View Full Version : Is Probability theory relevant to materials in PhD econ?

07-30-2007, 04:38 AM
A quick question...

I am trying to choose my courses for next semester, and I am trying to decide how relevant it will be to take the 'Probability theory' class, if I do statistics instead of it. Is probability theory used for Phd econ?

07-30-2007, 04:43 AM

07-30-2007, 04:57 AM
Thanks... If I do the basic probability (which will be covered in the stats class) like hypothesis tests, t-test etc, will I still need to do the probability theory class in order to be prepared for econometrics?

07-30-2007, 05:22 AM
You're better off with probability theory. It relates to everything you do in the PhD curriculum; lots of micro and macro models have uncertainty in them. What you learn in stats - hypothesis testing and such - only matters for econometrics, and will be taught again from the beginning (but more consistently) in that course. It helps to have studied it in detail before, but in my view isn't as essential as a good probability background.

07-30-2007, 10:00 AM
If the probability theory course includes/is an introduction to measure- theoretic probability then I consider it very useful for PhD econ. A friend of mine in a top20 Econ PhD had a course that covered some measure theory and another course with some measure-theoretic probability and she told me hundreds of times that she wished she had some background in these stuff.

07-30-2007, 10:28 AM
Let me give a short syllabus of my statistics class. Please tell me whether it will be important to do another probability class, because that will mean I will have to sacrifice some other class.

Representation of sample data, methods of summarizing data, Probability, Correlation, Regression, Discrete random variables, continuous random variables, normal distribution, continuous distributions, binomial & poission distribution, hypothesis test.

Thank you.

07-30-2007, 12:42 PM
I think it will be very useful in the econometrics class (and wherever econometrics is useful).

07-30-2007, 01:29 PM
Sorry, but I am only trying to clarify... by using the word "it", do you mention the statistics course I mentioned above, or another probability course?

07-30-2007, 04:39 PM
by "it" I mean the statistics course you mentioned above. :)

07-30-2007, 09:57 PM
A required text for my class this fall is on probability theory. It is the Stats/metrics class in the first year here at UVA

07-30-2007, 10:52 PM
Both of these courses will improve your profile for admission and help prepare you for your graduate studies. If you can take only one of them, then it's a difficult choice. I'd be inclined to go with the probability theory course, since it's more fundamental and useful preparation for more than just econometrics. This goes double if the statistics course is mostly "applied" but the probability course looks fairly rigorous.

Another way you might decide, assuming they are taught by two different professors, is to ask which will be more useful for getting LORs.