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Have questions about earning an M.A. in Economics? Browse the list below for some of the most common questions, or explore our site for more information!

Q: What are the deadlines for the admissions process?

Application deadline: February 15 for the upcoming fall semester

Admission decision notifications: March, via online application portal

Acceptance deadline: April 15, via online application portal

Note: The department is not able to extend these deadlines. A nonrefundable deposit of $250 is due within two weeks of accepting admission to the program.

Q: Can I defer my admission?

Yes, the M.A. in Economics (GPED) program allows students to defer admission for one year, to the following fall semester. After that, applicants must reapply. Financial aid cannot be deferred.

If you need to defer your admission, please email

Q: How do I apply for a waiver of the TOEFL/IELTS requirement?

Ordinarily, international students must demonstrate English proficiency by scoring at least 88 on the Internet-based TOEFL** or at least 7.0 on the IELTS. This requirement may be waived for students who have earned a degree from an English-speaking institution.

If you wish to request a waiver of the TOEFL/IELTS requirement, send an email to with the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Application reference number
  • Date you received your degree
  • Name and location of the institution where you completed your degree

Q: Does the program do anything to help orient students to Vanderbilt?

Yes! Your suggested arrival date is usually several days before classes start. We recommend using this time to handle any logistical issues related to housing, utilities, shopping, etc. Orientation events offered during the first week typically include:

  • Optional (but strongly recommended) GPED math workshop, to help you refresh the math skills you will need for your studies
  • Graduate School orientation
  • ISSS orientation (for international students)
  • GPED orientation

During this time, we will also connect you with your faculty adviser and, if appropriate, your international student adviser. Advisers will work with you throughout the program to help you make the most of your time at Vanderbilt and adjust to life in Nashville.

You will also have many opportunities to socialize with your fellow students. The M.A./GPED community is very friendly and close-knit. Don’t be afraid to ask second-year students for advice on adjusting to Vanderbilt and Nashville!

Q: Is Vanderbilt on a semester or quarter system?

Vanderbilt is on a semester system, with most courses counting for 3 credit hours. Fall semester generally runs late August-early December, and spring semester generally runs early January-late April.

The Economics department typically does not offer graduate-level courses in the summer, but many other Vanderbilt departments or schools do. Students may wish to take summer courses to help fulfill the electives requirement for the degree.

Note: courses in the Owen Graduate School of Management, where GPED students often take electives, are offered on a half-semester basis and count for 2 credit hours each.

Q: Can I audit courses?

Yes, you may audit courses anywhere at Vanderbilt. Audited courses do not count toward degree requirements, but they are a great way to satisfy an interest in a particular topic. To audit a course, you must complete a short form and obtain permission from the instructor.

Q: Does the program have an option to earn a minor?

Minors are not available at the graduate level. However, the College of Arts and Science offers several graduate certificates that can add specialization to your degree and make you more competitive for jobs or Ph.D. programs. If you are interested in earning a graduate certificate, we recommend discussing this goal with your adviser as soon as possible after you begin the M.A./GPED program. With careful course planning, you can complete a certificate within the 30-hour degree requirement.

Q: Is on-campus housing available?

Vanderbilt does not currently offer on-campus housing for graduate or professional students. Off-campus options vary in price, depending on size and location. Many local property owners provide special rent rates to Vanderbilt students. 

Most M.A./GPED students attempt to live within one mile of campus, at least for their first year of the program, and many share a place with one or more roommates (usually fellow GPED students or other Vanderbilt graduate students). Housing within this radius is limited and can be costly, due to high demand, so we recommend arranging your housing as soon as possible after you accept admisison to the program. We will provide you with a housing guide to aid you in your search.

Note: All Vanderbilt students, faculty, and staff can ride free of charge on Nashville buses and the Music City Star train. Your Vanderbilt ID card serves as your transit pass.

Q: Can I speak with a current student about the program?

We are fortunate to have a close-knit, friendly, and supportive group of students who are eager to share their experiences with prospective and incoming students. If you would like to speak with a current student, please email us at with the subject “Current Student Contact Request,” and we will connect you with someone!

Q: Will GPED help me get accepted to a Ph.D. program?

Ph.D. programs are extremely competitive. Interested students must have very strong academic credentials. Usually, 4-6 M.A./GPED students per year apply to Ph.D. programs, and we have a very successful placement rate.

Second-year M.A./GPED students have the option to take Ph.D.-level electives in the Economics department. If you are interested in Ph.D. study, we strongly recommend taking advantage of this opportunity. Students who wish to take Ph.D.-level courses must excel in their first-year studies and obtain the permission of the GPED director, the Ph.D. course instructor, and the Economics department’s director of graduate studies.

Keep in mind that Ph.D. courses completed as part of your M.A. degree will not count toward Ph.D. coursework. Rather, if you get good grades, they will help demonstrate that you have the ability to succeed at Ph.D. studies and will help improve your chance of being accepted into a Ph.D. program.

Students interested in Ph.D. study in economics or related fields should also take additional math classes at Vanderbilt. Linear algebra, real analysis, calculus III, and differential equations are all good choices.

Q: Does the program provide job placement or other career development services?

We encourage M.A./GPED students to take advantage of the extensive services offered by the Vanderbilt Career Center. The GPED also works with the Career Center to organize seminars and workshops designed just for our students. We have an extensive, active, and very supportive alumni network. Many alumni serve as mentors to our students, offer internships, or hire GPED graduates. We also pass along any job or internship information we receive from other sources.

Q: Is the program STEM-designated/eligible for the OPT extension?

Yes. The M.A. in Economics (GPED) is a STEM-designated program, and students are eligible for the 24-month Optional Practical Training extension. Students may be able to receive up to a 36-month total extension, if their employer meets certain conditions. Vanderbilt’s International Student and Scholar Services office advises students on STEM and OPT requirements.