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patrickk
05-28-2013, 10:30 PM
Hey guys,
I'm currently getting my BSc in Economics at the University of Tübingen, I'm gonna thinking about applying for Econ PhD Programs at UCLA, UCSD, UCSC, USC, and possibly Stanford.
My current GPA (that I would think I have, we have a different grading system in Germany) is roughly 3.9. I've graduated valedictorian at my High School and I've worked as a RA at my universities business department.
I've taken one general math course and four statistics courses so far, and our Econ classes are pretty mathematical as well (more like graduated courses in the US, I'd say). I've been on an exchange semester at Cal State Long Beach and was pretty successful there. Our University didn't offer exchanges to any schools better than this in California, and due to my GF being there that was kind of important for me.
I've not taken the GRE so far. I think I'll be able to get pretty good letters of recommendation, although I'm not sure how well my (German) professors are known in the US.

How high do you think my chances are of getting into one of the above mentioned PhD programs? I'm especially interested in going to UCLA. Also, do you think that I'd get funding if I get accepted? Also, does it mean that if I do get funding, I get a reduced tuition on top of that, or do I still have to pay it in full?

Sorry if any of the questions have already been answered in the forums. I've been trying to read up on the whole subject over the past few days, but it's just a lot to cover + I've had no idea about how the US PhD system works before starting with my research.

Thank you very much in advance for your help!
- Patrick

EDIT: As tm_member suggested, here's an updates profile of mine
Type of Undergrad: Economics
Undergrad GPA: 3.9 (in German grades though, I think that should roughly be my US GPA)
Type of Grad: Renowned University in Germany, probably not the best for Econ but very well known overall (Tübingen)
Grad GPA: -
GRE: not yet taken, let's expect a good result
Math Courses: Explorative Data Analysis, Probability & Risk, Quantitative Methods, General Methods of Mathematical Economics, Applied Econometrics (each with roughly an A - A-)
Econ Courses: Int. Macro, Int. Micro, Advanced Micro, Labor Economics, Int. Trade, Int. Economics, Int. Business, Finance I, and some Business coures (usually with an A, I wasn't that good in Advanced Macro as I was off my game that day), some Accounting Courses, Development Economics
Other Courses: Stata course
Letters of Recommendation: pretty good I'd expect, from my German professors though so maybe not that well known in the US (they all have German / Austrian PhDs)
Research Experience: Worked as an RA at the Department of Business for a year
Teaching Experience: none yet, might get a position next semester before I graduate
Research Interests: Macro, maybe also Development Economics
SOP: the usual
Other:
I'd like to get into UCLA, UCSD, USC, UCSC, or Stanford. Will I get funding? If I do get funding, does this mean that I get a reduced tuition or is funding independent of tutition?

Thanks in advance!

tm_member
05-29-2013, 11:16 AM
Hi Patrick, the usual format will get you more replies


PROFILE:
Type of Undergrad:
Undergrad GPA:
Type of Grad:
Grad GPA:
GRE:
Math Courses:
Econ Courses:
Other Courses:
Letters of Recommendation:
Research Experience:
Teaching Experience:
Research Interests:
SOP:
Other:

patrickk
05-30-2013, 03:12 AM
Hey tm_member,
I updated my post with the profile you posted! Thanks in advance for the help!

tm_member
05-30-2013, 02:02 PM
Hi Patrick, getting into some of those schools would be quite a stretch. I don't know much about Tubingen, but unless your school regularly send students to those schools you can expect to struggle.

Funding in California is also usually tough to get due to their budget issues and that lack of funding has also reduced the size of programs somewhat - making them harder to get into. California has weird education laws (once you've lived there for a year I believe tuition drops significantly so that it is not a serious financial burden). In general, getting funding at a school means they pay your tuition and pay a stipend for which you provide TA or RA services (sometimes first year is exempt from service).

To improve chances of a California admit+funding, you should also consider UC-Irvine, UC-Riverside (even though that might take you away from where you want to be.

I figure the Grad classes you have taken are one of those BA+MA programs Germany often has? They take 5 years or so, right? With that you should be better prepared, but you might think about doing a standalone MA in England or Canada to improve your chances at a US admit at one of those good schools.

chateauheart
05-30-2013, 02:04 PM
I'm guessing that you have a strong location preference for the Los Angeles area because of your girlfriend. Since you are from Germany I should remind you that California is huge (larger than the entire Germany, with worse infrastructure), and the distance between the Bay Area and southern California means that any relationship you have will be effectively long distance. If you're still okay with Stanford and UCSC based on this, then you should apply to Berkeley, ASU and University of Arizona as well, since they are roughly equidistant. You should also apply to UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara. Your profile is good, but most applicants (especially internationals) should apply to 10+ programs due to the arbitrariness involved in admissions.

Most candidates outside of the US choose to study for a master's degree in Europe first before they apply to a PhD program. This is a route you should consider, if you haven't.

