View Full Version : College Sophomore...stressing myself out...any insight?

02-26-2014, 02:22 AM
Hi everyone,

I'm hoping someone can help me...I'm currently a college sophomore double majoring in Economics and Political Science at Florida State University. I know it's a little early but I was wondering if anyone knew any graduate schools where I could earn a degree incorporating both of my interests in economics and political science.

Additionally, from what I have read about most of the econ grad schools, you need a strong math background. I have already taken Intermediate Micro Theory (earned a B+) and am currently in Introduction to Econometrics (expecting to earn an A or a B). Over the next two years I plan on taking Calc 1, 2, and 3; linear algebra; and probability and statistics. With my double major, I don't have anymore room to take more math classes. Will these provide me with a strong enough math background for econ grad schools?

Additional info that might be helpful....I have a 3.3 GPA which I am hoping to bring up but I doubt it will go up too much over the next few years. I am also participating in research with a political science professor at my university and once I finish, I am going into some economics research with another professor. Will grad schools take this research into much consideration when reviewing my application?

One more question...From what I have seen, most people who completer their phd go on to teach at a university, but if I have no interest in teaching, is it worth it to get a phd?

Any feedback or insight is greatly appreciated as I have just recently started my grad school search. Thank you.

02-26-2014, 02:34 AM
What range (in terms of rankings) of schools are you aiming for?

02-26-2014, 02:34 AM
For the top political science and economics programs, you're going to need to bring up your GPA. Sometimes it takes a while to get a feel for how to perform well in your college classes.

With that in mind, if you have the mathematical chops for it, the Political Science department at University of Rochester is sort of a hybrid between economics, poli sci, and applied mathematics. If you don't want to be as mathy, maybe look at public policy schools. Michigan, Harvard, and Chicago are particularly good.

02-26-2014, 02:38 AM
As for rankings of schools I'd like, I'd love to be in a top 20...I'm just not sure how likely that is with my GPA. So I'd say any in top 50.

02-26-2014, 02:41 AM
As for rankings of schools I'd like, I'd love to be in a top 20...I'm just not sure how likely that is with my GPA. So I'd say any in top 50.

Top 20 will be out of the question for you unless you take more math than you are planning on and raise your GPA. With the amount of math that you are taking and a considerably higher GPA, top 50 would be reasonable.

Is there any reason why you can't turn the political science major into a minor and take some more math?

02-26-2014, 02:45 AM
It's not so much that I can't, I have just always loved political science and really enjoy studying it. I have considered dropping it but before I do so I wanted to look at schools that may offer a joint degree in both fields.

02-26-2014, 02:48 AM
I think the best thing for you to do is look through the old profiles and results thread to see what the profiles of previous successful top-20 and top-50 applicants look like. Then, given that you have plenty of time, you could work on getting your profile to the level of their profiles.

Also, if you have interests in political science, perhaps you should look into political science PhD programs too. In any case, you do need to raise your GPA.

02-26-2014, 03:15 AM
There are some interdisciplinary political economy programs, but not too many, and they are just as hard to get into as economics programs (which will be difficult for you based on your math background). Most people with a background and interest in both economics and political science, and who are not *extremely* good at math, target political science PhDs or occasionally public policy PhDs.

One of my advisors had a nice summary of the situation in these disciplines: an Econ PhD is more similar to a math undergrad than to an econ undergrad, and a poli-sci PhD is more similar to an econ undergrad than to a poli-sci undergrad.

02-26-2014, 05:33 AM
Its great that you've started thinking about grad school so early and time is certainly on your side so you're still in the running AFAIK.Your last 60 credits carry significantly more weight than your first two years of college, so you won't be penalized too harshly for spending freshman year doing non-laboratory/field "experimentation" :encouragement:. Definitely nail down as much math as you can fit in your curriculum (including a Real Analysis class), its extremely important for doing graduate coursework & research in economics and political science. Fortunately for you, you're a FSU undergrad which means you're already at a great place to take advantage of political economy research (and Koch money!). Both the Economics & Poli Sci departments have a bunch of people doing political economy stuff, so you should definitely check them out. The research experience will be very beneficial. Finally, its a bit too early to declare that you have no interest in teaching (secret: a lot of profs probably don't fancy teaching either) but you can do a PhD without any intentions of going into academia.

In summary, talk to your professors, exploit Koch money, and take math till you have a cerebral hemorrhage:victorious:

02-26-2014, 01:16 PM
Yankeefan has hinted at the connections (Liberty Fund, Koch Brothers) FSU has. With your interests, you should be strongly considering the program at GMU if you are okay with libertarian tendencies. FSU and GMU have very strong connections.

Oh, and GMU's program is suited to those not too interested in the teaching side of things, being in the DC area they have connections outside of academia.

02-26-2014, 02:06 PM
and take math till you have a cerebral hemorrhage

Isn't that called a stroke? OP, please don't have a stroke! I started planning for grad school as a sophomore as well. In my fourth semester I thought I needed to catch up with fellow TMers and took Calc 3, LA, Game theory and Intro to Real Analysis all once. I got straight A's, but we all know that doesn't mean I learned anything. I had to review a lot of stuff along the way.

Also, we as humans tend to think Ceteris Paribus when we're planning for the future, and that's what you're doing right now (that's what I did). We think that we're gonna be able to take all those classes, triple major with a minor in astrophysics, but as time goes by things may happen that will force you to make choices/sacrifices. I definitely hope this won't be the case for you. I just want to offer you a different perspective. Based on my own experiences (and they got me shut out from everywhere last cycle), if you have to make hard choices, choose to stay healthy and sane.

I also suggest you really connect to professors and really try to engage in research. That's the one and only way your recommenders will be able to truly know about your potential for grad school. Yankeefan gave you some good advice in exploring the resources available to you at FSU, and I suggest you follow it.

Looking forward to competing against you on the 2016 cycle!