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Thread: Guidance/Feedback for Phd Ag/Applied Economics

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    Guidance/Feedback for Phd Ag/Applied Economics

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    I am looking for some general guidance for applying to Ag Econ PhD programs for Fall 2021.

    I am a MS student at a strong Applied Economics department at a major land grant school. For the most part, I think I have a strong profile: all As in graduate school (extra statistics courses, linear algebra, in addition to 2 course sequence in micro and 2 course sequence in econometrics). TA experience, very practical RA experience, a rather relevant thesis, as well as work experience after undergrad. My undergraduate career was rather shaky, which can't be corrected at this point, but I think I make up for that with work experience and my masters level work.

    FWIW, I am a domestic student and have a real drive to work as a researcher in the agricultural economics field, primarily in the area of international trade and trade policy.

    I think my biggest drawback is my GRE score right now - 163 quantitative (83rd percentile). I still think I can get above 90th percentile and will take it again, but didn't improve the last time, despite a lot more preparation.

    My question is specific to Ag Econ programs, how much consideration is given to GRE in these departments and is a 163 a non-starter for someone in my position? I had really hoped to target Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa State (all ag/applied economics), but also Penn State and Syracuse (traditional economics departments).

    Ideally I can improve my quant score and be the best candidate possible. But if not, does anyone have some suggestions for some departments (ag econ or traditional) that I should target, and would offer some good training in trade and policy?

    Thank you in advance!

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    Re: Guidance/Feedback for Phd Ag/Applied Economics

    A friend of mine who did MS from Montana State (a top 5 ag econ MS program) has a very similar profile as yours. He scored 164 in GRE quant and 170 in verbal. He also has the drive to work in the ag econ research field particularly in the Midwest. His GPA was slightly lower than yours though, at 3.70 (with a B+ in real analysis as an extra course with the math department).

    This profile got him into Minnesota, UC Davis, North Carolina State and Iowa State, all four departments he applied to.

    He had a really amazing master's thesis and top recommendations from the faculty recognized in their field. I'm sure you can pull off the recs part if you did great, and are from a strong land-grant applied econ MS program yourself.

    So I'd say 163 can still take you to good ag econ PhD programs if your overall profile is great.

    Not sure about Penn State and Syracuse econ programs though. I heard somewhere in this same board that the top 10 ag econ programs (which all four of the above are) are equivalent in terms of competency in admissions and overall rigor to the top 40 general econ programs. One of my other friends got into U Washington with a 165, and another one got into American U (DC) and U Mass Amherst with 163. So it looks fine!
    Last edited by SSh; 07-26-2020 at 05:03 AM.

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    Re: Guidance/Feedback for Phd Ag/Applied Economics

    Quote Originally Posted by SSh View Post
    A friend of mine who did MS from Montana State (a top 5 ag econ MS program) has a very similar profile as yours. He scored 164 in GRE quant and 170 in verbal. He also has the drive to work in the ag econ research field particularly in the Midwest. His GPA was slightly lower than yours though, at 3.70 (with a B+ in real analysis as an extra course with the math department).

    This profile got him into Minnesota, UC Davis, North Carolina State and Iowa State, all four departments he applied to.

    He had a really amazing master's thesis and top recommendations from the faculty recognized in their field. I'm sure you can pull off the recs part if you did great, and are from a strong land-grant applied econ MS program yourself.

    So I'd say 163 can still take you to good ag econ PhD programs if your overall profile is great.

    Not sure about Penn State and Syracuse econ programs though. I heard somewhere in this same board that the top 10 ag econ programs (which all four of the above are) are equivalent in terms of competency in admissions and overall rigor to the top 40 general econ programs. One of my other friends got into U Washington with a 165, and another one got into American U (DC) and U Mass Amherst with 163. So it looks fine!
    thanks for sharing! looks like you have many friends applying throughout the country!

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