i am a master of corporate finance student in Bocconi. i have a bachelor degree in economics and wanted to continue on it but decided to switch to finance due to some restraints (my scholarship from European Union only allows me to register in one year programs; and as you know msc in econ programs are 2 year)

i do not hate finance but i do not love it as much as economics. besides, i beleive that that business life is not suitable for me. i have a great interest in economics which -unfortunately- revealed in my last years in bachelor degree. therefore, i do not have a high gpa.

so i have some concerns about for pursuing a phd degree. i will be very happy if you can help me.

although i have taken some math courses (calculus, statistics, linear algebra, econometrics), i am not sure that it is sufficient for a phd in economics. plus, i do not have very shiny grades on math (because i was not studying at all, i mostly entered the exams mostly 1-2 hours of study and survived with my previous high school math knowledge. as i mentioned above, i was not a hardworking student in my first years do to my lack of interest in economics).

calculus101: c+ calculus102:c+ statistics1: c statistics2: c econometrics: c linear algebra: b+

so do you recommend me to get a phd? can i survive a phd program (especially the math part)?

thank you for your answers which will help me to shape next 50 years of my life


1 Answer 1


I'm in the same situation, so maybe I can help. The first thing many people don't realize is that many fields of advanced level economics are almost entirely math. Thus an undergraduate degree in econ may not be the best preparation for a doctorate if the degree is not very mathy. My university has a special doctoral prep program for econ majors for exactly this reason. You can see the degree requirements here to get a sense of how much math my economics department thinks you need to get a doctorate.


My personal opinion is that depending on the field of economics you want to study (and how much math is involved), as well as the rigor of the doctoral program, you may want to take more math classes. Also while those are great core courses which you have taken, if I was an admissions officer, I'd be concerned about the grades. Take some higher math and show you've improved.

To quote from one of my econ professors (a former central banker) "IF you come in with the math, graduate schools will have no problem teaching you the econ."

Courses you need:

  • Multivariate Calculus, Differential Equations, Real Analysis More Statistics, especially time series analysis.

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