College of Social Sciences


Andrew Smyth (13-14)

Marquette University

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I received my doctorate in economics from Florida State in 2014. My first position as a newly-minted PhD was as a postdoc at the Economic Science Institute of Chapman University. I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Marquette University.

If you are reading this, you are likely considering FSU for graduate school. When I was choosing a doctoral program, I was attracted to Florida State’s because of its strength in experimental economics. I had high expectations going in, and they were certainly not disappointed! I not only attained the experimental economic education I was hoping for, but also learned a bunch of applied theoretical and empirical microeconomics, and even some macroeconomics! When I reflect on my time in Tallahassee, I recall several things. For starters, most economics departments claim a friendly, inviting atmosphere. At Florida State, such talk is not empty rhetoric. Faculty give PhD students the metaphorical time of day. It is not a department of closed doors. Moreover, the FSU doctoral program is not cutthroat. The graduate students are very supportive of one another.

As a prospective student, I imagine you are examining placement records, faculty research interests, curricula, etc. One criterion that may not be on your radar—something that is difficult to quantify—is the “intellectual atmosphere” of a department. I can assure you that FSU rates very highly on this front. The department is one in which micro-oriented faculty attend macro-themed lectures, and vice versa. FSU graduate students are encouraged to interact with the stellar faculty who frequently visit from all corners of the U.S. and abroad. Degree candidates are also urged to present their own research in one of several topical workshops. The economics department at Florida State features present and past journal editors, society Presidents, textbook authors, and nationally-recognized teachers. In recent years, FSU has been fortunate to hire several economic historians. Like econometricians (of which FSU has several excellent ones), these folks contribute immensely to the intellectual life in a department. While I did not co-author with any FSU faculty while in graduate school, since leaving, I have completed or begun research projects with Florida State faculty and fellow PhD alumni.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the department and its graduate program. One benefit of attending academic conferences is the opportunity it provides to catch up with fellow ‘Nole economists. I hope that you choose FSU for graduate school, and that you join our table at some future conference!