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M.A. Admissions

The M.A. in Economics

The M.A. in Economics, also known as the Graduate Program in Economic Development (GPED), is a STEM-designated program that prepares students for both domestic and international careers in economic development. Though the program provides a solid theoretical foundation for students who intend to pursue a Ph.D. in economics, the GPED is designed primarily for students seeking a professionally-oriented, terminal master’s degree. Our program has a strong international focus, and enrolled students usually represent at least 10 different countries, including the U.S. We accept students from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. As a result, the GPED is a diverse and inclusive environment. Students form a tight-knit, supportive family whose connections extend far beyond their two years at Vanderbilt.

Applying to the Program

The application deadline for the M.A. program is February 15th for the coming fall semester. All required application materials must be received by this date to be considered for admission. Applicants must have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree in any subject, a basic understanding of macro- and microeconomics, and a strong math background. Prior work experience is not required. There is no fee to apply to the GPED.

Please direct all M.A. admission inquiries to

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent in any subject, with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (B) or the equivalent. The M.A. program does consider applications from international students with three-year bachelor's degrees.
  • Basic understanding of macro- and microeconomics.
  • Coursework in statistics and two semesters of calculus, with at least one semester of multivariate calculus. Linear algebra and real analysis are strongly encouraged but not required.
  • GRE scores (students admitted to the program usually score between 153 and 170 on the Quantitative section).
  • For international applicants: a score of at least 88 on the Internet-based TOEFL or 7.0 on the IELTS. This requirement may be waived for students who have earned a degree from an English-speaking institution. Contact the department for details. For Fall 2022 admission, we prefer TOEFL or IELTS scores, but will also accept the Duolingo English test.
  • Unofficial transcripts of undergraduate and any graduate work (official transcripts will be required if an offer of admission is made)
  • GRE scores, either self-reported or official (official scores will be required if an offer of admission is made)
  • For international applicants: self-reported or official TOEFL or IELTS scores for international applicants (this requirement may be waived for applicants who have earned a degree from an English-speaking institution).
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation (academic references preferred)
  • Optional: résumé or CV

Your Statement of Purpose should clearly explain why you are interested in economics, what you plan to do with your degree, and why you want to earn your M.A. from our program. The admissions committee prefers statements that are one page in length.

We are currently unable to accept campus visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please contact the department to arrange an online interview, or view the Vanderbilt virtual walking tour of campus.