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Profile Evaluation Econ Ph.D. 2014


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Hello everyone,


I need help figuring out my chances of getting into Econ Ph.D programs in 2014.

GPA: 3.9/4.0 Economics and Mathematics double major (3.9 GPA econ and 4.0 Math) from a large public college, doesn't offer Econ Ph.D.

GRE: 156Q, 149V, 4.0 W ( will retake, however the verbal score wont be higher than 160, aiming for 165 and above for math).

Research experience: was chosen out of 350 applicants for a summer research program at my school in Economics, Senior honors thesis in progress (in Econ and History)

Tutoring and TA experience.

Letters of rec: 1- from my summer mentor, not Econ ph.d but very well-published, 2- from my professor for Micro, Carnegie-Mellon graduate, 3- not sure whether to ask my thesis adviser, who is not an Econ professor ( History), or I know the chairperson for the econ department very well, but never taken a class with him.

Courses: Calculus I, II, III (all As), Graph theory (A), Diff equations I and II (in progress), Probability course (in progress), Statistics (A), Numerical analysis (in progress)

Economics: Macro (A-), Micro (A), Inter Macro (A-), Econometrics (A), Labor (A), Pol Economy (A), Econ and Ethics (in progress), Inter Micro (in progress), Financial Econometrics (in progress), Adv Labor (in progress)

I will take the courses that are "in progress" during my senior year.

Research interests: labor economics, behavioral econ, experimental, pol economy

The reason why I haven't taken the courses earlier is that I changed my major in my junior year, so that's why I have to cram all the necessary courses in my senior year


Which schools would be appropriate for my profile and whats the chance of getting funding? I was looking at Berkley and San Diego, also I was looking at some abroad like UZurich and Mannheim

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I don't usually reply to these, but I'm bored, so here goes:


First, a History PhD is probably about as good as a blank sheet of paper. You need someone to argue to adcoms that you have the potential to do good economics research. For that you need an Economist. All three letters should be Econ PhD's, if possible. Is your first letter an Economist? If you don't know profs very well, time to start popping in during office hours.


Also, this is likely to be the standard response:

- Your GRE's gonna kill you if you don't make the cutoff. Wait to retake until you're sure you can get well above 160.

- Can you switch out one of the math classes for Real Analysis? That's the only other must have math class you're missing. (Edit: I missed the lack of LA, as yankeefan notes. This is super important.)

- You need to cast a much wider net. Honestly, you're an extreme for the US schools you listed (with your current GRE you wouldn't get past the auto-reject pile), but you might be competitive for a top 30 (maybe?) type place with RA and better GRE.

- If you're dead set on a Top 10-20 admit, start looking at Master's programs.

Edited by mcsokrates
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No linear algebra? No Real Analysis? I'd be less worried about getting into a PhD and more worried about whether or not your school is accredited. I can't imagine a math major not be required to take either of those courses, even worse if it was a specially designed joint math-econ major.


And by the way, even if your school is accredited, it is going to be very hard for your application to be given serious consideration without either of the aforementioned courses, especially the former.


Finally, GRE retake without a doubt.

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I believe Real Analysis is called Advanced Calculus I at my school.


Take it. But if you are strapped for time or dealing with scheduling conflicts your first priority should be a linear algebra course if you haven't taken one already.


Would taking numerical analysis course be helpful?


No. It could be useful if you if decide to go into computational econ, but in terms of admissions it has a low priority.

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Yes I forgot to mention that I will be taking Linear Algebra next semester. Is it better for me to apply next year when I will have all my grades and courses in and probably better letters of rec?

Thank you for your replies!


If you apply this year, definitely send your Fall grades out to everywhere you've applied. Ad-coms don't start reviewing applications (with rare exceptions) until after the ASSA meetings in January.


If you think your profile isn't top notch and you will have stellar grades this year, maybe wait. On the other hand, maybe apply, but also apply to some masters programs and / or RA job openings.

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You should note that not all schools accept fall grades. You should verify before applying, although I think this is a small minority. Not having linear algebra on your transcript can be very problematic.


On a side note, I suspect that you are at a directional state school (or something there about...seriously, what school offers numerical analysis without linear algebra as a prereq?). Temper your expectations. Your letters and GPA will count for less.

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They dont offer numerical analysis. I have to get a permit to take it at a another school in the same uni system, and they dont offer Advanced Calculus either, but mostly pure math like Combinatorics, Graph theory, Topology, Elements of Mod Algebra, and some Actuarial Math. That's why I was having trouble picking applied math electives, bc there are pretty much none offered. Moreover advisers are not very helpful as far as what courses are necessary for econ. I am glad I found this website, otherwise I would be taking Combinators next semester.
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Topology is only offered every odd spring semester I believe, and so is Advanced Calc and Diff Equations, they wont be offered next year. My school has a very strong business school, but there are not that many students in the arts and sciences school, even though we have very strong math faculty. But Combinatorics and Graph Theory are offered every semester!
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