Admissions and Aid

An overview of the admissions process and financial aid offered for the Ph.D. Program in Economics can be found below. We also encourage prospective students to visit the Office of Admissions and the Office of Fellowships and Financial Aid

Our program, which has approximately 100 doctoral students, is highly regarded and competitive. We admit close to 15 to 18 students (about 15% of applicants) annually and offer financial support in the form of Graduate Center Fellowships or Tuition Fellowships

Learn More or Apply Online

Admissions Overview

Application Deadline: January 1

For priority consideration, we strongly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible.

Applications are reviewed in the month of January. Initial decisions are made in late March and early April depending on our academic calendar. More decisions are made in May. Most applicants will hear from us by the beginning of June.

The documents we look for in an admissions package include the following:

  1. Required: Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended
  2. Required: Statement of Purpose or Essay
  3. Required: GRE scores
  4. Required: Letters of recommendation [at least 2, but 3 or 4 are preferred]
  5. Required if English is not your first language: TOEFL score
  6. Optional: Resume
  7. Optional: Writing Sample [i.e. MA thesis or past publications]

Fellowships and Financial Aid

Every applicant to The Graduate Center’s doctoral programs will automatically be considered for five-year institutional funding packages. The aid we offer — including fellowships, tuition awards, and assistantships — is based on merit. 

Learn more about institutional aid for doctoral students »

Federal aid for doctoral students includes:

New York State also provides the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for eligible graduate students who are New York State residents.

Additional funding may be available to incoming students from underrepresented populations through offerings from the Office of Educational Opportunity and Diversity, including several fellowships and the CUNY Pipeline Program for undergraduate CUNY students.

Learn more about funding opportunities from OEOD »

Tuition and Fees

Tuition rates for doctoral programs at The Graduate Center are based on a student's “level,” which is determined by a combination of the number of graduate credits completed (including, in the case of transfer students, credits accepted by the student's degree program and the Registrar) and specific academic accomplishments. 

The fee structure is also affected by a student’s resident status.

See current doctoral tuition rates »

Each student will be billed for a Graduate School student activities fee, a University student senate fee, a University consolidated services fee and a technology fee. These fees are not refundable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Application Questions

In the past we have occasionally accepted such candidates, but new admissions policy at The Graduate Center (smaller program, and every entering student receiving some funding) is making this more difficult to do. Please note that part time Ph.D. applicants are considered in the same pool with full-time applicants.  

The American Economic Association also describes the necessary mathematical preparation for graduate work in economics and divides specific courses in math and statistics into five levels. Students starting our program have at least completed courses through Level 3, and many have done coursework in real analysis.

Our program is typical of many other Ph.D. programs in the U.S.A. where a solid foundation in mathematics and statistics is important for success in a Ph.D. education in economics. The GRE math score is a measure, even if imperfect, of this foundation. The verbal GRE score measures facility with the English language. The career of a typical economist consists of writing, presenting, and teaching; i.e., communicating economic knowledge. The GRE verbal and analytical writing scores are indicative, even if imperfectly so, of these communication skills. For these reasons, we carefully examine an applicant’s GRE scores. While we do not maintain minimum thresholds, an applicant with higher GRE scores is certainly more competitive.

Yes, we will accept the GMAT, but we strongly prefer GRE scores.

The possible application outcomes are:

  • i.   Accepted with a Graduate Center Fellowship
  • ii.  Accepted with a Tuition Fellowship
  • iii. Accepted with a Tuition Fellowship and waitlisted for a Graduate Center Fellowship
  • iv. Accepted without funding
  • v. Waitlisted for i, ii, or iv
  • vi. Rejected

We have no minimum, but we do look at it to assess a candidate’s ability to speak and use the English language. The great majority of our students do some teaching during their graduate years, and this skill is a must. Potential employers hiring instructors for adjunct teaching positions also look for this.  Upon graduation, success in placement is also dependent on English language skills, if the graduate seeks placement in the US.

We do not offer joint degree programs, but a student is free to pursue such a plan and to discuss it in more detail with the Executive Officer.

We do not admit students towards a terminal M.A. degree.  We do offer an en route M.A., and details are discussed here.

We do not allow deferred entry. If an accepted student cannot start in the fall semester to which he or she applied to, he or she has the option of reapplying for the following fall semester. There is then no guarantee that this student will be accepted again.

Funding and Financial Aid Questions 

We admit close to 15 to 18 students on average each year, and the funding breakdown is approximately 40% Graduate Center Fellowships and 60% Tuition Fellowships.

If you are not offered a full fellowship and teach one course per semester in CUNY, in addition to your salary, you would have in-state tuition and access to health care coverage. If you pursue part-time teaching opportunities on in the greater New York metropolitan area, you would not have in-state tuition or health care coverage from CUNY. However, the teaching position inside or outside CUNY is not guaranteed, and we also strongly suggest that you do NOT teach your first year in the program because, in terms of course work, this first year is a demanding year.

Please refer to Student Affairs' Health Insurance page.