Advice for first-year students

Since the syllabus is out, I want to give a general piece of advice on which courses you should take as a first-year graduate student (Master’s course).

The core courses you must take

Microeconomics (I & II)

Macroeconomics (I & II)

Mathematics (Mathematics for formal economic modeling and analysis)

Econometrics (I & II)


Micro: gives you the building blocks and intuition behind economic players: What does a consumer do? What does a firm do? How market behaves?

Macro: gives you the answers to the 2 most asked questions in economics: economic fluctuations and growth. You start from a static general equilibrium model, then go to a dynamic one (which implies growth and fluctuations).

Mathematics: teaches you how to use mathematics in solving the models.

Econometrics: teaches you how to apply data in estimating economic parameters or variables.

If you don’t know all of these, you cannot do any kind of research. Period. They are all interconnected so one must acquire knowledge from all of these courses.

The additional courses you should take

Tohoku offers 2 wonderful courses that I think first-year must also take if they want to advance far in their career:

Business Communication (by Roman)

Big-data Skill Up Training (Introduction to Python)

The first teaches you how to give a GOOD presentation and be a good communicator in English. You really do not want to embarrass yourself in conferences or thesis defense presentations. I have seen many bad examples and I seriously advise you to take this course, to know your bad habits and improve yourself.

The second introduces you to programming (Python), which is essential for data analysis, model simulation, etc. This course is offered for free by the Grad. School of Information Science.


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