Frequently Asked Questions for Prospective Students

I. PhD Program Inquiries

Q. The Department of Economics looks for applicants to possess strong mathematical backgrounds. What exactly does a strong mathematical background consist of?
Answer: Successful applicants generally have taken two years of calculus (through multi-variate calculus), economic statistics, and introductory econometrics. Courses of Linear algebra, differential equations, and Real Analysis are also helpful. One way to get an idea about the level of math required for PhD work is to look at any of these first-year textbooks: Microeconomics, by Mas-Collel, et. al., Introduction to Mathematical Statistics by Hogg & Craig, and Econometric Analysis, by Greene.

Q. What kind of financial support is available for students in the Economics PhD Program?
Answer: The Graduate School offers financial aid in the form of Teaching and Research Assistantships that provide tuition scholarships and stipends.

Q. Does the Department offer a MA Program in Economics?
Answer: The Department offers an MA in Applied Economics. This program is entirely separate from the PhD program in its admission process, and the courses required are distinct from those of the Doctoral program. PhD Students earn the "master's in passing" (in Economics) after accumulating 30 credits with a GPA of at least 3.0. Students who leave the PhD Program may receive an MA (in Economics) if they have accumulated a sufficient number of credits with a GPA of at least 3.0.

Q. Is it possible to do well in the Program if I work full time?
Answer: NO. The Economics Department requires full-time study and classes meet during the day. Some students elect to hold jobs once they reach the dissertation stage of the program, but they often find it difficult to sustain the interest of their dissertation committees and generally take much longer to complete their degrees.

Q. What are the strengths of Georgetown University’s PhD Program?
Answer: The PhD Program has two major strengths: International Economics and Microeconomic Theory. However, the program offers an excellent variety of fields including Econometrics, Economic Development, Economic Theory, Industrial Organization, International Economics, Labor Economics, Macroeconomics, Public Economics and Political Economy.


II. Application Inquiries

Q. When is it necessary to submit a TOEFL score in an application?
Answer:All applicants must provide proof of English language proficiency to be eligible for admission. Please note that citizenship does not determine English language proficiency.  Proof of English language proficiency can be demonstrated by: 

  • the receipt of a bachelor's or advanced degree from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction. The degree does not have to be earned by the time of application but will need to be conferred by the start of the semester to which the applicant is applying. (Please note that applicants receiving degrees at universities in U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, are required to submit the TOEFL or IELTS unless the primary language of instruction at the institution is English.)
  • submission of an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score report with a minimum score of 550 (paper-based test) or 80 (internet test). Many departments and programs require submission of a TOEFL score of 600 (paper-based test) or 100 (internet test) or higher.
  • submission of an official International English Language Testing System (IELTS)Academic Module score report with a minimum score of 7.0. Some departments and programs require submission of an IELTS score of 7.5.

Q. What does the Department consider to be an acceptable GRE score?
Answer: The Department focuses on the quantitative and analytical sections of the GRE. Applicants who score below the 80th percentile are most likely not considered.

Q. How do I check my application status?
Answer: The Graduate School will notify you when a decision has been made. The department is not allowed to release any information over the phone or by email. Please do not inquire.

Q. If I am admitted, may I defer matriculation until the subsequent year?
Answer: No. The department of economics does not allow any deferrals.


III. Average Statistics

Q. Approximately how many students get accepted into the PhD Program each year?
Answer: In recent years the PhD Program has received about 475 applications, of which about 50 are admitted and 15 matriculate.

Q. Approximately, how many students are awarded financial aid each year?
Answer: We are normally able to provide financial aid to about ten first year students.

Q. On an average, how many years does it take the majority of your students to obtain their PhD’s?
Answer: Over the past ten years, median time to completion is between five and one-half years and six years.


IV. Financial Inquiries (all amounts are subject to change)

Q. What are the terms of an assistantship award?
Answer: The awards for the 2016-2017 academic year includes full tuition and a living stipend of $27,000 paid over eight months of the academic semester. The assistantships carry work obligations of fifteen hours per week.

Q. What additional application materials do I need in order to be considered for financial aid?
Answer: There is no separate financial aid application. Applicants wanting to be considered for financial aid need only to mark the box that indicates so on the general application for admission.

Q. What is the cost of tuition and insurance for the academic year 2014-2015?
Answer: The current tuition is $1,800 per credit. A normal course load is 12 credits per semester. For I-20 purposes, living expenses are estimated to be $20,700, and books and insurance $3,234. For more information about insurance costs, please contact Office of Student Financial Services.
Year 1 $1,940 x 24 credits = $ 43,200
Year 2 $1,940 x 18 credits = $ 32,400      
Year 3 $1,940 x 8 credits = $ 14,400
Year 4 $1,940 x 2 credits = $ 3,600
Year 5 $1,940 x 2 credits = $ 3,600


V. Email Etiquette

Q. How does the department respond to inquiries sent by e-mail?
Answer: There are several things of which you should be aware. First, it is rarely necessary to send an inquiry. The Graduate Admissions Office will let you know if your application is incomplete; the Economics Graduate Program Coordinator, Julius Shapiro, will let you know if the admissions committee has specific questions about your application. Second, applications are read by admissions committees who have access to all of the information in your file. Please do not email faculty members about your application, even if they work in the field that you want to study. Finally, be patient. You must keep in mind that we receive hundreds of inquiries and that it takes time to make sure that each email is answered correctly and completely. Sometimes applicants do not send their email to the person best-qualified to respond. In such cases, the recipient forwards the email to someone who can provide the correct information. Under no circumstances should an applicant send the same inquiry to several recipients or send the same inquiry several times.


VI. Admission Requirements

Q. What does the application consist of?
Answer: The Application consists of the following:
1. Application form and supplemental data sheet
2. 500 word typed Statement of Purpose
3. Official transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended
4. Three letters of recommendation (in English)
5. Curriculum vitae (optional)
6. Entrance Exam (GRE, and/or TOEFL)
7. Application fee - No fee waivers

Q. What is the criteria for admission?
Answer: The admissions committee carefully evaluates the previous academic record for evidence of strong analytical and creativity as well as substantial training in mathematics and statistics. At a minimum, applicants should have had multivariate calculus and undergraduate statistics; courses in differential equations, linear algebra, real analysis, and econometrics would strengthen an application. Undergraduate training in economics is desirable but is not essential for applicants with appropriate alternative backgrounds. The application must include three letters of recommendation (from teachers who recently taught the applicant), official transcripts, statement of purpose, GRE score reports, and the application fee. The TOEFL score report is required for applicants whose first language of instruction is not English. The minimum requirement for the TOEFL is 550 on the paper test and 213 on the electronic test, and 80 on the Internet based test.

Q. When is the application deadline?
Answer: The deadline for admission and financial aid is January 1, 2017 at Midnight EST

Q. When and how will I be notified about the decision?
Answer: The Graduate School notifies applicants of decisions as quickly as possible. The department is not allowed to release any information over the phone or by email. Please do not inquiry.

Q. What are the GRE and TOEFL institutional codes for Georgetown University?
Answer: The GRE code for Georgetown University is 5244. The TOEFL code for Georgetown University is 5244.

Q. Can I transfer credits from my current institution?
Answer: Typically, No. However, the department occasionally awards “advanced standing” or transfer credit for graduate work completed elsewhere. We do not give transfer credit for the core theory courses (Microeconomics I & II, and Macroeconomics I & II). We can not give transfer credit for previous graduate work that applied to a previous degree. The maximum number of transfer credits that we award is 12.