Economonster
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Hi everyone

This is going to be a long post, so I apologise for that. Any insight greatly appreciated.

I'm currently on a Economics BSc course at a University that did not require A-level mathematics. I'm worried about how well the curriculum prepares me for MSc study at a top ranking University. I'll outline the curriculum, omitting irrelevant modules, below.

First year
Mathematics - The basics up to constrained optimisation and integration
Micro (Perloff) - Consumer Theory, Theory of the Firm, Labour/Leisure, Market Structure. Lagrangian problems in the context of utility max, profit max and labour/leisure.
Macro (Blanchard) - IS/LM in closed and open economy.

Second year
Mathematics - Linear Algebra, Optimisation with matrices, differential equations (1st and 2nd order), dynamical systems (qualitative behaviour, no solutions).
Micro (Perloff) - No lagrangian problems this term. General Equilibrium, Externalities, Game theory, Oligopoly (solving for cournot, bertrand, stackleberg), Uncertainty.
Macro (Blanchard) - AS/AD, Phillips Curve & Inflation, Long Run Solow growth and technological progress.
Stats - Not much theory or derivations. Standard applications of calculating probability, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, linear regression, OVB, Multicollinearity.

Micro (Intermediate Varian) - More mathematics this term, but nothing beyond the appendices of intermediate varian. General Equilibrium (in context of monopoly, price discrimination, externalities and production), Game Theory, Uncertainty, Moral Hazard, Adverse Selection.
Macro (No textbook) - Not really sure how to define this module. Just seems like we are examining everything more formally and a lot on micro foundations. A few examples so far: deriving marshall lerner condition with calculus and intertemporal utility maximisation with langrangian and bordered hessian.
Statistics - Bit of an odd module. Just seems like more of the same, some tests that we didn’t see last term, Non-parametric tests, logistic regression, time series and so on.


Third Year
Econometrics (Wooldridge) - No matrices. Just sticking to Wooldridge the whole way, is what I’ve heard.
Stats (Wackerly or Freund) - This is our first exposure to the theoretic axioms of probability and deriving different types of distributions using integration.
Applied Econometrics - Learning more stuff in Wooldridge, with application to actual papers.


There are no third year options which are math heavy unfortunately. Most of the options are applied and very econometric heavy. There are no advanced economic theory modules using textbooks like Romer or Cowell.


So right now, it seems I’ll be graduating with pretty good exposure of intermediate theory and the maths involved there, good working knowledge of linear algebra, optimisation, differential equations and double integration, applied statistics, statistical theory, and the applications of econometrics (but no so much the mathematical theory). Is this enough to 1. be admitted to an MSc in Economics at a top University, and 2. Survive the MSc?


How does this compare with your BSc programme?


Thanks
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.ACS.
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(Original post by Economonster)
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I’ve a couple of preliminary questions before I go over your course content:

1. Which university are you currently at?
2. Do you get the option to do a dissertation or research project in your third year?
3. Which universities are you looking at for your MSc?


In regard to your course content, I don’t really see any issue with it per se. Whilst it isn’t great you don’t cover econometrics in matrix notation, this isn’t an issue in and of itself. It’s something you can easily pick up. You still cover statistical theory as explained by Wackerly, which is a good textbook. Personally I’d opt for Statistical Inference by Casella as a replacement. But that’s personal choice. (I didn’t like the focus on Taylor rules in Wackerly whereas Casella derived many of the same results using more advanced calculus; but as I say, that’s personal preference.)

Can you provide a list of modules on offer in your third year? My only concern is the lack of pure game theory module.

Broadly, however, a lot of BSc programmes in the UK won’t use Romer or Cowell in their undergrad (I don’t even know why Cowell’s text is so respected; there are better undergrad micro texts out there which are rigorous and mathematically inclined). Also a lot of MSc programmes don’t even use the standard Mas-Colell et al. for micro or the two standards for macro (Ljungqvist and Sargent or Stokey and Lucas).

I do think you’ll get accepted to top programmes. At the start, you may struggle a bit, however with some self-discipline and hard work, you can keep at it. A lot of your success will be down to you and how much work you put in.

Also it depends what sort of programme you’re aiming for. The top econometrics programmes assume knowledge of Greene, which you obviously won’t have. The top economics programmes don’t. They typically start using Greene. This you’ll be fine for. Equally, maybe the micro or macro you’re used to won’t be as mathematical (notation wise), but you can pick this up by putting in the work. Don’t forget, a lot of people will be in the same boat.

