Graduate Admissions – FAQs

The following questions give brief answers to get you started. Many of the following questions are more fully answered in the “Requirements” section of this website.

A. The Department of Economics does not have applications. The application process happens through the Graduate School’s Office of Admissions. All applications are done online.
The department does not require anything over and above what the Graduate School requires for admission. Please refer to the Graduate Admissions page for required material. During the online application process, applicants to the Economics Ph.D. program will be asked to supply a list of the most advanced courses taken in Math and Economics as well as the textbooks associated with those courses.
The Department does not require a writing sample. If you choose to submit a sample with your application, because of time restraints we cannot guarantee that the admissions committee will be able to review it.
The departments do not have applications. The application process happens through the Graduate School’s Admissions Office. The online application can be found here.
Final application deadline for all applicants is December 1. Deadline applies for the receipt of applications and all supporting material. Earlier applications are encouraged.
The graduate program in the Department of Economics is a 5 year Ph.D. program only. We do not offer a separate M.A. program. Ph.D. students in our program can apply for their Incidental Master’s Degree after completing the general exam requirement or passing the required second year courses with the required average.
The Bendheim Center for Finance does offer a Master in Finance Program.
Yes, all applicants to the Economics Ph.D program are required to submit a current GRE score. If your scores are more than five years old, you must retake the test. When registering for the test, you must request that your scores be sent to Princeton University, Office of Graduate Admissions (institution code 2672, no department code is required). Allow several weeks for test scores to reach the University. To ensure timely receipt of GRE scores, applicants are urged to take the paper exam in October, or the computer-based test no later than early December. An application is considered incomplete without these scores. For more information contact Educational Testing Services at (609) 771-7670 or (866) 473-4373 or on the web.
All applicants whose native language is not English or who have not received their undergraduate education in a U.S. college or university must submit scores from one of two internationally recognized assessments of English language proficiency, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Applicants whose native language is not English but who have received their undergraduate education in an English language speaking country do not have to submit these scores. Non native English speakers who graduate with an undergraduate degree from an institution whose language of instruction is English but not in an English language country must submit scores from either of these tests. All requirements are based on your undergraduate education regardless of any graduate education. The Graduate School does not offer waivers of this requirement.

“Native language” is defined as the language you grew up speaking in your family, your community, or your nation.

For More Information: English Testing

All students who are offered admission to the Ph.D. program are offered support from the Graduate School. They provide tuition and a yearly stipend for living expenses for all five years of regular enrollment.
It is not necessary to have an advanced degree for applying to our program. Many students come to us directly from an undergraduate instituion.
The admissions committee will accept a B.A. degree regardless of the program length.
It is not necessary to have received your undergraduate degree in Economics. We have admitted students from other disciplines. However, a knowledge of Economics and a strong math background are desired.
There are no allowable credit transfers from another program to the Economics Ph.D. program. All admitted students, regardless of an advanced degree, will begin the program as a first year student subject to the first year core courses. An admitted student can, however, opt to take an exemption exam before the beginning of the term for any of the first year core courses.
Work experience is not required. Many of our students come directly from an undergraduate program and do not have work experience.
No one on the admissions committee will meet with an applicant before he or she is offered admission. The faculty on the committee will remain anonymous. If you visit campus or the Department of Economics you can schedule an appointment with the Graduate Program Administrator, 609-258-4006, for further information about the program or the admissions process.
The Graduate School’s official admission notification happens in March. Many times admitted applicants will receive a congratulatory email from the department a few days before the Graduate School’s official deadline.
Generally, the Economics Department does not allow deferrals. Princeton allows very few deferrals each year which must be approved by the department and the Graduate School. If your deferral is not approved you may request that your application be reactivated for consideration the following year. This does not guarantee that you will be readmitted.
A small number of special students not enrolled as regular degree candidates apply and are admitted in the following categories:

  • Visiting student. A visiting student, normally an advanced degree candidate at another institution, comes to Princeton for a term or a year to meet a particular scholarly need to consult with a faculty member, to enroll in specific courses, or to use library or laboratory facilities. A visiting student holds this status for one year only, is charged full tuition and the mandatory student health plan fee, and is normally not eligible for University financial support.
  • Visiting student research collaborator  A visiting student research collaborator is an advanced degree candidate at another institution who applies to come to Princeton as a short-term, non-degree student to work with a specific Princeton faculty member on a research project that grows out of a specific collaboration or mutual research interest. Such students may visit for as little as one month or as long as (but no longer than) 12 months. The visitor, or the sponsoring faculty member is charged reduced, prorated tuition and fees.
In order to participate in the Program In Political Economy, a student must apply to one of three departments, Economics, Politics, or the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy. Students will be subject to all other requirements of the home department so an applicant should choose to apply to the department which most suits their interest.
Many times we are asked to recommend specific courses for a potential applicant to take in order to fortify an admission application. The department cannot make specific recommendations. While reviewing an application, the internal admissions committee of the Economics Department does not base a decision on any one factor. The whole application is taken into account. It is not necessary to have graduate level courses on the transcript but they will look at the degree of difficulty of the courses you have taken as well as the grades for your courses. A strong math background is required and especially working knowledge of multivariate calculus and matrix algebra. The committee looks for strong letters of recommendation from your professors who can attest to the type of student you are and can speak to your potential in graduate program.
When an application is denied admission, the Graduate School retains the file for one year. Applicants who applied the previous year may reapply the following year for admission. Reactivated applicants should complete the admission application. In addition, they must submit official transcripts of any academic work accomplished since the date of the last application, new letters of recommendation from three letter writers (the same people, or new ones), and a revised personal statement. All materials, including the application fee, are due by the application deadline.

If an application is denied it is not possible for the department to go back and review applications to justify the denial or offer advice on fortifying a future application. All materials are returned to the Graduate Admissions office by the department and are not available for review.