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Suggestions for Students Interested a PhD in Economics

Coursework
Economics Classes

• Advanced Coursework such as 4211, 4213 or 4412 or even 6000 level courses
• Other courses listed in Sample Programs for students interested in a PhD
• Look for elective classes offered by research active faculty
• Choose classes that you are interested in!
• Get to know your professors – it is not enough to just do well in a class
• Go to Office Hours

Non- economics classes

• Calculus I, 2, 3 and linear algebra are required
• Upper level statistics (esp a year-long prob/stats sequence) is strongly recommended
• Mathematical analysis course is strongly recommended
• Programming skills are strongly recommended (but need not be from coursework)

Research Experience

• Research experience is strongly recommended/required
• Start by reading the Opportunities page on the website

o Academic year positions – advertised via the listserv and the WIKI
o Summer internships – primarily for rising seniors but some are open to rising juniors
o Full-Time positions after graduation – 1-2 year positions

• Check the WIKI page regularly for updated positions
• If you have followed the advice above about getting to know your faculty then you can speak with him or her about a possible position.

Honors Thesis

• Writing an Honors Thesis is the most rewarding/demanding experience of the major
• Not a requirement for PhD admissions but highly recommended
• Start thinking and talking to faculty about your ideas early – hopefully you are taking economics classes that interest you and are going to faculty office hours
• See the Honors and Prizes page on the website for details about the process, tips for finding a topic and adviser as well as examples of past theses

Masters’ Programs

• Increasing number of people entering PhD programs with a M.A. degree
• Look for schools that have good placement records (such as Duke, LSE, Columbia)
• Look for a program with regular faculty teaching the M.A. classes
• Need to do very well if you want the M.A. degree to help you get into a PhD program

AEA Website
The American Economic Association’s Preparing for graduate school has links to resources online including information on:

• Graduate Degrees in Economics
• AEA Summer Training Program
• Math Preparation for Graduate School
• Program Rankings
• Considerations for Prospective Graduate Students

Advice ranging from how to determine whether or not a PhD is a good option for you to how to prepare for a PhD to how to be successful in a PhD program can be found on the Considerations for Prospective Graduate Students. Here are three highlights from that page:

BYU Guide (strongly recommended reading)
• Susan Athey’s advice
• CSWEP newsletter Getting Into and Finishing a PhD Program

1022 International Affairs Building (IAB)
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420 West 118th Street
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Ph: (212) 854-3680
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1022 International Affairs Building (IAB)

Mail Code 3308

420 West 118th Street

New York, NY 10027

Ph: (212) 854-3680
Fax: (212) 854-0749
Business Hours:
Mon–Fri, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.