Ph.D. Course: Advice to Young Economists

Note: this page is for the course hold in 2022-23 at the Department of Economics (DSE) of the University of Verona.

How to Survive and Prosper as a Young Academic in Economics

Research is hard. It is hard for everyone, even for the best researchers. There is no rule, magic recipe, or template: you have to learn it by trial and error, mostly error. There is also a lot of misinformation and false beliefs about our profession and daily job. I design this course to help Ph.D. students to reflect on and discuss their scientific career in Economics. At the end of this course, students should have a clear(er) idea of what they need to turn their Ph.D. into a job.

Learning outcomes:

  • Analyze the process of doing a Ph.D. in Economics and reflect on what the market expects from a Ph.D. student
  • Map professional competencies and develop a concrete plan to meet career goals
  • Practice your writing and presentation skills
  • Discuss how to manage pressure and maintain a work/life balance.


Main Reading List:

  • The professor is in: the essential guide to turning your Ph.D. into a job (2015) by Karen Kelsky.
  • The economist’s craft: an introduction to research, publishing and professional development (2021) by Michael Weisbach
  • Doing Economics: What You Should Have Learned in Grad School – But Didn’t (2022) by Marc F. Bellemare

Module 1: “A Ph.D. in Economics” [Slides]

  1. Understand your market
  2. Find a research topic
  3. Develop your agenda

Useful references:

Homework for Module 2: write a recommendation letter about yourself using this template (follow the instructions).
Send me your file by email two days before class.

Module 2: “Scientific papers and publication process” [Slides]

  1. Scientific papers
  2. The rhetoric of economics
  3. The journal review process

Useful references:

Homework for Module 3: write a draft of your introduction using this template.
Send me your file by email at least one week before next class.

Module 3: “Write your draft” [Slides]

  1. Your introductions
  2. Scientific writing: exercises and examples
  3. Tables and graphics

Useful resources:

Homework for Module 4: prepare a poster (A3) of an existing paper.
Send me your file by email two days before class.

Module 4: “Communicate results” [Slides]

  1. Communicate your results
  2. Give talks
  3. Networking: seminars, conferences and workshops

Useful references:

Homework for Module 5: Prepare a publication plan for your research. Explain why you want to send your paper to that journals. Think about editor and referees. Send me your file by email two days before class.

Module 5: “Plan your career” [Slides]

  1. Thesis and research portfolio
  2. Get fundings
  3. Teaching and academic services

Useful references

Homework for Final Assessment: prepare your package (CV, cover letter and website). Use the Foolproof Grant Proposal Template from the book The professor is in (pag. 339, top) and write the first 2 paragraphs of your grant proposal. Stress the large topic and the gap. You can work in groups.

Final Assessment: Be prepared for a Job Interview. You are applying for a position as Assistant Professor

Other useful references and resources: