You are here

How to Apply to the PhD Program


We will accept applications for the Ph.D. program starting November 1.  You still need to submit test scores from the GRE and TOEFL (if a non-native speaker of English).

The deadline for graduate applications is Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.  You can only apply for the Fall 2021 term.  We do not admit any students for the spring term.

We do not have a Masters Program in Economics

Basic Requirements for Admission

Our basic standards and requirements for admission are:

  • A grade-point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale or an academic rank in the top 5% of your class.
  • A score in the 80th percentile or higher on the quantitative portion of the GRE general exam. This requirement applies to both the old and new versions of the exam.
  • For students who are not native speakers of English, a minimum score of 100 on the TOEFL iBT, or 7.0 on the IELTS. a minimum score of 100 on the TOEFL iBT, or 7.0 on the IELTS. Students who have at least four years of funding from a third party may be admitted with a TOEFL score of 79 on the ibT or an IELTS score of 6.5. Test scores are valid within 2 years of program start (September); so a TOEFL or IELTS exam date earlier than September 2019 will have to be retaken for Fall 2021 admission.
  • Coursework in multivariate calculus and linear algebra.

Every year we receive far more applications from students who meet these standards than we can admit, so we use additional criteria to evaluate the applications. These criteria include courses taken and texts studied, letters of recommendation, research papers and other professional activities and academic honors. The admissions committee will also look for evidence that the applicant has been exposed to economic theory beyond the intermediate undergraduate level. This introduction may come through a course called advanced economic theory, mathematical economics, game theory, or mathematics for economists.

It is recommended that students take more than just the mathematical prerequisite classes, as more experience in analysis, differential equations, optimization, topology, probability, or measurement theory will help your graduate study immensely.

The University of Minnesota had 360 applicants for 22 positions in the Fall 2020 entering class. We made 70 offers of admission. All students were offered financial support by the University of Minnesota. The mean GPA of admitted students who attended a U.S. university was 3.84/4.0. The mean GRE scores of all admitted students were 157.5 on the verbal section and 167.3 on the quantitative section. The mean score on the analytical writing section was 4.0.

TOEFL Waivers

The TOEFL may be waived for admission if the applicant has completed at least 16 credits of college-level work at a university in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, or New Zealand within 24 months of the desired date of admission. If you are admitted and are offered a teaching assistantship, you will need to take the Spoken English Test for Teaching Assistants (SETTA).


If you have questions about applying to the Economics Doctoral Program, please contact the Economics Graduate Studies Office at  Please do not write to individual professors with transcripts or resumes.  Your credentials cannot be evaluated without a formal application.