View Full Version : Non Economics background - admissions inq

08-03-2007, 03:36 AM
Undergrad: Elect Eng from top Engineering school in my country
GPA ~ 3.5/4
Math courses: Calculus I, II, PDE, Optimization, Complex analysis, Number theory
Econ courses: Very small number-> Econ I (basic undergrad course), Economic Policy, Business Econ 101, Applied Econ.
Other courses: tons of EE ( i got a degree in that :D)
Job Exp: 2+ years in Financial services company as an analyst..
Econ Research exp: none
LORs: will come from my grad advisor and one Econ prof from school.. both should be good.

Anyone with same/similar background? Any suggestions about how easy or difficult is would a phd application in ivy schools would be?
If you know some one of similar background.. how did (s)he get thru..?
Is doing a masters (before applying for a phd) only way to get to the good schools?


08-03-2007, 10:35 AM
i think doing a masters in econ would certainly boost your chances, i am sure that every reasonable university (if not all) ask that applicants must have done atleast one semester of micro, macro and may be econometrics. you have done applied economics which is good but i guess not good enough

another problem that i see is that there are no probability, statistics and real analysis course. so i guess you have a good profile with bits and pieces missing which can all be filled via a masters degree

this is of course only my opinion and others may suggest a better alternative

good luck

08-03-2007, 11:37 AM
I agree with SMH; most top schools expect their students to have taken intermediate level micro and macro, as I recall, and courses in linear algebra and statistics. Complex and number theory are all well and good, but I don't think they'll add much to your admissions chances, realistically.

A Masters would help fill in the missing pieces.

08-03-2007, 01:46 PM
You can make it into a Top 20. Learn some intermediate micro and macro on your own. I have had classemates when I was undergrad who never took econ courses, but they were able to get into some Top 30 schools good luck! Don't waste your time doing a masters degree. Apply to a wide range of Phd programs to increase your chances

08-03-2007, 08:01 PM
I agree with the comments above: Engineering is good preparation, but most schools do ask for "intermediate micro" and "intermediate macro" as the minimal economics preparation. Taking those courses, or the master's level equivalents, would round out a strong profile (assuming that you also have good grades in the math classes you listed).

I think you'd still get into a good (though maybe not a top) school without taking more economics, though, assuming you have a strong LOR from that econ prof.

Karina 07
08-04-2007, 02:44 AM
I only took one econ course in undergrad, did a master's in international development (not economics), but was able to spin my master's as providing economics background anyway (well, it did). Combined with minimal math, I was really, really lucky, though, and the rest of my profile was very strong, I think.

As others say, most schools want intermediate micro and macro. See if you've done anything you can say gave you that background; if not, you might well have to do a master's.

But there might not be much harm in applying for admission this year anyway. Applications are cheap relative to the cost of waiting a year or two, so even if your chances to get into your ideal program are fairly low, it might be worth it to take that chance.

08-04-2007, 08:39 AM
I believe that to imbue a bit of specificity, you should apply to a few top Masters (LSE, UPF, UBC, UfT) and to a widely spread spectrum of PhD programs (in the 10-40 range).

If your PhD admits does not work out well, you can always fall back on your secondary options.

Good luck!