Advice for undergraduate and Master's students
Everything you need to know about letters of recommendation
Will a professor write you a letter of recommendation? My answer: Writing student recommendations comes with the faculty job, and I usually write if asked.
FAQs on PhD applications
I’m asked about PhD admissions a lot. I’m going to give some advice and demystify the process of US admissions a bit. I also address the
Interested in a pre-doc position or working on one of my projects?
UChicago students I occasionally hire part-time research assistants. If you are looking for work, please email me with a CV and transcript. Please also describe
PhD applicants: Writing your statement of purpose
I’ve read a lot of personal statements for PhD applications. I sat on admissions at UChicago, Columbia, and Yale, mostly in economics, political science, and
Students: How to email to your Professor, employer, and professional peers
A third of student emails make me cringe. Not from scorn (well, maybe a little scorn) but mainly sympathy. Distressing sympathy. Here are 12 pieces
Which Master’s program is for you?
I get a lot of questions about Masters programs in Arts (MA), Public Administration or Policy (MPA or MPP), and international affairs (MIA) programs, both
How to do college right, whether you should go to grad school, where, and how to get in
It’s that time of year. Kids are starting college. Near graduates, terrified by the job market, are wondering whether they can just stay on for
Why you should not go to law school
Amanda Taub has a brilliant article in Vox: over the years, I have realized that the people asking me that question aren’t really asking for
How much economics should you study in college?
One of my development-oriented students writes: I have already taken intro micro and macroeconomics and statistics for political science. I am considering intermediate microeconomics this
The problem with graduate degrees in international affairs and development?
Well placed angst from a current development MA: I question the international development system, and perhaps, academia’s role in perpetrating that system. We are trained
Aspiring PhD students: Should you become a field research assistant for an RCT?
Tuesday I advertised a new research position with me, on a field experiment in Liberia. One reader asks a very good question: I have a vague recollection of
Should student researchers go to conflict zones?
It’s nearing summer and tens of thousands of American and European students are preparing for a month or two abroad to write a senior essay
How to write an essay
The worst essay I ever read (from a grad student at an unnamed Ivy college) sought to explain why China developed after the West. The
Field work in the tropics
As I prepare for summer field work, here’s what I tell my research assistants to bring to Liberia and Uganda: One very nice set of
Getting a job in international development
Alanna Shaikh’s five tips for getting a job in international development: 1. Get an office job while you’re still in school. As I’ve written, most
Beware graduate school?
Penelope Trunk warns us away from grad school: The more desperate you are for a job, the more likely you are to take a job
So you want to be an impact evaluator? A cautionary tale
Time for a little general advice (if only to avoid writing the same inadequate e-mails over and over again). Several aspiring graduate students have written
Advice for working in a developing country
Tyler Cowen offers excellent advice to students visiting a developing country for the first time. I especially endorse #8 (eat the street food) and #5
So you want to go to a (post) war zone?
E-mails land in my inbox weekly from students hoping to conduct research in northern Uganda, Liberia or one of the other post-conflict areas where I