I’m going to give some advice and demystify the process of US admissions a bit.
I also address the question “Would you be my advisor if I apply?
” Since I can’t respond in detail to most emails, I hope this post answers your questions.
I won’t demystify entirely, because uniform applications are unhelpful to us reviewers.
But I do want to make the application process easier to understand, both to make it easier for people like me to decipher your application, and also to level the playing field. You’ll see why we think it is one of the best places to study political economy of development.
Undergraduates at the top research institutions have the advantage of advisors who already give them this advice. My experience comes solely from my current role in Chicago Harris Ph D admissions, two years on the admissions committee in Yale political science, two in Columbia political science, and one in Columbia sustainable development (which is essentially an applied economics Ph D in science, environment and health topics). Other specialities include applied microeconomics, formal political theory, and energy.
It’s also one of the only places to get rigorous retraining in both political science and economics.
And remember that most (though not all) public policy Ph D programs are like applied economics programs.
You will need many of the same requirements for admission.
If you are applying to economics or public policy, you absolutely must heed the following: Nearly all of Athey and Mankiw’s advice applies equally well to aspiring political scientists who want to do political economy or development work, and indeed almost any of the applied empirical fields in politics.
For advice on political science Ph D applications, also see Dan Drezner and Dan Nexon, who focus a little on international relations scholars.
My thoughts are are on economics and political science together, with the most relevance for those doing applied empirical work and my fields: development, comparative politics, political economy, and labor.