Thursday, May 1, 2008

Stanford Economics .... Good?

I'm an Economics major at Stanford.The department definitely graduates more than 20 to 30 students each year. It's now more than a hundred per year. Economics is one of the most popular majors at Stanford.The students in the department are pretty diverse. Some are purely interested in Economics and are looking to pursue PhDs. A big chunk are interested in finance (investment banking, sales and trading). Some are interested in consulting. Some are "techie" students who didn't want to do engineering problem sets 24/7. A good number of students do something in addition to Economics: a double major, a coterm (masters degree), a minor, etc.The department is famous for its rigid and inflexible nature. There are rules you have to follow and they almost never make any exceptions. The curriculum is very sequential, meaning you have to take class A, B, C, and D before taking E. Exams are only offered once, no rescheduling allowed. This is very different than pretty much the rest of stanford, which is very laid back and loose in enforcing the rules and regulations.Most classes are curved to a B. The class offerings are pretty wide, with about 20 classes offered each quarter. The focus is more MICRO than MACRO, and the department has become MUCH MORE MATHY than it used to be. It's still not as quantitative as MIT, but much more than your regular ivy league economics program.The program is 80 units, which translates to 16 classes. The core (math heavy) is 7 classes. The rest is up to you. They are a good of number of non-quantitative classes (history economics, marketing economics, policy analysis, poverty, etc.) to boost up your major GPA if you didn't do well in the core.Classes are big. Expect anywhere between 75-200 students in the core classes. Upper level elective get anywhere between 30-100 students.I don't know much about the research opportunities for undergrads, as I am not looking to do an Econ PhD. But I do know a good bunch of people who have obtained summer research grants, access to faculty, etc.Summary: if you like economics, don't mind following rules and having a well-thought out plan of your 4 years education, are good with math and don't care about big class sizes, then Stanford Econ is one of the best places for you!

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