Additionally, if you can do a dissertation in your third year, do one. It’s a fantastic opportunity to expand your knowledge of theory or econometrics and really show you can do something a bit different. Even better if you get a departmental award for it.
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Economonster
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(Original post by .ACS.)
I’ve a couple of preliminary questions before I go over your course content:

1. Which university are you currently at?
2. Do you get the option to do a dissertation or research project in your third year?
3. Which universities are you looking at for your MSc?


In regard to your course content, I don’t really see any issue with it per se. Whilst it isn’t great you don’t cover econometrics in matrix notation, this isn’t an issue in and of itself. It’s something you can easily pick up. You still cover statistical theory as explained by Wackerly, which is a good textbook. Personally I’d opt for Statistical Inference by Casella as a replacement. But that’s personal choice. (I didn’t like the focus on Taylor rules in Wackerly whereas Casella derived many of the same results using more advanced calculus; but as I say, that’s personal preference.)

Can you provide a list of modules on offer in your third year? My only concern is the lack of pure game theory module.

Broadly, however, a lot of BSc programmes in the UK won’t use Romer or Cowell in their undergrad (I don’t even know why Cowell’s text is so respected; there are better undergrad micro texts out there which are rigorous and mathematically inclined). Also a lot of MSc programmes don’t even use the standard Mas-Colell et al. for micro or the two standards for macro (Ljungqvist and Sargent or Stokey and Lucas).

I do think you’ll get accepted to top programmes. At the start, you may struggle a bit, however with some self-discipline and hard work, you can keep at it. A lot of your success will be down to you and how much work you put in.

Also it depends what sort of programme you’re aiming for. The top econometrics programmes assume knowledge of Greene, which you obviously won’t have. The top economics programmes don’t. They typically start using Greene. This you’ll be fine for. Equally, maybe the micro or macro you’re used to won’t be as mathematical (notation wise), but you can pick this up by putting in the work. Don’t forget, a lot of people will be in the same boat.

Additionally, if you can do a dissertation in your third year, do one. It’s a fantastic opportunity to expand your knowledge of theory or econometrics and really show you can do something a bit different. Even better if you get a departmental award for it.
Hey, thanks so much. That's reassuring.

I'm at Sussex. Yep I'll be doing the dissertation, and I'm applying to work at the University as a JRA this summer. The plan is to publish something on the NHS provision of dentistry before applications come around.

I'm not sure where I'll apply - perhaps the best I can get into with a first class from my University, research experience and good letters of recommendation. I'll have a better idea once i get my results for last term on Friday. It also depends if I can secure ESRC funding - if not, I may go to Europe. I've heard the courses are much more demanding there though, particularly at places like Bocconi and PSE.

Third year modules can be seen here: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/ug/2015/1658/30938#course

I plan on taking monetary theory, and maybe the environmental modules. I don't think industrial organisation is available for my year. If it is, then I'll take that.
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MagicNMedicine
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You should send that to the MSc tutor at the university where you want to apply, they will respect the fact that you are asking this question as it shows you are serious. They might give you the benefit of teh doubt eg say well that looks a bit light in area X and Y, I would suggest do some reading in these books to get you up to speed.

Looking at your curriculum it might not be that maths heavy but it seems you've got a sound micro and macro basis so no issues there.
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Economonster
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(Original post by MagicNMedicine)
You should send that to the MSc tutor at the university where you want to apply, they will respect the fact that you are asking this question as it shows you are serious. They might give you the benefit of teh doubt eg say well that looks a bit light in area X and Y, I would suggest do some reading in these books to get you up to speed.

Looking at your curriculum it might not be that maths heavy but it seems you've got a sound micro and macro basis so no issues there.
Hey thanks. What do you personally think are the biggest gaps in the curriculum? Should I focus completely on things that are absent (econometric theory, game theory), or should I expose myself to advanced micro/macro theory too? (Romer & Varian A.)
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MagicNMedicine
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(Original post by Economonster)
Hey thanks. What do you personally think are the biggest gaps in the curriculum? Should I focus completely on things that are absent (econometric theory, game theory), or should I expose myself to advanced micro/macro theory too? (Romer & Varian A.)
It depends on the curriculum in the particular MSc you want to do and what their pre-assumed knowledge is. Most likely you will be ok with micro and macro knowledge from a standard undergrad textbook like Perloff / Blanchard but there might be some maths and stats that are pre-requisites to do the advanced material. So you will really need an admissions tutor to advise you on what you would need to read up on.
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