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Thread: Does non-economics research experience count for anything for PhD applications?

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    Does non-economics research experience count for anything for PhD applications?

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    I'm wondering if academic research experience outside economics counts for much, if anything, for economics PhD applications.

    I've done a research project in mathematics (in information and probability theory) and three projects in philosophy, including a master's thesis. The philosophy projects were quite technical and on the boundary of philosophy / decision theory / economics. None of these projects was empirical.

    Of course, I'll try to get research experience in economics but it would be helpful to know where I stand currently. Thanks!

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    Re: Does non-economics research experience count for anything for PhD applications?

    Might help a little, but were these projects published or were they undergraduate papers or coursework for your master's?

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    Re: Does non-economics research experience count for anything for PhD applications?

    Thanks for your response!

    They weren't published. The mathematics project started as a summer research project and continued into an undergraduate extended essay, which received a very high mark. My supervisor will be one of my letter writers.

    Two philosophy essays were undergraduate coursework and the thesis was master's coursework. Since the essays were just undergraduate coursework, I'm not sure if they really count / will be seen as proper research but they were highly original and received very high marks.

    The marks for all of these are on my transcript.

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    Re: Does non-economics research experience count for anything for PhD applications?

    To the extent they give your letter writers something to say, the projects will be helpful for admissions. Past that, not much. (Of course the skills you learned doing the projects will be valuable as you continue your studies.)

    One more thing, even though you didn't ask. Letters from economists are much more valuable than letters from mathematics and philosophy faculty.

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    Re: Does non-economics research experience count for anything for PhD applications?

    That's clear and helpful, thanks.

    Yes, I am aware that economists are preferred. I couldn't take any economics courses at undergrad so I don't know any economists from my undergrad institution. But it seems very bad not to have any letter writers from my undergrad institution and my maths essay supervisor knows me very well and taught me for several maths courses. So I think I am genuinely in a rare position in which a maths letter writer makes sense. I'd be very grateful to hear if you disagree though!

    I will ask economists for the remaining two letters.

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    Re: Does non-economics research experience count for anything for PhD applications?

    That's a sensible plan. One letter from a mathematician is okay.

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    Re: Does non-economics research experience count for anything for PhD applications?

    Great, thanks very much for your input

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