VSE student creates app to help students navigate PhD decisions

For students pursuing doctoral studies, the choice of what school to apply to can be influenced by program outcomes. Amedeus D’Souza, a fourth-year Honours student at the Vancouver School of Economics, has developed a Chrome extension to help students make such a decision.   

D’Souza’s application, called Mapinator, shows students and other users potential job placements of PhD economics students around the world. Depending on where they studied, the dashboard allows users to see where students end up working as professors or in other positions at private institutions.  

 “It provides students valuable information about the market they’re entering into, where they might want to do their further studies, and where they could see themselves a few years from now,” D’Souza said.  

The application is a by-product of D’Souza’s research assistantship with Prof. Michael Peters at the VSE.   

In order to understand the labour market for PhD graduates in economics better, they collected the data and experimented with several ways to visualize it.  

One of those ways is to use the “maps” graph displayed on the dashboard. 

The maps were organized into four categories for easy navigation: institution where the applicant graduated from, their primary specialization, type of position, and placement year.  

The dropdown tab allows users to curate a list of institutions to their liking, and generate a map based on these preferences.  

“As someone who is graduating this coming spring, there are clear trade-offs between going to graduate school and going straight to the industry, and I will be using the dashboard to better inform myself of what to do,” D’Souza said.  

The video below demonstrates how to navigate the application. You can find the dashboard of the application here: https://sage.microeconomics.ca