Doctoral Program Admissions

Preparation for Doctoral Study

Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree, which must be completed before entering the program. You do not need to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics to receive admission to the program. Applicants have Bachelor’s Degrees in Economics, Mathematics, Statistics, and other disciplines.

Mathematics preparation should include multivariate calculus, elementary probability, and regression analysis. Graduate work in economics demands mathematical sophistication of a higher order than the requirements of most U.S. undergraduate economics programs would suggest. Students entering the graduate program are required to have taken a three-course sequence in calculus, a course in linear algebra, and a course in mathematical statistics. These prerequisites are a bare minimum, and additional background in mathematics and in graduate-level economics courses can ease the transition into the program. A detailed description of the department’s expectations about students’ mathematics preparation, both upon entry to the program and upon completion of first-year coursework, can be found on the Math Requirements for Incoming Graduate Students page.

Application steps and requirements

Admission to the Economics doctoral program is a shared process at UW-Madison. The Admissions and Aid Committee in the Department of Economics will evaluate your application and make a recommendation to the Graduate School regarding admission. The program’s Admission Committee will inform you of their decision in March. If you have questions, please email gradpro@ssc.wisc.edu

When applicants receive an admission packet from the Economics Department indicating that they have been recommended for admission, this recommendation does NOT mean that they have been fully admitted. The applicant will have to finish the last steps of the admission process with the Graduate School. The Economics Admission and Aid Committee will forward admissions recommendations to the Graduate School with supporting materials. The Graduate School’s Office of Admissions will review the application and materials to ensure that the Graduate School minimum requirements are met.

To apply, fill out the Graduate School Online Electronic Application. You will select the “Economics PhD program” from the drop down program list. To complete the application, you will need to submit the materials listed below.

Please see the Admissions FAQ section if you have further questions.

The Application Deadline is December 5. Letters of recommendation and test scores must be received by December 31.

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Statement of Purpose

There are no specific guidelines or requirements for the Statement of Purpose. Please review the Graduate School’s preparation page for general guidelines on the Statement of Purpose.

Transcripts

Please upload all transcripts or academic records from all your degree-granting institutions and any other institution where you have been enrolled. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for application review. If our program recommends you for admission and you decide to enroll, you will then be required to submit official transcripts to the UW-Madison Graduate School.

The transcript uploaded must match the official transcript and there should be no changes or edits made to it. International academic records must be in the original language accompanied by an official English translation. Your school should provide an official translation of your documents; otherwise have a translation done by your school or an official translator. In some countries, these people are also notaries. Do not submit an evaluation from a credential evaluation service in lieu of a translation.

Math Preparation Form

Please complete the Math Preparation (pdfword) form and submit it in PDF format. Please review our math preparation requirements.

Writing Sample

All applicants must submit a writing sample in English. The writing sample can be a research paper or an article demonstrating your ability to do research and present your research in a written form.

Resume or C.V

Please upload a current resume/ C.V. to the online application.

Letters of Recommendation

The application will require that you enter information for your recommenders and an email will be sent to them. Letters must be submitted electronically by your recommenders no later than December 31.

GRE Scores

GRE scores are required for our PhD application and must be received by the Graduate School by December 31.

Have ETS send your scores to the Graduate School. The UW-Madison institutional code is 1846. Our institution does not use department codes.

English Proficiency Test Scores (if applicable)

International degree-seeking applicants must prove English proficiency. Accepted test scores include: TOEFL, IELTS; Duolingo will be accepted starting with our PhD admission cycle Fall 2025. See the Graduate School Requirements for more information and exemption criteria.

Test scores must be received by the Graduate School by December 31.

Application Fee

 The application fee is required to submit the application.

  1. The Graduate School offers application fee grants to make sure that the application fee is not a barrier for students from key recruiting initiatives for U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and students of DACA status. You can find eligibility information and how to apply on the Graduate School’s Application Fee Grant website.
  2. The Economics Department also offers a limited number of application fee grants to ensure the fee is not a barrier for applicants that do not meet the Graduate School’s criteria. Please contact our graduate admissions staff at gradpro@ssc.wisc.edu for more information.

Financial Support and Funding Information

All paid applications from both domestic and international students need to be submitted by December 5th. Funding is awarded to applicants on a competitive basis. For detailed information on department and University Fellowship information, please see our funding web page.

Tuition and fee information is available online at the UW Office of the Registrar web page. Students employed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison at least one-third time as a project assistant or a teaching assistant receive a tuition waiver, a stipend, and health benefits.