Funding for PhD economics in the US usually includes a tuition waiver, and you also generally receive a 15k-25k USD stipend. This is a good deal, which is why PhD programs are a lot more competitive than most postgraduate degrees.

startz
05-30-2013, 06:56 PM
Minor addendum. After one year tuition drops for grad students at the University of California... But only for Americans.

synthxdill
05-30-2013, 08:58 PM
Minor addendum. After one year tuition drops for grad students at the University of California... But only for Americans.

For some international students as well, but only a limited number (and depends on which UC)

startz
05-31-2013, 01:12 AM
For some international students as well, but only a limited number (and depends on which UC)Can you tell me more about that? At UCSB international students never achieve residency. The out of state supplement disappears when a student achieves candidacy, and of course some international students have tuition covered by the department. Can you tell me if other UCs have found a way to do better than that?

synthxdill
05-31-2013, 03:24 AM
Can you tell me more about that? At UCSB international students never achieve residency. The out of state supplement disappears when a student achieves candidacy, and of course some international students have tuition covered by the department. Can you tell me if other UCs have found a way to do better than that?

I can only speak for Davis, which covers non-resident tuition for a select number of international students beyond the first year. It seems like we are probably thinking of the same system, but I was unaware candidates were ineligible

startz
05-31-2013, 12:58 PM
Thank you synthxdll.

I should clarify a term I used. Students "advance to candidacy" when they've done everything but their dissertation. My understanding of the UC rules is that the university then drops the extra out of state tuition charge.

in any event, many international students at UC get ALL their tuition covered plus receive a stipend.

tm_member
05-31-2013, 06:41 PM
Thank you synthxdll.

I should clarify a term I used. Students "advance to candidacy" when they've done everything but their dissertation. My understanding of the UC rules is that the university then drops the extra out of state tuition charge.

in any event, many international students at UC get ALL their tuition covered plus receive a stipend.

Yes, the majority do get tuition covered, and a stipend, but my understanding is that fewer students are getting that package these days relative to other states.

patrickk
05-31-2013, 11:52 PM
Hey guys, thanks a lot for the helpful information! So to summarize... you think that it would be wise to appy to more than those schools, simply as getting accepted is (in any case) pretty hard. That makes sense to me, and especially UCI and UCR don't seem like bad options to me. I mean I could see that some schools on the east coast might be very interesting, but I'd really only go there if I got accepted in a really good school (like Harvard, or MIT), and the way I see it my chances of that happening are pretty much 0. So I guess I'm gonna have to take my chances with the UC system/Stanford....

Or does anyone have some other helpful advice?

fakeo
06-02-2013, 11:00 AM
Hey guys, thanks a lot for the helpful information! So to summarize... you think that it would be wise to appy to more than those schools, simply as getting accepted is (in any case) pretty hard. That makes sense to me, and especially UCI and UCR don't seem like bad options to me. I mean I could see that some schools on the east coast might be very interesting, but I'd really only go there if I got accepted in a really good school (like Harvard, or MIT), and the way I see it my chances of that happening are pretty much 0. So I guess I'm gonna have to take my chances with the UC system/Stanford....

Or does anyone have some other helpful advice?

I don't how much it is your ultimate goal in life to get a PhD in econ, but if that's what you really wanna do and you'd be really disappointed with not gaining admission to any of those schools, then I would suggest applying to some European Masters programs as a backup. The reason is that getting a Masters could raise your chances of admission significantly (given that most Europeans do get their Masters before applying even to a US PhD program). It would, however, take an additional 2 years of your life. In any case, if I were you, I would consider applying to Masters programs at Oxford, LSE, BGSE, Toulouse, Bonn, etc. So you know, the usual top European Masters.

tm_member
06-02-2013, 01:04 PM
I don't how much it is your ultimate goal in life to get a PhD in econ, but if that's what you really wanna do and you'd be really disappointed with not gaining admission to any of those schools, then I would suggest applying to some European Masters programs as a backup. The reason is that getting a Masters could raise your chances of admission significantly (given that most Europeans do get their Masters before applying even to a US PhD program). It would, however, take an additional 2 years of your life. In any case, if I were you, I would consider applying to Masters programs at Oxford, LSE, BGSE, Toulouse, Bonn, etc. So you know, the usual top European Masters.

Just as an aside, a Canadian MA will serve you just as well, help you polish your English, and there are good options out west so that you could be a fairly short flight from LA. For example, Simon Fraser University (Financial assistance - Economics - Simon Fraser University (http://www.sfu.ca/economics/graduate_studies/financial-assistance.html)) has lots of funded MA spots and is generally viewed as good prep for US PhD programs. You have to work as a TA for that but with your background you should do well as a TA for intro classes. Also, doing very well at SFU and getting strong LORs from faculty there would give you an excellent shot at the UC universities.