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Thread: PhD Public Policy

  1. #11
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    Hi ! I have applied to 10 public policy schools . Not heard from any of them. I am particularly anxious about the Dec 1 deadline schools , as it is high time to get to hear from them.Any suggestions hailmary and blackkitty?

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    Hi all - I'm also interested in a PhD in Public Policy though I haven't applied this year. I'm interested to in your backgrounds, and how you came to the decision to apply to policy programs (instead of a core social science, for example). Could you post your profile and maybe a little about your decision?

    I thought for a while that I wanted to go the Econ route, but since graduating undergrad a couple years ago I realized I may not have either the skill or patience to deal with the proof-theorem style coursework that Econ is known for. After working in industry for about 18 months doing health economics research and program evaluation, I was recently hired as a Research Assistant at a very well-known think tank and my experience so far has opened my eyes to policy research and working on highly interdisciplinary teams. My research interests are quite varied and applied in nature (behavioral econ and applications to health policy, causal inference/program evaluation, health services research, predictive modeling) so it seems that I may have a good fit in policy programs. But I'm new to even considering these programs so I still don't know a whole lot of the qualities they look for in applicants, job placements, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by namah View Post
    Hi ! I have applied to 10 public policy schools . Not heard from any of them. I am particularly anxious about the Dec 1 deadline schools , as it is high time to get to hear from them.Any suggestions hailmary and blackkitty?
    Hi namah,

    Did you apply to the Phd or master's program, or both? Yeah, the only two programs I applied to also had Dec 1 deadlines. I usually check out results on the grad cafe: public policy • thegradcafe.com

    Which schools did you apply to? It seems that things have already started moving at Georgetown, UT Austin, UC Irvine, Minnesota, and Duke. I didn't apply to any of those schools though. For the ones I applied to, historically people would start hearing back in March. It seems that no there were no interviews before decisions were made.

    Although not everyone who's been contacted would actually upload their result on the grad cafe, it is still a good, and probably the only, source of info I could get, given that there isn't a distinct forum for Public Policy with lots of active users who keep each other posted.

    But hey, let's keep each other posted!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheTemp View Post
    I thought for a while that I wanted to go the Econ route, but since graduating undergrad a couple years ago I realized I may not have either the skill or patience to deal with the proof-theorem style coursework that Econ is known for.
    I am currently being brutally tortured by the theorems and proofs of the typical graduate econ program, and this is when I decided the econ route is not for me. :P

    If you have high undergrad GPA, solid quant preparation, good GRE scores, strong recommendation (either from your profs or researchers at the well-known think tank you work for), plus your very relecant work experience, you are a much stronger applicant than I am.

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    Instead of waiting and getting desperate, why not just send the admission admins an email and ask how things are going? Most likely they will either ignore me or resent me for asking stupid questions. But there's a slim chance that I might get a response. It's worth a try.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackKitty View Post
    I am currently being brutally tortured by the theorems and proofs of the typical graduate econ program, and this is when I decided the econ route is not for me. :P

    If you have high undergrad GPA, solid quant preparation, good GRE scores, strong recommendation (either from your profs or researchers at the well-known think tank you work for), plus your very relecant work experience, you are a much stronger applicant than I am.
    I don't envy you going through the pain at all. Fortunately I didn't get to the point where I actually suffered through it. Once I started working on applied, real-world, policy-relevant problems it was as if I'd seen the light . And I think I have (or will have) most of the preparation you mention... Although I don't have a very high undergrad GPA (~3.4) so we'll see what kind of boost I get from working at the think tank!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackKitty View Post
    I am currently being brutally tortured by the theorems and proofs of the typical graduate econ program, and this is when I decided the econ route is not for me. :P

    If you have high undergrad GPA, solid quant preparation, good GRE scores, strong recommendation (either from your profs or researchers at the well-known think tank you work for), plus your very relecant work experience, you are a much stronger applicant than I am.
    Hi BlackKitty,

    I can see how those interested in applied policy issues do not want to be bothered with esoteric theory and proofs. However, virtually all the Public Policy PhD programs I am aware of do require doctorate level microeconomics in the first year. Were you aware of that?

    Are you in a masters or doctorate economics program? In the US or UK or elsewhere? Thanks for starting this thread. Wishing you the best!

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    Quote Originally Posted by aeea View Post
    Hi BlackKitty,

    I can see how those interested in applied policy issues do not want to be bothered with esoteric theory and proofs. However, virtually all the Public Policy PhD programs I am aware of do require doctorate level microeconomics in the first year. Were you aware of that?

    Are you in a masters or doctorate economics program? In the US or UK or elsewhere? Thanks for starting this thread. Wishing you the best!
    Hey aeea, of course I was/am aware of that. I am actually doing first year Phd micro theory now. But given my econ background, I do need to apply to some field that's more or less related. It would be hard for me to try to get into a field, say in the humanities, that has absolutely nothing to do with quant analysis and econ. But still, compared to an actual econ phd, the coursework for a public policy phd might be less daunting and more applied.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackKitty View Post
    Hey aeea, of course I was/am aware of that. I am actually doing first year Phd micro theory now. But given my econ background, I do need to apply to some field that's more or less related. It would be hard for me to try to get into a field, say in the humanities, that has absolutely nothing to do with quant analysis and econ. But still, compared to an actual econ phd, the coursework for a public policy phd might be less daunting and more applied.
    Yes, I belive that after the mandatory doctoral level micro, the rest of the Public Plcy program should be more applied.

    Why is PhD micro so difficult for everyone?! Can you relate any of the micro theory you learn to the real world?

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    If anyone applied to Chicago Harris, I got a response from the PhD admissions director: they do require interviews and there will be a visit day for admitted students. Decisions usually go out in early March. But for a school with a Dec 1st deadline, you'd expect the decisions to go out in Feb, right? Even schools with Jan 1st deadlines send out decisions in Feb.

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