The department recruits the most promising students from
the United States and around the world. Students are accepted
directly for full-time PhD study. Previous study of economics
can be helpful, but is not essential. What is essential is that entering students be sufficiently well prepared in mathematics. The PhD program is quantitatively oriented. The minimum
mathematics requirements are two semesters of calculus
and a semester of linear algebra. In practice, most students
we admit have more than the minimum mathematical preparation. While not explicitly required, training in Real Analysis, Differential Equations, and/or Probability and Statistics are a plus.
For admission to full-time graduate status, an applicant must hold a bachelor's degree from a recognized college or university or have completed an equivalent level of education that the University of Pittsburgh deems comparable to a bachelors degree; in some instances, a masters degree may be required. The applicant must also have a B or better grade point average in the total undergraduate program. An applicant with less than a B average who presents alternative evidence of superior ability may be admitted to the program.
The application deadline is January 15 of the year in which the student intends to enter the program. Admission is for the fall term only. All applicants will be considered for financial aid (fellowship awards); there is no separate application for financial aid. The department typically makes admissions and financial aid decisions in late February or early March. Applications received after January 15 or files that are incomplete as of that date will not be considered.
Applicants are required to submit all of the following materials:
- Completed application, submitted on-line. Please see our Apply page. Please also download and print the instructions for completing the on-line application BEFORE beginning the application process. Application Instructions
- A $50.00 application fee, payable either on-line with a credit card, or by check or money order payable to the University of Pittsburgh. Applicants who indicate they are paying by check and do not enclose payment for the application fee with their application materials will not be considered for admission.
- Official transcripts from all undergraduate or graduate programs attended, showing grades earned, degree conferred, and the date when the degree was conferred. Applicants who are in the process of earning a degree should submit a current transcript at the time they apply. A notarized English translation is required if transcripts are in a language other than English.
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical
sections of the GRE. Most successful applicants have scores near or above the 85th percentile on the GRE
quantitative and analytical tests. These thresholds are reported for information only; they are not
precise criteria for admission. Note that official GRE scores are now submitted to us electronically by
the Educational Testing Service; you may include a photocopy of your scores with your application materials
for informational purposes only. GRE scores are acceptable for five years after the test date.
For the GRE, the Institution Code for the University of Pittsburgh is 2927; the Department Code for Economics is 1801.
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score,
if an applicant’s native language is not English.
Applicants who have earned a degree from a college or university in the
United States are exempt from this requirement. Also exempt from this requirement are applicants whose native language is not English but who have completed a degree program at an institution outside of the U.S. where the language of instruction is English and where the official national language of the country in which the institution is located is English.
To be admitted, applicants must have a minimum TOEFL score of 550 on the paper-based test, or 90 on the internet-based test, with at least a score of 22 in all of the four sections (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). Most successful applicants have scores of 650 or higher on the paper-based text, and scores above 90 on the internet-based test. These thresholds are reported for information only; as long as applicants have achieved the minimum scores, they qualify for admission to the program. Note that official TOEFL scores are now submitted to us electronically by the Educational Testing Service; you may include a photocopy of your scores with your application materials for informational purposes only. TOEFL scores are acceptable for two years after the test date.
For the TOEFL, the Institution Code for the University of Pittsburgh is 2927; the Department Code for Economics is 84.
The minimum acceptable IELTS score is 7.0, with at least a score of 6.5 in each of the four sections. Note that applicants must take the academic reading and writing modules, not the general training reading and writing modules.
- Three letters of recommendation. These can either be submitted on-line (preferred) or through the mail. Letters submitted through the mail must be written on letterhead stationary, and must be in a sealed envelope with the recommender’s signature across the seal.
- A career statement of 500 words or less that addresses your intellectual and professional goals,
and answers the following questions:
- What has prompted you to pursue graduate study in economics?
- What are your ultimate professional goals and aspirations?
- Which subfield of economics has your primary interest? (optional)