Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
2711383

MPP/MPA for someone looking to switch from IR to economics?

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

I graduated a while (3 years) ago with an IR major. In the time since I've become very interested in economics and have been exploring the possibility of opening up a path towards an econ PhD. 

My math background is strong (for an IR major, not for an econ major). I've taken Calculus 1-3, Stats, and a proof based linear algebra course with a real analysis module.

My econ background is not so strong, just intro to micro and intro to macro and then some tangential courses like international economics, international finance, and international political economy. 

I think the best path forward would be a very quantitatively heavy MPP/MPA that keeps the professional door open for me while also letting me take grad-level econ and math courses that can help me get good letters for an eventual econ PhD.

I know the MPA/ID would be the ideal program for this. The econ track at WWS would also be pretty great (less confident about getting in there, though). I think the SAIS MIEF could be useful but maybe a little too short and professionally geared to help with PhD applications.

 

Any others I should consider? 

Edited by 2711383

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, 2711383 said:

I graduated a while (3 years) ago with an IR major. In the time since I've become very interested in economics and have been exploring the possibility of opening up a path towards an econ PhD. 

My math background is strong (for an IR major, not for an econ major). I've taken Calculus 1-3, Stats, and a proof based linear algebra course with a real analysis module.

My econ background is not so strong, just intro to micro and intro to macro and then some tangential courses like international economics, international finance, and international political economy. 

I think the best path forward would be a very quantitatively heavy MPP/MPA that keeps the professional door open for me while also letting me take grad-level econ and math courses that can help me get good letters for an eventual econ PhD.

I know the MPA/ID would be the ideal program for this. The econ track at WWS would also be pretty great (less confident about getting in there, though). I think the SAIS MIEF could be useful but maybe a little too short and professionally geared to help with PhD applications.

 

Any others I should consider? 

So here are some things I recommend you think about:

1. If you have sold your self on getting an MPP as a route to an intense Econ PhD, I would say the best 3 options for you are tied with:

HKS (just take more quant classes), WWS, and Chicago - Harris.

The tier below that would be:

Michigan Ford - CMU - Heinz 

2. I don't think SAIS is a good option for doing an Econ PhD simply because SAIS, and Johns Hopkins have a rather narrow (though very important) connection to some Econ aspects, but it isn't wide. For example, behavior economics would be something you wouldn't see that much at SAIS. I don't think you want limit yourself with Econ in a Master's program. At the end of the day, you never know what you will actually really care about academically. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Boolakanaka said:

WWS....there is a very good reason why their name was changed—Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.

That's too long and everyone knows what I'm talking about. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, 2711383 said:

That's too long and everyone knows what I'm talking about. 

Glad to see you are  enlightened and cognizant of the profound historical vitriol and public policy that dictated this long awaited change....nothing like the  premium of expediency and brevity to trump over being on the right side of history. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want to get an econ PhD, do not - and I cannot stress this enough - do not get an MPA. Speaking of Harvard's MPA-ID, if you go to the open day, Dani Rodrik will literally give a speech to you, in which he will literally tell you that, if you want to get a PhD later, this is not the right program for you. MPAs and other professional policy degrees are designed for people who want to work in policy. They do not provide the right opportunities for someone who wants to get a PhD. Some degrees in this general area now offer relatively sophisticated economic and mathematical coursework - because that is what is increasingly required to succeed in many policy fields. A lot of the time these course offerings are not rigorous for hte purposes of demonstrating that you can do PhD-level work. Aside from that, a lot of econ people think people get MPAs when they're not good enough for an econ PhD. So don't do this. Make a choice that sets you up for success.

If you want an econ PhD, you have broadly two avenues open to you. One, if you can do applied quantitative work, try to get an RAship at your local university, J-PAL, the Fed, some other econ RAship (you should do this anyway because it's required for the application and because it's a good way to determine whether you actually like the work). The math classes you have plus an RAship doing quantitative work sets you up to apply to mid-tier PhDs directly. Otherwise, get a 2 year masters in econ with a thesis option. If you want to go to a prestigious econ school (not at all a requirement to be a successful career economist, unless you want to be head of DEC or a Harvard professor), get a prestigious econ masters, like PSE or Bocconi. One year taught masters at places like LSE are not prestigious. One year taught masters that track the top 10-25% of the class into the PhD, like BGSE, are prestigious. Your best source of info on the internet is urch.com

Finally, treat your PhD preparation as an exercise in determining whether this is the right path for you. Both on the downside (a lot of plenty talented, mathematically gifted people end up hating econ and dropping out) and on the upside (depending on what you want to specialize in, you may find better career prospects by doing PhD Finance - especially if you want to go into academia).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, ExponentialDecay said:

If you want to get an econ PhD, do not - and I cannot stress this enough - do not get an MPA. Speaking of Harvard's MPA-ID, if you go to the open day, Dani Rodrik will literally give a speech to you, in which he will literally tell you that, if you want to get a PhD later, this is not the right program for you. MPAs and other professional policy degrees are designed for people who want to work in policy. They do not provide the right opportunities for someone who wants to get a PhD. Some degrees in this general area now offer relatively sophisticated economic and mathematical coursework - because that is what is increasingly required to succeed in many policy fields. A lot of the time these course offerings are not rigorous for hte purposes of demonstrating that you can do PhD-level work. Aside from that, a lot of econ people think people get MPAs when they're not good enough for an econ PhD. So don't do this. Make a choice that sets you up for success.

If you want an econ PhD, you have broadly two avenues open to you. One, if you can do applied quantitative work, try to get an RAship at your local university, J-PAL, the Fed, some other econ RAship (you should do this anyway because it's required for the application and because it's a good way to determine whether you actually like the work). The math classes you have plus an RAship doing quantitative work sets you up to apply to mid-tier PhDs directly. Otherwise, get a 2 year masters in econ with a thesis option. If you want to go to a prestigious econ school (not at all a requirement to be a successful career economist, unless you want to be head of DEC or a Harvard professor), get a prestigious econ masters, like PSE or Bocconi. One year taught masters at places like LSE are not prestigious. One year taught masters that track the top 10-25% of the class into the PhD, like BGSE, are prestigious. Your best source of info on the internet is urch.com

Finally, treat your PhD preparation as an exercise in determining whether this is the right path for you. Both on the downside (a lot of plenty talented, mathematically gifted people end up hating econ and dropping out) and on the upside (depending on what you want to specialize in, you may find better career prospects by doing PhD Finance - especially if you want to go into academia).

I do completely agree with you about MPA and 1 year Masters at LSE not being the route towards a PhD, but I know quite a few MPP grads who went the elite Econ PhD route (Harvard/Chicago and etc.). If someone has time + money +  wants to hedge their future career (as in not sure if they want to do PhD or go a professional route), I have seen the MPP option exercised quite successfully. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.