PhD Application FAQs

Must applicants submit a GRE score report?
All applicants must submit a valid, official score report of the GRE; the GRE is valid for five years. The institution code for the University of Michigan is 1839. There is no department code. The GMAT is not an acceptable substitute for the GRE. Do not send a paper copy of your score report; any received will be discarded.

What happens if my GRE scores arrive after the December 15 deadline?
You are strongly encouraged to take the GRE so that the official scores reach the department by December 15. Applications will be withheld from the review process until the official GRE score report has been received. If you have taken the GRE more than once, the most recent score will be used in the review process.

Must international applicants submit a TOEFL score report?
The TOEFL is valid for two years; Rackham Graduate School waives the TOEFL requirement for any applicant who is a non‐native English speaker who has earned a degree or will have earned a degree from an English‐speaking institution before entering our doctoral program. The minimum IELTS score is 6.5. The minimum iBT score is an 84 overall. The section minimums are 23 for Reading, 23 for Listening, 17 for Speaking, and 21 for Writing. The minimum paper‐ based TOEFL score is 600. The minimum computer‐based TOEFL score is 250. Do not send a paper copy of your score report; any received will be discarded.

Do applicants need to submit a selfcalculated GPA?
It is not necessary for students who have attended a postsecondary institution that does not include a schoolcalculated GPA to include such a calculation. However, it is helpful to submit a class rank if that documentation is provided by the institution.

Do applicants need to send a transcript from every school attended?
If the course and grade from another school is posted to a primary transcript, it's not necessary to send an original transcript of that coursework. Transcripts received as hard-copy will not be reviewed.

Should I submit a transcript if I'm enrolled for the fall term?
If you are currently enrolled, you do NOT need to submit the fall term transcript with your grade(s) posted on it. If a transcript is required, you will be contacted by email by the department.

Can I submit more than 3 letters of recommendation?
Our standard application package consists of 3 LOR’s. If you choose to submit an additional letter it must be sent as an email attachment by the letter
writer to, but urge you to limit your references to individuals who can speak to your capacity for graduate work in economics and/or your capacity to do independent work.  Letters received as hard-copy will not be reviewed.

Can I submit letters of recommendation letters from employers instead of faculty?
The strongest letters of recommendation are written by people who have earned a PhD in economics and are thus familiar with the rigors of the doctoral program. The letter writer should provide their judgment of your ability to be successful in a doctoral program.  Employers who satisfy these criteria can often provide unique and valuable references.

How can I verify whether supporting documents have arrived?
You can check Wolverine Access for information on whether supporting documents have been received. However, this information is NOT available until January 15. We expect to have status letters back to applicants by March 15. Applicants must make an enrollment decision by April 15.

What is the likelihood of receiving firstyear financial support?
There is no separate application process for financial aid. All applicants are reviewed simultaneously for both admission and aid. We currently have the resources to fund all students we admit through a combination of fellowships (first year) and graduate student instructor positions (subsequent years) for up to 5 years.

How much is the application fee?
Information about the application fee is available at:

Do international applicants need to complete financial certification?
International students who are nominated for admission will be contacted by Rackham Graduate School to submit financial certification in order for the University of Michigan to prepare the I
20. If you have been awarded financial aid by the University, the department will verify that information with Rackham Graduate School.

If I send you a snapshot of my academic credentials can you predict whether I am admissible?
There is no one aspect of your application that either guarantees or denies admission. The committee evaluates the entire academic record. It is not possible to judge the likelihood of any one applicant being offered admission without reviewing all applications in the pool for any given year. The review process is very competitive. We receive about 700 applications a year with an entering class of roughly 25 students. Applicants do not need to have majored in economics or completed a Master's degree prior to application. Indeed, in the recent past we have admitted students with undergraduate degrees in mathematics, physics, history and other disciplines.  However, applicants must have completed at least two terms of calculus and a term of linear algebra.  We also strongly recommend coursework in statistics. Most applicants have stronger mathematical preparation than the minimum standard. Applicants should also have completed at least an intermediate
level micro and macroeconomics course.

Can I meet with faculty during the application process?
We do not offer the opportunity for applicants to meet with individual faculty prior to being offered admission. We do not recruit students to work in particular fields so strongly discourage applicants from emailing faculty requesting to work with them on current research projects.

Do you accept transfer students?
Applicants who are currently enrolled in another PhD program go through the same review process as all other applicants. It is not possible to transfer any courses. If you are offered admission, it is possible to take equivalency exams in our first
year mathematics and econometrics sequence.

Can you apply to more than one program simultaneously?
Students can apply to multiple programs at the University of Michigan but must submit a separate application, application fee, and complete set of supporting documents for each application.

Can you apply to both the PhD program in Economics and the Master's of Applied Economics simultaneously?
The Economics department offers two separate and distinct graduate programs. One is the doctoral program which is theoretical in nature and prepares students to become economics faculty at research
oriented universities. The other is the Master's in Applied Economics program. This is a policyoriented program of study that is completed after 33 credit hours of study. Review your career goals and make a decision as to whether the Ph.D. program or the MAE program offer you the best options for meeting those goals. The MAE program does not accept applications from students who applied to the PhD program but were not offered admission. The MAE program is NOT an intermediate step towards the PhD.

Do you have a preview day?

Yes, we hold our preview day in late march.

Can admitted students be deferred?
Admitted students can be deferred for one year if they will not be attending any other graduate program. Financial aid is not automatically deferred but determined on a case
bycase basis.

What's the process for reapplying?
If you are denied admission, you are welcome to re
apply. However, you must complete a new online application and submit the application fee again. Supporting documentation remains on file for two years. If you have enrolled for any courses during the intervening time, you must submit a transcript of that work. If you have enrolled for any graduatelevel courses during the intervening time, you must submit at least two reference letters from faculty in that graduate program.

Can I enroll in the PhD program on a less than fulltime status?
The PhD program in economics is not available as a distance
learning, parttime, or evening program.

For questions regarding admissions please send an email to