AEASP: FAQs for Students


What are the program’s eligibility requirements and when would I hear if I am accepted?

The program is designed for students who, by their background, life experience, and scholarship can show they will bring greater diversity to the economics profession. There are no formal requirements other than that an applicant does not already have a PhD in economics. Ideally, applicants should meet at least some of the following criteria:

  • Be enrolled in or a recent graduate of a degree-granting program
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) in relevant courses.
  • Have taken calculus, statistics and microeconomics courses
  • Have a strong interest in pursuing a doctoral degree

We expect to send notifications of acceptance in early March.

How many students will be admitted to your program?

Approximately 35-40 students are expected to be admitted to the program.

If I already have my BA and/or MA and I am interested in getting my PHD, am I eligible to apply for the program?

Yes, you are. Apply at https://www.aeaweb.org/about-aea/committees/aeasp.

If I have not yet received my BA but will graduate this year or next, can I still apply?

Yes, you are eligible to apply. Because the program is strongly math-oriented, you need to have already taken micro- macroeconomics and calculus 1 at a minimum.

Even though I am not from an underrepresented category, can I still apply?

Everyone is eligible to apply regardless of ethnicity; please see the program application. https://www.aeaweb.org/about-aea/committees/aeasp.

My college/university is on the trimester or quarter system. May I start the program late?

Unfortunately, the timing of the program is such that it does not work for everyone. We had to choose the timing that would work best for the greatest number of students and faculty so, regretfully; we are not able to accommodate students on the quarter system.

You may be able to talk with your professors to see if you can complete your coursework and take your final exams early, thus enabling you to participate in the program. We do not allow students to start the program late as too much academic work would be missed and there is not sufficient time in your schedule to catch up.

Do I have to commit to the entire program? In addition, can I work while participating in the program? Will I be able to take any other classes from outside of MSU?

You must commit to the full eight-week program, taking all four courses and attending all events. Program commitments and activities will also be scheduled outside of class time and could fall on any day of the week, so all students must commit fully to the AEA Summer Program – no other classes, part-time jobs, or other commitments are allowed. Our goal is for you to succeed at this program and, as such, you must be willing to dedicate your time at MSU to all of the courses and events scheduled.

What courses are required and am I required to take all of them?

You are required to complete the four below courses. A placement test is given the first week you are on campus. The results of the placement test, combined with the academic record before your arrival, will determine the level (400 or 800) in which you will placed. It is also possible to cross-levels, (have some classes that are 400 level (foundations) courses and others that are 800 (advanced)), depending on your placement results.

ECSP 401 / 801:       Microeconomics
ECSP 405 / 805:       Mathematical Methods
ECSP 418 / 818:       Econometrics
ECSP 491 / 891:       Research/Special Topics

Will I receive a stipend or scholarship to finance my studies at MSU?

If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you will receive a stipend of $3,250 paid to you in installments while on campus. See below if you are an international student.

If I am an international student, can I apply? If yes, do I qualify for a scholarship/stipend?

Anyone with the necessary qualifications is eligible to apply – whether a U.S. Citizen, permanent resident, or an international student. If you are an international student and accepted, you will not receive any scholarship money or stipend (unless in the DACA program; see below). You will be responsible for all expenses incurred by this program. The estimated expenses are just over $25,000. That amount includes 12 credits of tuition, room and board for two months, domestic travel to/from East Lansing, mandatory field trips, textbooks, health insurance while on campus, software, etc. It does not include expenses such as personal hygiene products. However, if you are a DACA student and you successfully complete the program, you are eligible to receive a $3,250 stipend if your visa allows for this payment. DACA applicants must provide legal documentation showing they are in the DACA program.

Are the courses awarded academic credit and will I receive an official transcript at the conclusion? If not, is there a certificate of completion for the program.

A certificate of completion is given at a goodbye dinner held just before you leave campus if you have completed all of the required courses successfully. In addition, you will have earned 12 credits upon successful completion of the program and you can request an official transcript from the MSU Registrar’s Office (https://reg.msu.edu/Transcripts/Transcript.aspx).

Is the math course certified and accepted as evidence for meeting any math requirements by top universities?

We do not recommend that you use the AEA Summer Program classes to fulfill any requirements at other universities. Our classes are hybrid and thus differ from the typical university class in that the material is geared toward preparing you for what you will face in your courses once in graduate school. In addition, the courses are taught in a shorter amount of time so not as much material can covered as the courses you take in graduate school in a full semester.

Is there a schedule with detailed topics that are going to be covered during the two months?

Course descriptions can be found at https://www.aeaweb.org/about-aea/committees/aeasp

Is it possible that Calculus 3 or a similar/equivalent course will be one of the mathematics courses offered?

No, Calculus 3 (or an equivalent course) will not be offered. The AEA Summer Program classes are not the same as enrolling in a typical university class. Our classes are structured to familiarize you with what will be expected of you and used for your classes in graduate school. Our advanced math class, for example, starts with a review of Calculus 1, but progresses to topics from Calculus 3 and dynamic optimization methods frequently used, for instance, in macroeconomics.

What micro- and econometrics textbooks do you use?

Mathematics for Economic Analysis, Sydsaeter and Hammond
Intermediate Microeconomics with Calculus, Varian
Workouts in Intermediate Microeconomics, Varian and Bergstrom
Introductory Econometrics: A Modern Approach (6th edition). The author of this book, Jeffrey Wooldridge, is a University Distinguished Professor in our department. He will be the instructor for the graduate level Econometrics course taught in this program.

In addition to coursework, is there mentoring/advising provided by the program?

Definitely. We view mentoring and advising as a key component of educational excellence; thus, they are two of the hallmarks of the AEA Summer Program. Our Summer Program teaching professors, graduate fellows and other MSU faculty members who maintain a strong interest in journeying with students are committed to helping all AEA Summer Program students succeed.

Additionally, the program concludes with the Pipeline Conference, which is a fabulous opportunity for students to connect with working economists, student populations currently at the graduate school level, and representatives of various graduate schools.

Will I have much free time during my time at MSU?

Between classes, research, labs, study groups, and organized events and activities, students are very busy. You will have time for things such as pick-up basketball or volleyball, visits to the IM Building to exercise, and just hanging out with friends. However, we guarantee that you will not have time for additional classes or part-time jobs, neither of which is allowed. Summer Program commitments may occur on any day of the week and at any reasonable hour of the day, and all students are required to participate.

If I am ineligible for funding for your program, are there any other courses or possibly a Math Boot camp that would help prepare me for PhD programs in economics?

Other programs you might want to consider include Hot Metal Bridge at the University of Pittsburgh (http://www.diversity.as.pitt.edu/hot-metal-bridge-program) and the Summer Research Initiative to Increase Diversity at the University of Maryland, College Park (https://bsos.umd.edu/diversity/landingtopic/summer-research-initiative).

What steps has AEASP @ MSU taken to create a safe learning environment on campus?

AEASP @ MSU takes seriously the safety and well-being of our community. Since 2017, AEASP @ MSU requires mandatory sexual assault and relationship violence (SARV) training for all faculty, teaching fellows, and employees working with the summer program. Find out more here: http://studentlife.msu.edu/sarv

Will my school accept the credit for the courses taken during the AEASP?

AEASP courses are supposed to be a supplement and reinforcement, not a substitute, for regular college courses. Some students’ home institutions may agree to transfer some credits from AEASP. This decision is ultimately up to your home university. That is not the intent of the program’s courses, which were not conceptualized as substitutes for regular courses. Course descriptions can be found at https://www.aeaweb.org/about-aea/committees/aeasp.