure employment if you don't decide to continue to Ph.D.

If your strongly committed to American programs you may also want to look at Oregon, UNC greensboro or U Colorado Denver. However, if your a wisconson residence this is a lot more expensive way to go.

Another option for you is to take a necessary math and take some graduate courses in economics at UWisconson madison. This might be suicidal since their program is a top 15 and has a reputation for failing 1st year students (most of whom are stellar). Bad grades here would kill your file for top places.

I've been to London many times, and I've heard nothing but good things about LSE's Economics Masters, and it's propensity to get you into the top 10 programs back home. Is my 3.5 to low to get in?

8675309
03-09-2012, 07:59 AM
LSE is very competitive generally from my undergrad institution you had to have a 3.60 in economics (top 20%) of the class and we were a top 25 department (UBC). The kids who get into top 10 from LSE are ones close to making distinction which is tough. I am going to stress again though this is not an easy field to get into top graduate programs, and there is no certain path to top 10 schools. Top 20 schools are very tough to get into. That being said I would not be hung up over ranking. As long as someone manges a top 40 admit they have a reasonable chance of getting an academic position, and every year a few people place at institutions better than their own. It depends on their own out put and the quality of their own research of course.

Jlesnick
03-09-2012, 08:26 AM
I'm confused as to why I need the MA when I could just take these courses at UWM?

8675309
03-09-2012, 09:18 AM
Madison or Milwaukiee? Milwauke's department is relatively unknown and letters from reputed (correlated with well known) play the biggest role in your admissions. This is a small profession, most faculty know every department and have perceptions of every department. Most reputable faculty know one another, and people with recommendations from people not well connected are at a significant disadvantage.

For milwaukee unless you are taking Ph.D courses and acing them, your likelihood of getting into a top school is slim. Even then there isn't a guaranteed. As for Madison's department if they let you take Ph.D coures and you do well it would give you a big chcance. However, doing poorly would kill your chances. Madison is top 15 and they are known to be particularly cut throat. If you go in under prepared and do not do well, you might kill your chances at other similar ranked programs. However, A's in madison would get someone in. Keep in mind that most of Madison's students look like something like this

GRE 800Q,
GPA 3.8+/4.0 from fairly well regarded undergrad institutions her and abroad
many students will have M.A's from top European, Canadian, Asian institutions
Math : Cal I-III, Differential Equations, Real Analysis, Probability
Strong letters from economists who will attest to their preperation
Possibly taken graduate course work already at another school.






A good M.A. like the one at Duke or the Canadian ones generally have m.a. course the same level of difficulty as Ph.D courses the ones at a school like Milwaukee, but offer a chance too get both letters from well known people, are an intermediate step between tougher Ph.D courses and it also helps your chances at admissions because these places are viewed as rigorous. At the end of the day decisions are yours, but you need to have realistic expectations. Taking math alone and doing M.A. at an unknown place might help you break into a top 40 school, its unlikely that it will take you to a top 25 place. Doing very well at somewhere like Duke might gives you a shot at a top 20 place (and no more than a shot).

mathemagician
03-09-2012, 05:14 PM
I'm confused as to why I need the MA when I could just take these courses at UWM?

I suggest you take a look at a thread titled "demand side notes." That thread will give you a realistic picture of what it takes to get into a top 10 or top 20. Even if you do well at UW-Milwaukee, it will be difficult to get in. The "same" classes at different universities can be vastly different. An upper division undergrad econ class at MIT will be more rigorous than masters level classes at many universities.

I've found that American undergrads (especially from state, regional, and liberal arts universities) have limited comprehension of the international competition they face when they apply for grad school. In my program (top 15) there are several students that tested top 100 out of 1 million+ (0.01%tile) on nationwide exams.

mathemagician
03-09-2012, 05:17 PM
OP, your best chance of getting into a good program is to get a reputable masters or do very very well at a US university with a top 20 math and econ department. Anything else will not outweigh your poor undergrad performance.

Jlesnick
03-09-2012, 08:44 PM
Do you think Duke, TUFTS, UBS or UOT would take me with my profile?

8675309
03-09-2012, 09:11 PM
Yes, if you do supplementary courses and get Aís. I would take mathematics (take calculus III, Linear, Algebra and Probability, Real Analysis). Take a couple of technical economics courses at a school near you I.E Intermediate Micro and Macro or an M.A Micro/Macro course that uses calculus Econometrics and apply. Work on your story. M.A programs arenít as competitive, these are moderately competitive but if you have Aís in and explain that your wanting to enter their programs for the purpose of Ph.D Iím fairly sure youíll have a shot. Generally UBC expects tad higher grades than yours (like a 3.70 in Econ) and B+ math from comparable schools to UBC (think Michigan or Wisconson Madison). I would also apply to some good Tier 2 programs. UNC Greensboro, UC Denver, SFU, Mcmaster have decent programs and their best students can make it into top 20 schools. The latter two are Canadian programs who fund everyone. However, given the choice I would do an M.A. at the other places I mentioned (since except for TUFTs all the programs listed are top 25 departments)

Jlesnick
03-09-2012, 10:03 PM
I could take everything, plus Advanced Calculus I & II, but I don't think I wouldn't be able to fit in real analysis unless went in 2014 instead of 2013.

8675309
03-09-2012, 10:49 PM
a lot of places an advanced calculus course and real analysis is the same course except the advanced calculus is more intro level. Generally one such course is effecient as long as you learned how to write proofs and understand the real idea behind differential calculus and spaces after wards. ( Meaning I think as long as you have advanced calculus I your fine). Also I don't want to overstate math requirements if your grades were strong in economics Cal I, II, Linear algebra and Cal III would be suffecient for M.A. and add probability and real analysis would strengthen application. Everything else is extra (it marginally helps you if you do well), if you do poorly it hurtsyou. Most programs are just looking for 6 key classes. So my strong suggestion is take the fastest route you can into M.A. program that is reputable.