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Noodles
03-09-2014, 02:59 AM
I am debating whether to accept an unfunded offer for an MA in Econ, or to take a funded offer for an MSc in Statistics. Both are at UToronto. I am most interested in Econometrics at this point, and I would be able to enroll in the PhD Econometrics seq as a Stats student. The MSc in Stats would also grant the option of a research project and the department has also placed students in top 10 Econ PhD programs in the past as well. I have been dwelling on this for a while, and I am leaning more towards the MSc in Stats, but this could just be because I am attracted to the research experience (and money, haha). That being said, I do have funded offers from other Canadian Universities, but the net cost would be negative, since the funding offers are insufficient; the cost of paying tuition here is about the same as the amount I would have to borrow if I take a funded offer at another university.

So I am asking for peoples opinions on the following: do you think a MSc in Stats would be detrimental to my long-term goal of a Econ PhD (most likely in Econometrics, and other applied fields of economics)?


Type of Undergrad: Canadian BSc
Undergrad GPA: 3.72-3.75
Type of Grad: N/A
Grad GPA: N/A
GRE: N/A
Math Courses: Calc(A+), Adv Calc (A+), LinAlg I/II (A+/A), Intro to Proofs (B+), ODE(A+), Intro Abstract Alg (A+), Intro Complex Analysis (A+), Honours Topology (B), Honours RA (B), Advanced RA I/II(Grad) (A/A)
Stats Courses: Intro Prob (A+), Intro Stats (A+), Prob (A), Practical Stats (A), Theoretical Stats I/II (Grad) (A-/A), Applied Stats (Grad) I/II (A-/A)
Econ Courses: Intro Econ (B), intermediate macro/micro (A-/B). business stats (A-), math econ (B+), financial markets (A+), adv macro/micro theory (A+/A-), metrics (A)

Catrina
03-09-2014, 03:09 AM
Unless I'm missing something, the MSc in stats sounds like a much better option. If you want to study econometric theory, having that background in stats will almost certainly help you. If the department has placed students in top-10 economics programs in the past, then it really sounds like a great option.

The only potential issue that I would see is with getting letter writers, but if you are taking econometrics that may not be a problem.

moneyandcredit
03-09-2014, 03:28 AM
According to the MSc program's webpage (http://www.utstat.toronto.edu/wordpress/?page_id=1462), students are permitted to take electives in other departments. Doing that could potentially earn good letters, while the remainder of the program would deliver some great training in Econometric theory. Why not talk to the directors of both programs about your concerns?

Noodles
03-09-2014, 03:44 AM
Unless I'm missing something, the MSc in stats sounds like a much better option. If you want to study econometric theory, having that background in stats will almost certainly help you. If the department has placed students in top-10 economics programs in the past, then it really sounds like a great option.

The only potential issue that I would see is with getting letter writers, but if you are taking econometrics that may not be a problem.

The longer I dwell on it, the more I feel like the MSc in Stats is more beneficial, but I also feel the restricted pool of letter writers could be a problem. I've been thinking about whether or not a letter from a professor/research supervisor in Statistics is more beneficial than a letter from a professor in Economics, The former can comment on research capabilities and coursework, while the latter can comment on coursework only. I've been looking to see if any Econ profs are looking for an RA, but most RA positions are reserved for the Doctoral Stream MA students. I was pretty much told by the grad chair 'Don't bet on it' since I was only a regular stream admit.



According to the MSc program's webpage (http://www.utstat.toronto.edu/wordpress/?page_id=1462), students are permitted to take electives in other departments. Doing that could potentially earn good letters, while the remainder of the program would deliver some great training in Econometric theory. Why not talk to the directors of both programs about your concerns?

I have discussed my problem with both directors (albeit indirectly), the Stats department is okay with me taking Econometrics, as well as some math courses I am interested in (Asymptotic Methods, and possibly Stochastic Calculus). The Econ department is more strict on such matters, only 2 one-semester courses are allowed.

Econ profs have said that I should take the MA in Econ since it would be more beneficial, but I am not sure if this is genuine advice, or 'academic imperialism' as one of my philosophy professors put it. Especially since no reason is given other than "since you want to do economics".

tmnod
03-09-2014, 04:12 AM
I would guess that those who have got in top 10 Econ PhD programs as a stats master student have taken econ classes and have got reference letter(s) from econ professors. Therefore, I think that, if you go for the stats master, you should take econ classes and try to get letters from econ professors while engaging in research at the stats department, while you would just focus on the former and not the latter if you attend the econ master's program.

I think that, in terms of admissions, the stats master would help as much as the econ master only if you take econ classes and get letter(s) from econ professors. Of course, at the same time, you should complete the stats coursework and work hard in your research to get a strong letter from your supervisor at the stats department. Therefore, being a successful stats master student as a potential econ PhD applicant would be more demanding than being a successful econ master student as the potential applicant. However, if you manage to get letter(s) from econ professors, I think that a stats master would eventually benefit you more in terms of your career development.

So the bottom line is that a stats master may be a little riskier than an econ master in terms of admissions in that it may be harder to get letters from econ professors (but an econ master also has a risk of not getting letters from econ professors).

Noodles
03-23-2014, 06:26 AM
So I've been told by the econ department that if I do a Statistics degree (with a focus on Econometrics and related subjects), my application to Econ PhD programs will not be taken as seriously as those with Econ MAs.

However, I have found professors at top schools doing Econometrics with MSc in Statistics; but they got their degrees a while back. Do present Econ programs in the US dislike/discount applicants with non-Econ Masters?

coffeehouse
03-24-2014, 07:26 PM
A MSc in Statistics from my undergrad this year just into Chicago economics phd. He has a strong probability background, but other than that I know next to nothing about him. It can be done though, that's all I'm saying.