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Ph.D. Admissions

The Ph.D. in Economics

The Ph.D. program in economics admits between 8 and 12 students per year and prepares them for a successful career in academia, government, international organizations, or the private sector. In the first year, students take classes in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics, as well as mathematical economics and economic history. In the second and third year, students take 21 credit hours of specialized classes in at least two of the following concentrations:

  • Microeconomic Theory
  • Macroeconomic Theory
  • Econometrics
  • Economic Development
  • Economic History
  • Health Economics
  • Industrial Organization
  • International Economics
  • Labor Economics
  • Money and Financial Institutions
  • Public Economics

Students can petition to combine at least two related classes to a nonstandard concentration. 

Applying to the Program

The application deadline for the Ph.D. program is January 15th for the coming fall semester. Successful applicants have strong quantitative backgrounds and a passion for research in economics.The application fee is $95.00 upon submission.

Our incoming students usually have an undergraduate degree in economics and/or mathematics, with significant quantitative and math-intensive course experience. Many international applicants have a master’s degree. Research experience (such as an undergraduate or master’s thesis, or work as a research assistant) is a plus.  

  • Required: One year of calculus, one semester of statistics, and intermediate-level courses in microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory.
  • Strongly recommended: Courses in linear algebra, differential equations, real analysis, and econometrics. 
  • Official GRE scores
  • International students: official TOEFL or IELTS scores. This requirement will be waived for an international student with a degree from an institution in which English is the official language of instruction. Furthermore, while a TOEFL score is optional  for applicants attending an English-language university in a non-English-speaking country, it can often be helpful to demonstrate command of English.
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • 3-5 letters of recommendation

In your statement of purpose, tell us how your studies so far have prepared you for a Ph.D. program, and share what fascinates you about research in economics.  

Campus visits are offered to everyone admitted to the program. Visits consist of a half-day of individual meetings with faculty members and students, plus lunch. 

Q: What test scores do admitted candidates usually have  on the GRE?

A: Applicants often overestimate the importance of GRE scores for Ph.D. applications. The GRE tests whether you can do high school math quickly and correctly, as well as your vocabulary. Scores below a certain level (say, below 155 verbal and below 161 quantitative) tend to indicate problems, while very high scores do not necessarily guarantee that you are fully prepared for a Ph.D. program in economics.

For candidates who satisfy these thresholds, we look primarily at their preparation for a Ph.D. program in terms of how they did in the challenging courses they took in both advanced economics and math, rather than going only by their specific GRE scores.

Q: Do you have a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score?

A: Admitted international candidates tend to have a minimum TOEFL speaking score of 24 or an IELTS speaking score of 7.