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Hi, I'm new here and am looking to apply to econ PhD programs this coming Fall 2016. My question pertains to the fact that I'm not coming from the typical econ/math double major or major-minor background (profile below). Typically, I've heard advice that two out of the three letters should be coming from your undergrad/grad degree, and usually I've heard something like this: 1. One letter from professor in econ or math, detailing your performance as a student 2. One letter from a thesis advisor or something you were an RA for 3. One letter from a more senior member from where you work (if out of college, like I am) However, because I don't have an econ/math background, I have no relevant research work from that time in my life. My graduate degree is in Applied Economics, but again, not much research there. Most of my research work is coming from my current job, as a Fed RA. Would it be odd or bad if I had two letters from the Fed? One letter I have lined up already: He was my professor in my grad program, now I work with him, and I am currently working on coauthoring a paper (maybe more than one) with him that should hopefully be submitted by the time I apply. I'm thinking of having one from him detailing my research capabilities and another from a more senior staff member who could use their notoriety or senior stature to discuss my work ethic. Is this too out-of-the-box to do? I don't want to appear too different from the standard applicant, which I'm afraid I already very much do. Any advice you could offer on recommendation letters or, from looking at my profile, where I should shoot for ranking-wise would be greatly appreciated. Profile: Undergrad Major: BA International Studies (private, research university, unranked econ PhD program) Undergrad GPA: 3.8 Relevant Honors: Dean's List multiple semesters, graduated Magna cum Laude, does graduating very early count as an honor? Undergrad Math Courses: Calculus I (A), Linear Algebra (B+), Real Analysis (B+) Undergrad Econ Courses: Intermediate Macro/Micro (A,A) Grad: MS in Applied Economics (private, research university, top 25 econ PhD program) Grad GPA: doesn't report, but around 3.5 Grad Math Courses: Math for Economists (A), Statistics (B) Grad Econ Courses: Macro/Micro (A, B+), Econometrics (B), International/Open-Econ Macro (A+), Regional Economics (B) bad format/professor, Macroeconometrics (A), Microeconometrics (B) professor was new, Development Micro (A), Topics in Macro (focused on banking/fin. crises models) (A) Other Courses: International Econ Policy (A), Econ. of Transnational Crime (B+) GRE: verbal and writing are fine, not where I need to be for quant, shooting for 165+ Letters of Recommendation: 1 awesome one from a former professor in my grad program who I now work with and am currently coauthoring a labor paper with, otherwise I have not figured this out (hence my discussion above) Research Experience: Fed RA, thanked in papers, worked on many projects, and am working on coauthoring a paper now Teaching Experience: volunteered to teach financial literacy, not much otherwise Research Interests: Development, Labor, Banking/Financial crises models, Macro issues SOP: Need to address my shift into econ from my undergrad degree, detail outside things I've done to increase my knowledge such as sitting in on PhD Macro class (was unable to actually register), taking free courses through MIT's Open Courseware and trying to learn more about labor search models on my own Other Stuff: Stata, Matlab, SAS, Fame (is this even relevant?), I'd say I have a pretty good understanding of theoretical models which I think is a plus Thanks!
Hi all, Does anyone have advice as to whether I am ready to apply (in December 2015) to well-ranked Econ and ARE programs? I am interested in development economics and now have a couple years (total) research experience. I am looking at Econ programs at schools strong in development: Brown, Duke, Cornell, U Michigan, Georgetown, Harvard?, Northwestern? I am looking at Applied Econ at: Minnesota, Cornell, Berkeley, Harvard, UCDavis?, Maryland? Very open to suggestions for programs, and interested in whether people think my profile has a shot. Masters: International Development, Specialization in global economic policy and quantitative methods at Sciences Po (well-ranked European school). Classes: Economics of Development (A-), Microeconomics of Development (A), Macroeconomics of Development (B+), Intro to Econometrics for Development (A), Public Finance (A+), Impact Evaluation (A+), Globalization and Economics (A), Randomized Experiments (A) Math in Grad: Stats I (A) and Advanced Stats (A), Thesis: I did a quantitative development economics thesis under a known (non-academic) economist and received honours for it. Hoping to present it at some conferences this year. Undergraduate: Development at a top (1) Canadian school Econ: Micro 1 (A-), Macro 1 (A-) and 2 intermediate development econs (A- and B+). Math: Linear and Vector Geometry(A), Probability and Statistics (A) This year, I am taking Cal I (now), Cal II (summer), Cal III (fall) I will take Real Analysis and Differential Equations before the start of academic year 2016, I will write this on my application, but work + Cal III means I can't take them earlier. Other: I landed a one year research fellowship at a Research Centre where I am working on my own development economics research project, including fieldwork, under the supervision of an economist and development specialist. This will help my proposal as I hope to continue to work on these themes for my dissertation. Internship at well-known development economics research lab (6 months). Funded with scholarship to work at well-known International Organization working on themes of interest to me in development econ. (6 months) Letters: MA Thesis advisor (IO economist, PhD Berkeley), Current Research Supervisor (PhD UToronto), Professor at Grad School (PhD Polytechnique) All are development economists, know my work well, and will be strong. I know my weaknesses are (a) Math, I'm hoping with Cal will be enough for admission, then I will take the more advanced courses to prepare myself. (b) Non-econ major - I hope the work I've done so far makes up for this! Was going to wait to apply, to have math and try to publish what I'm working on now - but I don't have much lined up fo the next couple years, so I'd rather start my 5 year PhD earlier rather than later. Can anyone let me know if they think I'm ready to apply this December? Advice for potential programs and their rankings? Other advice? Thank you!
Hey everyone. Nice forum you all have here. I am favorably impressed by the collegiality. I'm in my early 40s and about 35 hours away from finishing and Econ undergrad program at UIC. (I have noticed quite a bit of caginess about what school posters attend, not sure if this is just habit or policy?) I had a crummy go at college in my late teens, so I went back with a pretty gimpy GPA, but it is coming up very fast as I am in the "a B is failing" mindset, more or less. I think i will manage to graduate with a 3.25 or so and with distinction in the dept. My interest in econ definitely runs more along the lines of an introspective generalist with a lot of real life experience in job markets and other cultures and the like than that of any sort of "quant." I have thoroughly resigned myself to getting through some real analysis before I'm done, and i will attempt to even like it, but it is not what interests me about econ. As such, I will cop to a bias against excessive mathematicization of human experience and pretty deep skepticism about microfoundations, assumed rationality and whatnot. I am most interested in attempts to fuse schools of thought or disciplines to come to terms with the fact that institutions matter, people have very transitive, endogenous preferences, etc. (Did i just hear a big needle scratch followed by silence?! I think not, but just asking.) To that end, I would be interested to hear from more generalists, heterodox folks, those who think economic history matters (even perhaps more than anything?) and any other cranks or fellow travelers! I am definitely mulling PhD programs and those with a strong interdisciplinary leaning strike me as a likely better fit. Please feel free to share any experiences/thoughts along those lines. Cheers!