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pookie bear
09-13-2008, 01:50 AM
I'm curious if anyone has any insight into this program. I have read what is on Berkeley's website, but does anyone know anything else about the program? How hard is it to be admitted?

Karina 07
09-13-2008, 06:18 AM
Pretty sure I wrote something about this before if you search back. If you're already in the Econ Ph.D. program, you can just DO it. You don't need to apply for it, you just take courses (maybe go speak with the grad department chair to make sure they're okay) and then sit an exam at the end of it. Same for the Stats MA.

constrainedoptimizer
09-13-2008, 10:15 AM
If you're strictly looking to be a graduate math student, M.A. admission is next to impossible. It is there, along with the Stat M.A. to supplement the education of PhD students from other departments.

OneMoreEcon
09-13-2008, 02:55 PM
If you're strictly looking to be a graduate math student, M.A. admission is next to impossible. It is there, along with the Stat M.A. to supplement the education of PhD students from other departments.


Last I looked, years ago, this wasn't exactly true. Top math departments offer an MA like top econ programs... along the way to the PhD, but no stand-alone MA program. The exception to the rule, including Berkeley, is that many public schools have stand-alone MA programs. My guess is that public schools need more TAs for the undergrads, so they keep the MA programs.

As for the OP's question, I have no idea how difficult it is to be admitted to Berkeley's MA program.

pookie bear
09-13-2008, 05:26 PM
The reason I ask was that the Berkeley website made it sound like their MA program was more of a pre-professional program and not preperation for a math Phd. Perhaps it would be less competitive.

I am interested in applying to Math MA programs instead of applying to safety programs in econ. Similar to what Jeeves has done.

jeeves0923
09-13-2008, 05:34 PM
I am interested in applying to Math MA programs instead of applying to safety programs in econ. Similar to what Jeeves has done.

The main reasons I've done this are
(a) I'm funded
(b) The program I'm in allows me to take a few PhD econ courses to count towards the Math MS

In that manner, I see it as strictly dominating an Econ MA. I'd say if you want to do this route, both (a) and (b) are necessary to make it worthwhile.

pookie bear
09-13-2008, 09:33 PM
Thanks for the input Jeeves. I am curious about this program:

1) Because I think I can take some econ PhD classes and have them count towards my MA.

2) I really like math.

I think funding is unlikely though so that is something to consider.

Karina 07
09-14-2008, 12:30 AM
Thanks for the input Jeeves. I am curious about this program:

1) Because I think I can take some econ PhD classes and have them count towards my MA.

2) I really like math.

I think funding is unlikely though so that is something to consider.

With regards to 1), you would be able to have 3-4 non-math courses count toward your MA, but if you're thinking in terms of econometrics, I think they'd want the second year sequence (i.e. the stuff that's prep for the field exam) rather than the first year sequence. I could be wrong, maybe it would be different for people who aren't actually staying at Berkeley for the Econ Ph.D., but. And I don't think other econ Ph.D. classes would count, outside of metrics. You could, however, also have some of those courses be grad stats courses. ARE also has a course on dynamic methods which sounds interesting but I've never checked out, and maybe they'd count that. They also like to see some pure theory courses in the math department; probably either the 202A/B or 218A/B sequence would be most appropriate there.

Personally, I don't think this would be very useful for admissions purposes, at least not compared to other common things like RAing. It would be hard for you to get to know econ profs this route.

pookie bear
09-14-2008, 12:47 AM
Thanks for the advice guys.

constrainedoptimizer
09-14-2008, 09:13 AM
Last I looked, years ago, this wasn't exactly true. Top math departments offer an MA like top econ programs... along the way to the PhD, but no stand-alone MA program. The exception to the rule, including Berkeley, is that many public schools have stand-alone MA programs. My guess is that public schools need more TAs for the undergrads, so they keep the MA programs.


I just spoke to the math department there approximately 5 weeks ago in regards to the exact question of this thread.

pookie bear
09-14-2008, 08:19 PM
Could you elaborate on what the department said or is it all summed up in your first post?

constrainedoptimizer
09-15-2008, 07:44 AM
Could you elaborate on what the department said or is it all summed up in your first post?

No problem. I am basically at Berkeley redoing all of my math. I took to the department fairly well, and I am even having one of the professors (who's a Field Medal winner) write me one of my LORs. I thought it would be neat to apply to their M.A. program in math along with all of the other schools I am applying to, as a back-up in case I didn't get into the econ departments I was hoping to. I went and talked to my math adviser about this and he said that everyone applies to the PhD program. They basically don't even look at M.A. applicants. The Berkeley M.A. program is there simply to allow people already admitted into the math PhD program a second option, and as I mentioned earlier, for graduate students from other departments to supplement their quantitative backgrounds. I suppose if you're really set on it, you may want to apply directly to the math PhD program and then downgrade to the M.A.

Now this is directly from my adviser's mouth. You may want to email George Christ and see what his take on it is and let me know if he tells you different.

If you're interested in the PhD program, you'll have to take the math subject test and have all of the normal math pre-reqs under your belt.

pookie bear
09-15-2008, 04:31 PM
Thanks for the clarification, I was just looking at the math program as a back-up, but it sounds fruitless.

jeeves0923
09-15-2008, 04:37 PM
maybe you could try a lower ranked math program as a backup- a place where people actually go for master's in math regularly.

Columbia comes to mind. As part of their program, I think you can take courses in game theory and econometrics.

pookie bear
09-15-2008, 06:52 PM
That sounds right up my alley Jeeves, I'll take a look. Are there any other schools you can suggest?

constrainedoptimizer
09-16-2008, 08:03 AM
Thanks for the clarification, I was just looking at the math program as a back-up, but it sounds fruitless.

Me and you both, Jeeves.