A few years ago, a good friend asked me if I thought that it was a good idea to pursue a PhD in Economics. His question surprised me, but I then realized that many other people also have the same question. I suppose most people realize that the field of economics has something to do with business, and with money. So, why not pursue one of these professional degrees?
The goal of this post isn't to vent. Rather, to be honest, most people pursuing a PhD in Economics aren't academics, although they usually claim to be so. For most of us, economics is merely a subject we dabble in during graduate school, never making a full-time commitment to it.
But what if you were interested in pursuing a phd in Economics because you want to do something more meaningful with your career? What if you felt you needed a rigorous introduction to economic theory and methodology, coupled with a firm understanding of how markets work? If this sounds like you, then you may be a good candidate for an advanced degree in econometrics. Just as the name implies, this degree is concerned with finding methods to improve the efficiency of the economy as a whole.
So how do you go about getting a Ph.D. in economics? The short answer is that it's not as hard as it might seem. If you're looking to enroll in a graduate school program, look for one of the few programs designed specifically for the holders. Usually these programs will require a bachelor's degree, but some programs will accept students with only a bachelor's. Also, some schools require that you have already taken the statistics class in college, which should give you an upper hand on some of your competitors.
The other option is to complete an internship during your first year of grad school. A lot of graduate schools offer internship programs in various fields, including econ phd. However, there are a handful of universities that actually offer a full-time phd program in economics, along with individual courses in the specific area of econ. This allows you to fulfill your academic goals without having to worry about completing coursework around a schedule, since you can take the time to work at your internship and study at your own pace.
The other major requirement for completing an econ phd program is the completion of a thesis, which should be written in a clear and accessible style. There are some schools that allow their students to choose whether they'll be allowed to self-write the thesis or hire a dissertation editor to write it for them. For many graduate students, however, hiring a dissertation editor is preferable, since he or she has the experience in this field as well as research skills that are difficult to find elsewhere. The graduate student also has the opportunity to complete an internship during his or her year of study, which will help them gain valuable experience as well as let them network with different people in the field of economics.
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