Chapter 4: What Students Like and Dislike about Graduate Work in Economics
Two further questions I asked students was what they liked and disliked about graduate school. The hope here was to see if any themes were emphasized, and to sample the general feeling of the students about their studies and the program. As with the other questions, the questions were open-ended by design to see what aspects students chose to mention. A few themes did show up. Specifically, the students ranked freedom to study what they wanted high on the list. The students also liked the quality of the teaching, and the entire process of graduate school—learning a set of tools that they believe will be useful in their careers and in finding answers to economic questions. The dislikes were, of course, there, but the lists of dislikes were well within the range of dislikes that I would expect to get from any large collection of students when I ask them about programs they were in. These “dislikes” often focused on bureaucratic problems at specific schools or on the lack of supervision by faculty. In general, I interpret the combination of likes and dislikes as a positive statement about the way economics is structured and done at these programs. They could do it better, but the students are calling for changes at the margin, not for wholesale changes. What do students like about graduate work in economics? ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● The flexibility to pursue my own academic interests in my own time. Being able to choose the items I want to study. In...
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