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Profile evaluation -- Is a PhD even in the cards for me?


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Hi all,


I really don't know what range of schools to be looking at, or if I even have a chance of getting into an econ PhD program at all right now. I definitely want to at least keep that option open, perhaps by pursuing a masters or RA job first. Any brutally honest advice/info would be appreciated.


Undergrad: Solid flagship state school, T50 econ

GPA: 3.6 overall, 3.9 in economics classes

Scores: 166Q/165V

Classes Mathematical economics -- Varian Analysis (B+), Multivariable calc (B), Linear Algebra (C+), Diff Eqs ©, Statistics (B+)

A's in Intermediate Micro/Macro, Econometrics, Econ of Taxation, Environmental Econ, Law and Econ, Banking and Finance, etc...


Experience: Summer internship at policy think tank, econ tutor

LORs: Should be solid

Interests:Policy, tax, public econ, macro


I know, my math is really a weak spot. Will I be able to get into a PhD program at all? Should I aim for an MSc/MA instead? How about a Public Policy PhD?


Some PhD programs I'm interested in: UC Boulder, GWU, Georgetown, Oregon, Harris (policy), Duke (Sanford policy)...

Masters: LSE, PSE, Barcelona, Duke, Tillburg, Tolouse


Am I in over my head or just psyching myself out?




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First of all, talk to the professors at your school. They are professors - and adcoms - for a top 50 program and could give you a pretty decent assessment of your chances.


However, all your math classes are B's and C's. The C+ in lin alg stands out. This will hurt you a lot for any econ PhD program even a lower ranked one. The lack of real analysis will also hurt. As far as a policy PhD, I am not sure you fully understand what that entails. Look more into that to see if it really fits your interests.


The work as an econ tutor is irrelevant. The summer internship at a policy think tank might help if you did serious econometric work working under an economist, but otherwise it will be irrelevant.


I would talk to the professors at your school to see if one of them would take you on as an RA while taking some more classes. I am not sure you would really be competitive for the top masters degrees in Europe, but I am not knowledgeable about those programs.

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