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Hey all,

As application season is rapidly approaching, I'm feeling more pressure to refine the programs I'll be applying to this fall, and it's proven to be more of a struggle than I anticipated, and my university graduate advisors are not the best, which brings me here.

A little about me:

I graduated a little over two years ago with a B.A. double major in Economics and Political Science from a medium-sized regional university (a satellite campus of the University of Colorado). The academic side of my application is definitely my biggest strength: 3.9 overall GPA, 4.0 in econ classes, high distinction honors in political science, named the outstanding graduate in the department of economics. I did an internship for my city doing some cost analysis, two years of unrelated work after graduation, and I just started a year long commitment to Americorps VISTA getting work experience directly related to economic development. I've gotten pretty good letters of recommendation in the past.

All that being said, as a double major I didn't have time to take pretty much any of the math requirements for graduate econ (Calc II and stats were the highest I went). I did take an advanced microeconomics course which was designed to be an intro to grad school courses and I felt like I grasped the concepts and applied math as something I could learn. I did some independent research for professors but nothing published. Also, my school is obviously not even top 30. I plan on taking the GRE in October, my diagnostic tests have put me 160+ on both sections but who knows what will happen on test day.

I'm extremely interested in economics specifically as it relates to policy, development, and natural resources, but I love how the econ methodology can be applied to almost anything. However, I was most interested in the "fringe" econ courses I took in school like experimental economics and the Austrian school (seems grad programs like GMU that have faculty doing this aren't as respected, yet still require the quant background). I was also interested in the security studies side of poli sci. I'm mostly looking at PhD programs with funding, but I'm not opposed to applying to a masters program as a stepping stone. I could see myself in academia but I also would love to work for a policy think tank or something in the private sector. I'm passionate about the subject matter and have known I've wanted to go back to school for a long time but haven't due to personal circumstances. I'm really interested in studying the interactions of politics and economics. I guess my overall options I'm weighing are:

1) Go back to undergrad, take the opportunity cost of two years of catching up in math, and then apply to economics MS and phd programs which seem to have by far the best job prospects.

2) Go the public policy route this fall, I'm not sure what my prospects for getting into top schools (pretty necessary for a decent job in that field) and securing funding would be, or if I would be interested in the subject matter (I'm not at all interested in public admin).

3) Shoot for an MBA with an emphasis in econ and take it from there.

I'm also still considering applying to some poli sci programs with strong faculty in political economy. I know this is pretty broad, but I'm just looking for any advice to not go into this completely blind, as it seems many people on here have regretted the decisions they've made when it comes to choosing programs. Any advice you'd have on how to approach this, school recommendations, other options I should consider etc. will definitely help me narrow this down, thanks!

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Maybe look at a good MS or MA in Economics and go from there? Most do not have the math requirements that PhD programs do. You might look at terminal masters at schools without PhD programs (you'll get more faculty attention). U Colorado - Denver, Montana State (good in natural resource), Baylor, and SUNY are good ones that I'm aware of. You'll be able to shore up your math while there. You'd also have research experience going into a PhD, which could potentially shorten your time to completion (if it shortens your PhD by one year, your opportunity cost is roughly one year).

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On 8/29/2016 at 12:09 AM, coloradobeer said:

Hey all,

As application season is rapidly approaching, I'm feeling more pressure to refine the programs I'll be applying to this fall, and it's proven to be more of a struggle than I anticipated, and my university graduate advisors are not the best, which brings me here.

A little about me:

I graduated a little over two years ago with a B.A. double major in Economics and Political Science from a medium-sized regional university (a satellite campus of the University of Colorado). The academic side of my application is definitely my biggest strength: 3.9 overall GPA, 4.0 in econ classes, high distinction honors in political science, named the outstanding graduate in the department of economics. I did an internship for my city doing some cost analysis, two years of unrelated work after graduation, and I just started a year long commitment to Americorps VISTA getting work experience directly related to economic development. I've gotten pretty good letters of recommendation in the past.

All that being said, as a double major I didn't have time to take pretty much any of the math requirements for graduate econ (Calc II and stats were the highest I went). I did take an advanced microeconomics course which was designed to be an intro to grad school courses and I felt like I grasped the concepts and applied math as something I could learn. I did some independent research for professors but nothing published. Also, my school is obviously not even top 30. I plan on taking the GRE in October, my diagnostic tests have put me 160+ on both sections but who knows what will happen on test day.

I'm extremely interested in economics specifically as it relates to policy, development, and natural resources, but I love how the econ methodology can be applied to almost anything. However, I was most interested in the "fringe" econ courses I took in school like experimental economics and the Austrian school (seems grad programs like GMU that have faculty doing this aren't as respected, yet still require the quant background). I was also interested in the security studies side of poli sci. I'm mostly looking at PhD programs with funding, but I'm not opposed to applying to a masters program as a stepping stone. I could see myself in academia but I also would love to work for a policy think tank or something in the private sector. I'm passionate about the subject matter and have known I've wanted to go back to school for a long time but haven't due to personal circumstances. I'm really interested in studying the interactions of politics and economics. I guess my overall options I'm weighing are:

1) Go back to undergrad, take the opportunity cost of two years of catching up in math, and then apply to economics MS and phd programs which seem to have by far the best job prospects.

2) Go the public policy route this fall, I'm not sure what my prospects for getting into top schools (pretty necessary for a decent job in that field) and securing funding would be, or if I would be interested in the subject matter (I'm not at all interested in public admin).

3) Shoot for an MBA with an emphasis in econ and take it from there.

I'm also still considering applying to some poli sci programs with strong faculty in political economy. I know this is pretty broad, but I'm just looking for any advice to not go into this completely blind, as it seems many people on here have regretted the decisions they've made when it comes to choosing programs. Any advice you'd have on how to approach this, school recommendations, other options I should consider etc. will definitely help me narrow this down, thanks!

I'm sort if in a similar boat as you. To clarify:

Not a strong econ background, mostly pure math.

Same with GRE.

University of Chicago's direct affiliate has a Master in Public Policy. Here's the link: http://harris.uchicago.edu/academics/programs-degrees/degrees/master-public-policy-mpp?gclid=Cj0KCQjw1JbPBRCrARIsAOKj2PkLUDMmdUlcNYqHxrNkaLD95sKC8fa1PDk7ll5jWVeaBcK-UBdrZJEaAuKQEALw_wcB

On the other hand, there's a program for Analysis and Public Policy by Paris School of Economics. I'm very interested in applying for that. Only hurdle is, I don't know how good the university is. But I can say that there are alums who've gone on to work for OECD in the policy sector.

Hope it helps. All the best.

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Having similar profile and exceptionally similar dilemma.....

Can you suggest what's your experience after 3 years?? What would you have advisedone to yourself 3 years baclater???

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I believe that the best choice for you will be a course of general economic theory. This will give you the opportunity to further choose any economic courses. You can determine your speciality already having the necessary volume of information.

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