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How much undergrad. math do you need for Grad. School in Economics

harriharri Posts: 408Registered User Member
edited July 2005 in Graduate School
I know that most of the top graduate economics programs list Mulitvariable Calculus, Linear Algebra, Probability, and Statistics as mathematics courses you absolutely need in order to be even considered for admission.

I was wondering if, in addition to those classes, I should take the often recommended undergrad. mathematics classes like Real Analysis, Differential Equations, Econometrics, and Vector Calculus if I'm going to try and get a graduate degree in economics.

Also, I'm by no means a math whiz. I've done pretty well in single variable calculus so far, but some of the more advanced mathematics classes seem very difficult and frankly intimidating. Is graduate school in economics really just focused on mathematics? And if so, should I just steer away from trying to get a graduate degree in economics becuase I'm really not too exceptional at math.
Post edited by harri on

Replies to: How much undergrad. math do you need for Grad. School in Economics

  • im_blueim_blue Posts: 2,142Registered User Senior Member
    "I was wondering if, in addition to those classes, I should take the often recommended undergrad. mathematics classes like Real Analysis, Differential Equations, Econometrics, and Vector Calculus if I'm going to try and get a graduate degree in economics." Yes, all those are classes that will help for top programs.

    "Is graduate school in economics really just focused on mathematics? And if so, should I just steer away from trying to get a graduate degree in economics becuase I'm really not too exceptional at math." Yes, grad school is really focused on math. You can see how the calculus sequence goes for you before making any decisions about graduate school. Just try to keep a high GPA for now.
  • bicoastalbicoastal Posts: 33Registered User Junior Member
    I second that. As a former econ undergrad major, I would recommend that those interested in doing a PhD in economics complete either an undergraduate degree in a quantitatively oriented discipline, like math or physics, or an econ degree with all the courses that you mentioned. I would also recommend taking a few more advanced classes in statistics, such as probability theory and regression analysis. Stats in fact is a large part of what professional economists do. If you are uncomfortable with these, you may have a difficult 5+ years in grad school.
  • ericmengericmeng Posts: 443Registered User Member
    Economics is the number one applied math discipline - the most successful grad students are math, physics, operations research, industrial engineering, etc. majors.

    Econometrics is actually probably not that important. You can pick up all the economic concepts in grad school - a lot of students do. Just change your major to math or something like that and work hard at getting good grades.

    Make sure you take the hardest Real Analysis class available - (you have to learn Lebesgue!)

    Good luck! You don't have to love theoretical math, you just have to be good at it. If that doesn't work out there is always the Business Ph.D.
  • James JoyceJames Joyce Posts: 28Registered User New Member
    I'm a theoretical math major. I'll have had a year of analysis by the time I graduate. How much of an econ background is needed for Econ grad school?
  • harriharri Posts: 408Registered User Member
    Most econ grad schools say that Intermediate Microeconomics and Intermediate Macroeconomics are all you need for a background in economics. More economics beyond those two courses is desired but necessary. What is necessary is your level of mathematical competency, which probably isn't a problem for you. Plus, graduate econ. departments take a close look at your GRE, especially the quantitative section.
  • harriharri Posts: 408Registered User Member
    I go to the University of Illinois, and I'm enrolled in the College of Business. I intend to double major in Accounting and Finance. But I want to keep my options open. So I'm trying to also fit in the mathematics and econ. courses needed for grad. school in economics, but I have yet to see if I can actually handle the more advanced mathematics. Is it a bad idea to be trying to fit in the mathematics while I'm also focusing on Accounting and Finance?
  • kbramblesonkbrambleson Posts: 15Registered User New Member
    A competitive applicant to a good graduate program (i.e. one where you will have a reasonable shot getting a teaching position upon graduation) in economics will have taken at least intermediate micro/macro, a statistic class or two, real analysis, and undergraduate econometrics. This is the bare minimum. If you want to do work in finance, applied/theoretical micro, or any sort of empirical work, you should have taken a proof-based course in linear algebra, mathematical probability (which means measure theory), and some further coursework in econometrics or statistics. Courses in control theory and differential equations would also be preferable. You should also be comfortable using and programming in one of the statistics packages (R, Stata, etc.).
  • mtc1mtc1 Posts: 33Registered User Junior Member
    Hi! I'm about to take this two-year MPA at London School of Economics:

    www.lse.ac.uk/collections/government/MPA/

    After graduating, do you think I have any chance at all for admission at top Econ PhD programs in the US?

    The courses of the first year of my MPA is completely compulsory, and although some of them are math based, they're not insanely complex. (this must be bad news for me).

    On the other hand, ff I use my second year exclusively at rigor courses in math, economics and statistics and if I do perfect, maybe I can sharpen my profile.

    Do I have a chance? Please be honest :-)
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