so_you_want_to_be_a_phd

so_you_want_to_be_a_phd - So, you want to go to grad school...

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1 So, you want to go to grad school in Economics? A practical guide of the first years (for outsiders) from insiders Ceyhun Elgin Mario Solis-Garcia University of Minnesota April 2007
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2 Introduction You may be wondering about our intentions in writing this document. A bit of background information may be useful here. We, along with many other young, bright students across the U.S. and other countries, were fascinated with the idea of enrolling in a Ph.D. program in economics, but were missing the big picture of the process, as well of the outcome! For our case, it is true that we are still working for the degree, but after one year and a half in the program (as of December 2006), we think that the experience may not be for everyone (but may be more exciting for some than for others!). This document is intended to provide, to the best of our knowledge, an accurate picture of the life before and during a Ph.D. program in economics. Our hope is that potentially interested students may benefit from our experience. As could be expected from a theme such as this one, a usual disclaimer arises. The conclusions expressed within are based from our experience in the economics program at the University of Minnesota; we expect many of the features discussed below to be fairly similar among schools. However, the experience might be different in other programs, within the U.S. or across the world! Our paper first will discuss what you should do before going to the Ph.D. Then we will try to give you some flavor of the life in the first year of the program, followed by our conclusion. So you’ve decided to go for a Ph.D. program Getting a Ph.D. degree is easier said than done. Your undergraduate or master’s advisor is right: It’s going to be difficult. In fact, we can agree and go even further: It’s going to be the most difficult experience of your life. However, should you decide to go for it, the rewards are easily greater than the costs. The first moral of the story: Think twice before you decide!
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3 In our view, graduate work in economics (or in any other discipline, for that matter) is an exercise in discipline, endurance, hard work, and patience. It is not so easy having all 4 at the same time… but you’ll get used to it. The early work: tests So, suppose you are really decided to go on the adventure of a Ph.D. program. Congratulations! But now you have to get to work. You should have heard from everyone: “Take the GRE test.” Well, we’ll also say it: Take the GRE test. And take it early. Even though most universities suggest taking the test no later than the December before the year to enter the program, we suggest taking it no later than June or July of the year before entering the program. Why? For starters, bad luck happens. You can take special courses, study for a couple of months,
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This note was uploaded on 02/28/2010 for the course ECO 211 taught by Professor Gilo during the Spring '10 term at Young Harris.

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so_you_want_to_be_a_phd - So, you want to go to grad school...

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