Admission to the Ph.D. Program

Admission to the doctoral program requires an undergraduate honor point average of at least 3.0 (B). Scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must be submitted to the Department as part of the application for admission. Applicants from countries in which English is not the principal language must attain either (1) a score of 550 on the TOEFL examination, or (2) a score of 85 on the Michigan Test (MELAB).

We welcome applications from students who have majored in disciplines other than economics. Economics issues address a wide range of social behaviors, so the Ph.D. student will find it an advantage in a career as an economist to have a broad intellectual background. However, students beginning the program are expected to arrive with the following preparation:

  • at least two courses in mathematical calculus. Additional courses in calculus (including multivariate calculus and integration), as well as linear algebra, will strengthen students’ preparation for Ph.D. work.
  • a course in intermediate microeconomics
  • a course in intermediate macroeconomics,
  • one or more courses in statistics

Official deadline dates for filing an application for graduate admission are:

Fall term deadline: May 1
Winter term deadline: September 1
Spring/Summer term deadline: January 1

Although students are encouraged to meet these deadlines, the Department will consider applications submitted before classes begin each semester. We encourage foreign students, however, to apply early to allow sufficient time for correspondence, and the TOEFL examination, and obtaining a visa. We urge foreign students to use a January 15 deadline so that appropriate decisions can be made in evaluating transcripts and in offering financial aid.


Ph.D. students must successfully complete ninety semester hours of graduate study, sixty in course work plus thirty in dissertation research. They must pass sequences in microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, and quantitative methods, acquire a basic knowledge of the history of economic thought, and demonstrate competence in multivariate calculus.

Two of the following specialized fields must be elected for study:

Health Economics
Industrial Organization
International Economics
Labor and Human Resources
Applied Macroeconomics

The Department, in rare cases, will approve one special area in economics or one cognate field outside of economics in place of one of the above areas of specialization.

Students achieve Ph.D. candidacy by passing the written and oral qualifying examinations in economic theory and their two elective fields and by completing a dissertation outline approved by the Department and the Graduate Division.

For further details see the Admission section in the Ph.D. Program Policy and Procedures document.

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