So you wanna go to grad school? If the answer is yes or maybe, it’s time to start some research. Really, the earlier the better, because you’ll be applying between fall and January of your fourth year….and as a potential grad student, you should love research! Right? Right.
I started with a list of all universities in Canada so I could see which ones offered both a Master’s and a PhD in my program. I wanted to go to a school that offered both so I could be sure that they have a strong econ department and also to check in case I wanted to take both degrees there (Pro tip: schools sometimes offer perks, like taking less PhD courses if you did your MA there). Crossing a ton of universities off your list right away is both useful and satisfying.
Next, pull up Excel, so you can make a handy comparison chart. Look at things like tuition fees, admission requirements, and the courses they offer. Course offerings can be key in determining whether or not a school is right for you. For example, my research area is development, so I cut out schools that don’t offer development-related courses. Simple!
Once you have a list of potential schools, it’s time to start talking to your profs. Your faculty website should have prof profiles, which should tell you where they went to school. If anyone matches up, even if you don’t know them, send them an email to meet up and discuss. You can find out the inside scoop, what they liked, what they didn’t, etc. Just remember that they’re probably biased!
It’s also important to see how schools stacks up against others, both in the country and in the world. For example, Canada has 3 econ departments that are among the top 100 in the world. Aim high and apply to top schools if you have a shot at getting in and they interest you. Be forewarned: they will have very competitive environments and that may not suit you.
If you still need more info, get in contact with the schools you’re interested in.
Do you have any other grad school research tips?