Preparation for Admission

Prospective students must hold a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution with degree standards equivalent to those of the University of California.  The degree need not be in economics; a degree in engineering, mathematics, statistics, or another social science may work very well.  The student’s cumulative GPA or the equivalent must be 3.0 or higher.  In addition, students should have a strong mathematics background including, at a minimum, one year of calculus and courses in linear algebra, statistics and probability.  Additional mathematics coursework is desirable.  Coursework in economics is also desirable but not necessary.  Finally, students must have strong skills in spoken and written English.

Admissions Procedures

Applications to the Ph.D. program in Economics are accepted beginning September 1.  Applications must be received by December 31.  All students who meet this application deadline will also be considered for financial support, consisting of assistantships and fellowships.  The Economics Ph.D. program starts in the fall quarter of each year; consequently, new students are not admitted for the winter or spring quarters.

To apply, go to the UCI Graduate Division website and complete the on-line application for graduate admissions.  The application fee is $90 for U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents and $110 for all international applicants. 

As part of the online application all students must submit an academic statement of purpose detailing their motivations and goals for pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics at UCI.  Students who have a strong preference for UCI’s Economics Ph.D. program should credibly signal that preference in their statement of purpose.

The online application also requires that all U.S. citizens and permanent residents provide a personal history statement detailing how their personal background informs their decision to pursue a Ph.D. in Economics.  In this statement, students may also discuss how their admission would contribute to social or cultural diversity in UCI’s economics department.

In addition to completing the online application, students must also submit or arrange to have submitted:

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test scores dated within the last five years.  (Test scores from the various GRE subject tests are not required).  Request that the Educational Testing Service (ETS) send GRE general test scores directly to UC Irvine using institution code 4859.  Recently admitted students to UCI’s Ph.D. program in Economics had mean GRE scores / percentiles as follows:  Verbal (159.9 / 84%); Quantitative (165.4 / 90%); Analytical Writing (4.1 / 62%).
  • Three letters of recommendation from professionals –preferably academic--who can address the student’s ability to succeed in a rigorous economics Ph.D. program and do original research. These letters can be requested and submitted electronically via the online application system.
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions attended. These transcripts should be sent directly from the registrar’s office of previous institutions to the UCI Social Sciences Graduate Affairs Office, at this address: Social Sciences Graduate Affairs, Attention: Graduate Admissions (Economics), 3151 Social Science Plaza A, University of California, Irvine, Irvine CA 92697-5100
  • TOEFL / IELTS scores, if required –see additional admission procedures for International Applicants below. TOEFL or IELTS test scores should be sent directly to UC Irvine by the testing agency using institution code 4859.

Additional Admissions Procedures for International Applicants

UCI’s Economics department enthusiastically welcomes applications from students outside the U.S.  To be considered for admission and financial support, all international students must demonstrate proficiency in written and spoken English.  This English language proficiency requirement does not apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who complete an undergraduate or graduate degree in the U.S.  The English language proficiency requirement is also waived for citizens of:

  • Australia
  • Canada (except French language universities, and bilingual universities when the degree is taken in French only)
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom, where English is the predominant language spoken. 

All other international students must submit test scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) academic test. These test scores must be dated within the last two years.

UCI requires the internet-based, TOEFL-ibT.  The minimum TOEFL-ibT score is 80 for admission consideration and 26 on the speaking sub-section for financial support consideration.

The minimum IELTS academic test score is 7 with no individual band sub-score less than 6 for admission consideration and 8 on the speaking band sub-score for financial support consideration.

Admission Decisions

Admission and financial support decisions are made by the UCI Economics Department’s Graduate Admissions Committee, which bases its judgment on the applicant’s academic record, the letters of recommendation, the statement of purpose, GRE test scores, and tests of English language proficiency (if required).

Letters of acceptance and financial support offers are typically sent out by March 1.  Candidates have until April 15 to decide whether to accept such offers.


© UC Irvine School of Social Sciences - 3151 Social Sciences Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697-5100 - 949.824.2766