The PhD program in Economics at UC Irvine prepares students for careers in academia, government, and the private sector. The program typically enrolls 15-20 students each year. The expected time to degree is 5 years. Students are admitted to the PhD program with full funding for five years.


Admission Requirements

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 October 3rd. The application deadline is December 1st, though late applications will be accepted through December 15th. 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 $120 for U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents and $140 for all international applicants.

As part of the online application, applicants 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 a personal history statement detailing how the applicant’s 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 the social or cultural diversity of UCI’s economics department.

Applicants are required to submit all supplemental materials directly as part of their on-line application using the campus application system, Slate. Specifically:

  • 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 (4.25 / 69%).
  • 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. We require only a single transcript from each school attended, uploaded by the applicant. We are no longer able to accept paper documents through the mail, or to upload electronic supplemental materials on the applicant's behalf. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for admission consideration. All admission offers will be provisional. Those who are offered and accept admission and financial support will then be required to submit official documents before the start of the Fall term, to clear the provisional admission status.
  • 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 (non-U.S. citizens)

UCI's Economics department enthusiastically welcomes applications from students outside the United States. All graduate students, except those who have earned an undergraduate degree from an institution at which English was the sole language of instruction according to the World Health Education Database, are required to demonstrate oral English proficiency before they admitted to a UCI graduate program and are appointed to Teaching Assistant or Teaching Associate titles. For Teaching Assistant and Associate positions, the aforementioned exception will apply only when the undergraduate degree has been earned within five years prior to admission to a graduate program at UCI. A flowchart explaining the English language proficiency requirements for PhD student funding is available here


Admissions 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 and personal history statement, 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 these offers.


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