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First Semester Graduate School – Spring 2021

I am finally here. With some hard work and perseverance, I was finally accepted into a graduate program! It is an exciting opportunity. A chance to prove myself by completing graduate coursework and a strong and (hopefully publishable) thesis. I can also make a stronger case for my academic background once I apply to Ph.D programs once my MA/MS program is over.

While there are several good graduate economics programs out there, there are very few good ones that emphasize both heterodox and orthodox analysis into their curriculum, and few with interesting classes like the one my university offers. I didn’t think it was possible from my vantage point upon earning my undergraduate degree in economics, especially as a person of color. And as it is no secret, economics has a virulent and enduring race problem. Upon enrolling, I have limited mathematics training (considering the growing importance placed on math in economics this is not seen as favorable by admission committees), but I did manage to published research in an academic journal considering the university to which I earned my bachelor’s had an almost non-existent opportunity to do so. And even fewer BIPOC know how to find the resources and information for that sort of thing because it is intentionally kept hidden from them, making it hard to find.

For sure, I feel lucky to have been admitted and to have great professors. There is a particular usefulness of an MA/MS degree to which I feel grateful for, even though I must go through this program for about a year and a half before enrolling in a doctoral program. They serve perfectly as a milestone for obtaining a professional degree, or if you’re the type who wants exposure to graduate coursework and research opportunities in the hopes of furthering your education. In this way I am ready to take advantage of the opportunity to be a good graduate student and help my chances of being admitted (with fundings) into a Ph.D program, and especially to U of Utah’s where I feel like my research interest fit perfectly. It also helps that this is an R1 school. We also have a great medical school and campus for everything from pharmacy to dentistry.

There are more terminal economics master’s programs available now because of growing popularity and credential need in the labor market. While this is a good thing for people like me who have limited undergraduate experience in mathematics (and have to do everything their my power to make up for the lack of a 4.0 GPA and perfect GRE scores), they are expensive with no guarantee funding in a doctoral program after. I feel like the toil is personally worth it to breach that higher echelon of academic economics. Especially when the ideas and voices of marginalized groups are so heavily discounted. And as a Black person, to get into a doctoral program (and to finish) in economics is a deeply personal excursion.

I cannot wait to update with more posts concerning my MA/MS experience. Hopefully I will be able to continue in a doctoral program where I’ll study political economy, law, and public economics. Right now law & econ is raising my blood pressure. I fell like if I read anymore about the superiority of efficiency in the economic analysis of law, I will grow so massive with rage at mainstream economists that I will implode into myself like a neutron star. Until next time! Also fuck Robert Bork!