Ph.D. in Economics admissions

The Ph.D. program has moved to "alternative year" admissions. Applications for the fall 2023 entering class will begin in September 2022.

Admission to the Ph.D. 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

Applicate deadlines

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

  • Fall term: May 1
  • Winter term: September 1
  • Spring/summer: 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 90 semester hours of graduate study, 60 in course work plus 30 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 more information, please see the Economics Ph.D. Graduate Handbook (PDF).

International students

We urge international students to submit their applications for the fall term as soon as possible and to follow all procedures regarding application fees and transcripts.

Processing international applications, including translation and verification of transcripts and recommendations, may take two or more months. Moreover, once accepted, international students may require several months to make appropriate financial and travel plans.  International students should also consult the Wayne State Graduate School for international students.