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Thread: Why exactly is the M.A. in Economics at NYU not a good step towards a top PhD ???

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    Question Why exactly is the M.A. in Economics at NYU not a good step towards a top PhD ???

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    I've read over and over this same story about the M.A in Economics at NYU not being a good setp towards a top PhD program in the US. But I can't seem to find the reasons for that! NYU is consistently ranked among the top 10 econ depts in the US. If you are a top student in the M.A., I believe you would get good recommendations from professors who would write good recommendation letters. You can take some courses at the Courant, which is one of the best math depts in the world. So, if you can take some courses in real analysis, probability, etc. I think you should be well equipped to apply for a top PhD.
    Please, can somebody tell me why is it not as good as it seems? So if you are an international student, like me, that hadn't had the chance of taking an undergrad course at Princeton, Stanford, Berkeley, etc., what do you do to get to a top PhD program? If not through a masters in one of the top econ depts in the US, I don't know how...

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    I'm not an expert, but I've heard that NYU's MA program is a money machine for the department. To maximize revenue, they admit a large number of students, meaning both that admission to the program is not a signal of outstanding ability and that students do not interact much with professors because the student\faculty ratio is so large. Also, I think the program has more of an applied than a theoretical bent, so it really won't teach you what you need for a PhD.

    As to what to do to get into a top Econ program, a Master's from a prestigious school in Europe or Canada (UBC, UWO, LSE, Toulouse, etc.) will help you a lot more than an MA from NYU.

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    Quote Originally Posted by divikid View Post
    NYU is consistently ranked among the top 10 econ depts in the US.
    A program that isn't designed as preparation for a Ph.D. simply isn't going to be good preparation for a Ph.D., regardless of where it's taught.

    Now, I have no idea what NYU's program is like, as I too have only heard the hearsay that it's not meant as Ph.D. preparation.

    You are right that it's possible you may get good letters and take some quality math courses at NYU, but as ImProcrastinating said: consider your other options. There are probably better places to go.

    By the way, a quick look at NYU's website seems to indicate that their program can be used as pre-PhD prep
    It is also an excellent preparatory degree for those students wishing to go on to a PhD program elsewhere in the U. S.
    but they could just be trying to lure students for money as ImProcrastinating has heard. Again, I don't know anything beyond the `common knowledge' of this board.

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    Thanks for the comments guys. I don't know about you, but I'd really want to hear from someone who has taken the M.A. at NYU. I think much of what is said is just speculation. I have a friend who has started the M.A. in August. I still didn't have the chance of asking him, but as soon as I have, I'll post here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by divikid View Post
    Thanks for the comments guys. I don't know about you, but I'd really want to hear from someone who has taken the M.A. at NYU. I think much of what is said is just speculation. I have a friend who has started the M.A. in August. I still didn't have the chance of asking him, but as soon as I have, I'll post here.
    Yeah, try talking to some people who've been through it (especially if you can find someone who went PhD afterwards).

    Here's my 2 cents. It's probably really hard to get into a top 10 program from NYU's MA program. But I imagine that if you do really well (GPA, GRE, take some upper level math courses, solid LORs), you probably can get into a program ranked between 25 - 50.

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    NYU's website claims that the MA program is a good stepping stone to a PhD in economics. However, in the FAQs about the MA program, they say this:
    The master's program does not lead to the PhD program. The two programs are quite separate and students cannot transfer from the master's program to the PhD program at NYU. However, our master's program can be used to lay the groundwork for students who wish to pursue a PhD program elsewhere, and an increasing number of our students have gone on to do a PhD in economics at other universities in the United States (e.g. Boston University). Indeed, the best qualified master's students sometimes take one or more PhD-level courses within the Department of Economics as credit towards their M.A. degree. In order to improve their math background, some students seeking to pursue a PhD also take graduate math courses. Students can also choose to apply for our Ph.D. program after completing the master's, although admission is very competitive and none of the master's work would transfer toward the PhD.
    The fact that they cite Boston University as a place where an alum has pursued a PhD suggests that the NYU masters does not regularly place graduates into top-20 PhD programs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by asquare View Post
    NYU's website claims that the MA program is a good stepping stone to a PhD in economics. However, in the FAQs about the MA program, they say this: The fact that they cite Boston University as a place where an alum has pursued a PhD suggests that the NYU masters does not regularly place graduates into top-20 PhD programs.
    I have the same concern,,,,

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    Quote Originally Posted by asquare View Post
    The fact that they cite Boston University as a place where an alum has pursued a PhD suggests that the NYU masters does not regularly place graduates into top-20 PhD programs.
    This may not matter though. I mean, let's face it, most people do not even want to go onto a PhD program after NYU masters (it's more for business economists and such who just want a masters and then find a job). And the few people who do want to pursue a PhD might have fairly mediocre (or in some cases bad) profiles, which is why they want a PhD but cannot apply to one straight out of undergrad. There is so much self selection going on here, that NYU's placement record might not have a lot to do with their program but rather the students who come through the program. Besides, getting a top 20 admit is very difficult, especially if your undergrad record isn't very strong. In fact, it seems a mediocre or weak undergrad profile might not even get one past the first round cuts at top 20 programs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ImProcrastinating View Post
    As to what to do to get into a top Econ program, a Master's from a prestigious school in Europe or Canada (UBC, UWO, LSE, Toulouse, etc.) will help you a lot more than an MA from NYU.
    From more or less 30 students, the placement from UTDT last year was:

    Juan Pablo Xandri - Department of Economics, Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
    Juan Matías Ortner - Department of Economics, Princeton University
    José Azar - Department of Economics, Princeton University
    Javier Donna - Department of Economics, Northwestern University
    Emiliano Marambio - Department of Economics, New York University
    Cecilia Parlatore - Department of Economics, New York University
    Florencia Borrescio Higa - Department of Economics, Brown University
    Federico Droller - Department of Economics, Brown University
    Nestor Sebastián Calónico - Department of Economics, University of Michigan
    Sebastián Lobo Yamín - Department of Finance, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
    Luciana Andrea Nicolier - Midi Pyrénées Sciences Economique, Université de Toulouse 1
    Manuel Macera - Department of Economics, University of Minnesota
    María Elisa Belfiori - Department of Economics, University of Minnesota
    Guillermo Raúl Beylis - Department of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
    Javier Cravino - Department of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

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    Quote Originally Posted by polkaparty View Post
    Now, I have no idea what NYU's program is like, as I too have only heard the hearsay that it's not meant as Ph.D. preparation.
    I have spoken with the top NYU MA student of 2006-2007 at the April flyout. He said that out of ~90 students, only one (he) was able to get into NYU PhD (or any good school ~top10-15). He was adamant that it's not a good preparation for PhD - he got lucky that, by chance, he already had some connections with the NYU faculty before doing the MA (through his consulting work experience). He decided to do MA because he was out of school for a number of years and wasn't committed to research initially.

    Like others have said above in this thread, the material there is of applied nature and is useful for people who want to work in the private sector/policy (true for most US MA's).

    US academic system is different from the Commonwealth. Since top undergraduates can enter PhD directly, terminal MA are used for orthogonal purposes (revenue, policy-training). On the other hand, UK/Canadian PhD programs generally require MA first, which necessitates that their Master's programs are useful for research work.
    Fly-outs attended: Princeton(03/27/07), UPenn(03/28/07), Yale(03/30/07), NYU(04/02/07), Stanford(04/05/07), NWU(04/06/07).
    Micro theory/Political economy interests

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