MissionFacilitiesDonate to EconomicsResearch AreasJob PostingsContact Us
FacultyVisitorsEmeriti FacultyAdjunct FacultyAdvisorsStaffGraduate StudentsGraduate Student Job Market CandidatesAdvisory Board
This Week's Seminars and WorkshopsApplied Economics SeminarEconometrics SeminarEconomic Theory SeminarMacroeconomics SeminarEconomic Theory Reading GroupEconomic Theory Brown BagDevelopment LunchGraduate Student EC950 WorkshopGraduate Student DefensesDunaway Lecture Series
WelcomePhD ProgramProgram StructureFunding InformationApplication InformationFrequently Asked QuestionsPast Job Market PlacementsCurrent Job Market CandidatesForms and Check Sheets
Might Econ Be for You?Program InformationForms and Check SheetsAdvising ResourcesHelp Room ScheduleEcon ScholarsGet InvolvedSummer Online Course InformationAwardsScholarshipsFAQNewsletters

FAQ About the Application Process

Below is a list of answers to many of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) that we receive.  If you have further questions about our program after perusing these questions, please email our graduate office at ecgrdsec@msu.edu.

Do you have a master’s program?
The Economics Department does not offer a stand-alone master’s degree in Economics.

Can GMAT scores be substituted for the GRE?
No. All applications must contain a valid GRE score.

My native language is not English. What is the minimum TOEFL score required for admission?
The minimum internet-based TOEFL score is 80 overall, with no subscores below 19 for reading, listening, and speaking, and no writing subscore below 22.

Can the English Language Competency (e.g. TOEFL) requirement be waived?
MSU has two procedures for acquiring waivers for the TOEFL or similar English language competency exams. Automatic waivers are provided for students with certain degrees from institutions in the US or other English speaking countries. Please see https://grad.msu.edu/english-language-competency for information on qualifying for automatic waivers. Students who do not qualify for an automatic waiver but wish to request a non-automatic waiver must still submit unofficial scores and request a waiver from the Economics Department. Granting of the waiver is not guaranteed and if the department sends it forward, the ultimate decision rests with the college and university. All other international applicants must submit official scores for their application to be processed.

Is it possible to begin the program in the Spring semester?
Unfortunately, due to the sequencing of our courses, we only admit students beginning in the fall semester.

Where should I send my letters of recommendation?
Once your online application has been submitted, you will be directed to a website to enter your recommenders’ names and email addresses. They will receive emails with links to submit their letters.

What should I write in my statement of purpose and how long should it be?   
The statement of purpose should include a discussion of 1) how your academic training has prepared you to handle the rigors of a PhD program and how MSU's PhD program fits with your research interests and 2) how your life experiences have prepared you to handle the rigors of a PhD program. Please note, you should use this statement to provide an explanation for parts of your application that might otherwise appear weak and/or to highlight relevant aspects of your background that may not readily come through elsewhere. The statement should be no more than 2-4 double-spaced pages.

The application asks for my field of interest, but I am unsure at this time. What should I do?   
Being undecided is fine-just select "Undecided." Please note that a large program such as MSU is ideal for students who are undecided because we cover many different fields.

Is there a minimum GRE score required for admission?
There is no minimum GRE score, and the admission decision is not based on GRE score alone; however, most successful applicants score above a 164 on the quantitative section.

Are any GRE subject tests required?
No GRE subject tests are required for admission.

Should I include any supplemental papers in my application?
While we primarily consider test scores, transcripts, the statement of purpose, and letters of recommendations, you are also welcome to include a supplemental paper as an example of your research experience if you wish.

Is an application fee waiver available?
The University assesses the application fee, so the department is not able to issue any fee waiver. An application will not be considered until the Admissions Office notifies the department that the fee has been paid.

Can I send someone my GRE scores, undergraduate GPA, and other details to hear a preliminary decision on my admission chances?
No. The department will not consider any applications outside of the official admission’s process. We recommend reading the characteristics of successful applications listed above to determine if you are similar to previously accepted applicants.



Michigan State University Department of Economics