Does anyone have first hand experience studying Economics at Harvard?
Hi! I am currently a senior, majoring in economics at Harvard. Here, economics is the most popular major, which means that if you seek it out, almost any opportunity is available to you. Often, you may find yourself taking a class on a certain subsection of economics and learning from a professor who is the foremost expert in their field. If you eventually write a thesis, you also have the opportunity to work one on one with these extremely intelligent and influential professors. Because it is the largest major, it is easy to get lost, but if you are good at proactively seeking advice and help (because the department has a lot of resources at its disposal), you’ll find an incredibly rewarding academic experience with economics at Harvard.
I’m a senior studying economics at Harvard. As economics is the largest field of study, there is a wide breadth of different experiences people have with it. There are 3 different “tracks” outlining requirements and loose guidelines for the economics department: Thesis Track, Advanced Track, and Regular Track. To qualify for most english and latin honors (magna, summa, etc), you have to do either the Thesis or Advanced track, which have more rigorous requirements, including math and statistics requirements (though in general the undergraduate economics field of study at Harvard is not particularly quantitative or math-heavy).
Another option more quantitatively inclined students take is to study Applied Math in Economics, which, though technically part of the math department, is very closely connected with the economics department (if you write a thesis as an Applied Math in Economics concentrator, you will almost certainly be working with an Economics Professor). Most students who are interested in getting a PhD in economics study Applied Math in Economics because of the more rigorous quantitative regimen.
Overall, I’d say that the economics department is well-run. Because it is so big, there is a well-established system for doing things, with a robust advisory network and lots of available resources. You have a ton of options available to you, and because so many kids take it, you build a sense of collegiality with your peers as you go through the introductory courses together.