COMMENTS ABOUT APPLYING TO GRADUATE SCHOOL

Michael Twomey

General advice about Graduate School is provided in a page written by Prof. Smith, which is accessible by clicking here.

1. There are several components to an application: your transcript, your test score on a standardized test [such as the GRE (Graduate Record Exam), GMAT (business), or LSAT (law)], a personalized statement (frequently not universally required), and letters of recommendation. Applications for financial aid require another form. Getting this information together in a timely fashion for, let's say, three schools involves as much work as a normal three hour course. If you are applying for classes beginning fall, 2002, the time crunch comes during fall, 2001. In particular, you have to register three or four weeks in advance for the standardized tests. Write for school catalogs a year in advance.

2. Apply to schools/programs of different degrees of competitivity. Note, however, that application fees typically run $20 to $50 each, and can reach $100 for the fancy schools.

3. There is a wide variety of financial aid programs. The broad categories are: grants which do not require specific work from the student, called fellowships; moneys which essentially pay the student for academic work, such as a Research Assistantship or a Teaching Assistantship; and loans, which will vary in terms of amount, repayment period, interest rates, etc. Most local schools near UM-D have agressive Affirmative Action programs in financial aid.

4. Although the PhD. programs will typically prefer students directly out of an undergraduate program, that is often not the case for Business Schools, nor indeed for some applied master's degree programs in economics or related fields. Furthermore, while Ph.D. programs are designed for full time students, and Law School often is, generally a majority of the students in the other programs go part-time, often at night.

5. The UM-D library, and many local public libraries, have several books about graduate schools, some of which include suggestions about applying. The Web is an excellent help in reviewing options at different schools. In many cases, a visit to a campus and chats with a program advisor or the president of the grad student association will help you decide between potential choices.

6. Look around for different programs, especially at the Master's level. An MA in econ is especially useful in the area of quantitative methods (econometrics). MBA programs have specializations in accounting, finance, marketing, personnel, etc. The corresponding training for the public sector is called Masters in Public Administration. Some good programs, available locally, involve MAs in Urban Studies, the Environment, Industrial and Labor Relations, and various aspects of Health Policy.

Here are some web-links:
for the Master of Public Policy program at UM-Ann Arbor http://www.spp.umich.edu/academics/m pp.htm
a Master in Economics at Western Michigan http://www.wmich.edu/eco nomics/graduate/maprogram.html
There are also good programs at these other local public institutions, although their descriptions are less elaborate: at Michigan State http://www.msu.edu/~ec/academic/graduate.htm and http://www.bus.msu.edu/mba/,  Wayne State http://www.econ.wayne.edu/webpicnew/graduate.htm, and Eastern Michigan http://www.emich.edu/public/catalogs/current/acaf/colleges/coa/eco/grad/maappl.html.

7. Your economics professors would be glad to discuss these issues with you.