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Funding & Policies

Almost all admitted students receive financial aid from the Department of Economics, either in the form of teaching assistantships or fellowships. This aid usually includes full payment of tuition, partial payment of the health insurance premium, and a stipend. Most financial aid packages are for five years, contingent upon remaining in good academic standing and abiding by other terms listed in the offer letter.

Most of our students receive teaching assistantships, which require a maximum of 20 hours per week. In the first year, students start out as graders or leaders of discussion sections for Introduction to Microeconomics or Introduction to Macroeconomics. All students spend at least one semester as a recitation leader before teaching courses independently. More advanced students serve as teaching assistants for first-year graduate theory courses, teach advanced undergraduate courses, or lead the large lecture for introductory undergraduate theory courses.

A smaller number of students receive fellowships. These fellowships do not have a work requirement, but provide the payment of tuition, health insurance, and a stipend. The stipends vary according to the specific fellowships. For a list of fellowships offered by the University of Minnesota and other institutions, please see the fellowship information below.

First-year students often receive a combination of a teaching assistantship and fellowship.

Students who fulfill the criteria for satisfactory progress and who have been offered multi-year financial aid packages from the department are offered part-time teaching assistantships or comparable support for the following years as defined by the offer letter, but usually through the fifth year. In order to receive this support, the student must perform the assistantship duties diligently and be making satisfactory progress through the program which is defined in the Graduate Student Handbook. If the student is not a native English speaker, the student must complete the English-proficiency requirements outlined in the offer letter by the end of the first year in the program.

Some students are employed as research assistants, although this is at the discretion of the individual faculty member. A limited number of students work at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis as research assistants. These appointments are usually reserved for more advanced students and are made at the discretion of the researcher. Read more about research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.


There are a variety of fellowships available for economics students.

Departmental Fellowships

  • Warwick Fellowship: This fellowship is intended to recruit outstanding new students to the Economics PhD program. One award is made per academic year. All admitted students are automatically considered for this fellowship.
  • Gross Fellowship: One or two awards are made every academic year to attract the strongest new students to our program. All admitted students are automatically considered for this fellowship.
  • Hurwicz Fellowship: Established to honor the late Leonid Hurwicz, Regents Professor of economics and 2007 Nobel Laureate in economics, this fellowship is awarded to one outstanding economics student each academic year.
  • Sandor Fellowship: This fellowship is awarded to outstanding students with an interest in environmental economics.
  • Litterman Fellowship: This fellowship is awarded to exceptional students in economics at all stages of the program. All admitted students are automatically considered for this award.
  • Silverman Fellowship: This fellowship is awarded to the second-year student with the best performance in the first year of the program.
  • Third-Year Paper Competition: This competition, which started in 2005, allows third-year students who are making timely progress through the program to submit papers for consideration by a faculty committee. Three prizes are awarded and the committee provides feedback and direction for continuing the research. This competition is intended to help third-year students start on their dissertation research.
  • Graduate Research Partnership Program: This fellowship program supports research partnerships between faculty from the College of Liberal Arts and graduate students. The Department of Economics makes a number of summer awards available each year to students in their third and fourth years.

University-Wide Fellowships

  • ICGC Fellowships: The Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC) offers three types of financial support. ICGC Scholars Program is for incoming students who are nominated by their academic department. The ICGC/Mellon Scholars supports graduate students whose research interests emphasize humanistic and interpretive social science perspectives. The ICGC-Compton International Fellowship provides research support for students from sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America whose research will address issues of peace, security and conflict resolution in those regions, especially in relation to population and environmental concerns. Applicants for ICGC Fellowships must submit a complete application by December 15. For more information and application instructions, please visit the ICGC website.
  • DOVE Fellowship: The Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE) Fellowships are awarded to first-year graduate students from underrepresented populations and are only open to US citizens and US permanent residents. The Department nominates students for the DOVE Fellowship, which is awarded by the Graduate School. If you are interested in applying for the DOVE Fellowship, please submit a statement on how your background, experiences, and achievements will promote the University's goal of promoting excellence through diversity in the "Diversity Statement" section of the application in addition to your regular statement of purpose. Applicants for the DOVE Fellowship must submit a complete application by December 15.
  • Graduate School Dissertation Fellowships: This fellowship provides dissertation support for exceptional students in the final year of their PhD program. It allows students to work full-time on their dissertation. The department is allowed to nominate a limited number of students for this award.

External Fellowships

Links to a wide variety of fellowships can be found at the Graduate School.