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Like the title says, I decided a bit late to try to pursue an Econ PhD--it's been a major of mine for a while, and I've been taking some math courses, but I do graduate in a year, so there's not just a whole lot of adapting I can do at this point. I understand the programs are competitive, and if I can't get in to anything, that's fine. I'd just like some thoughts on what I can do with what little wiggle room I've got. I'll work on my applications plenty, but that's easier to change.


Graduating: May 2021


Type of Undergrad: Unranked U.S. University. BS in Econ, BA in Political Science & Spanish, Data Science minor

Undergrad GPA: 3.9+, should remain above or maybe dip into high 3.8s


Undergrad Econ Courses: AP Macro, Intro Micro, Intermediate Macro/Micro, Applied Econometrics, Theories of Economic Growth, Labor (As). Game Theory and History of Econ (the latter required) planned.

Math Courses: Linear Algebra (A). Calc III, Discrete Math, ODE planned.


LORs: Professor I had for Intro Micro and will have for Game Theory, other I had for three courses and will assist with (informal) research over the summer. Maybe an old CS professor who I will have for Discrete--not sure.


Programming: R, limited Python


Research Experience: None in Econ at the moment, will have limited experience after summer. Was chosen for a Canadian Fulbright for the summer, but, y'know, pandemic.


Work experience: Nothing relevant to Econ.


GRE (estimate) I haven't taken the real test yet, but from the practice tests, it seems like about 165Q/163V/4. Will study over the summer, obviously.



This post was for peace of mind, even though that's probably not what will come out of it. I don't have a great math background, or good research experience. I'll be doing a senior project during the spring semester, since that's how my university does things.


Main questions:

-What PhD rank, if any, should I be aiming at?

-If looking at Master's programs, should I focus on math, or econ?

-Past what rank should I write off PhD programs? Coming from an unranked UG, I'd like something with a positive reputation for graduate school. Just not sure right now if that's possible.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm predominately in the psychology PhD admissions realm...but I'm truly starting to think for just about all doctoral programs in competitive disciplines that the number of applications may may be the most important factor in gaining an acceptance.



The Impact of Multiple Grad School Apps on Acceptance Rates



I know it sucks...but it really seems like a numbers game. Find 15 programs that match your interests and where you have a personality fit.


Then just go all out on tailoring your apps to the top 10 you fit best with out of those. If stats are average, an applicant be all but guaranteed?

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