Master’s Program Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the deadline for admissions?

We encourage interested applicants to apply as early as possible. The MS admission committee will conduct rolling admissions and review applications between November 1 and April 15.

Do you offer spring term admission?

Admission for the standard master’s program is offered for fall term only. For most applicants, fall term admission is the best option. The department does offer limited spring term admission. Please contact the master’s program coordinator, Tchai Veu ( with any questions regarding spring term admission and eligibility.

Can I apply to the master's program if I did not major in economics as an undergraduate?

Yes, students who majored in fields other than economics may apply to the master’s program. While an undergraduate major in economics is not required, applicants are expected to take college-level economics courses in introductory microeconomics, introductory macroeconomics, and intermediate microeconomics before applying to the program.

What are the minimum TOEFL iBT/ IELTS scores?

Students applying to the master’s program whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must take either the TOEFL iBT or the IELTS test. We expect a minimum score of 92 on the TOEFL iBT test and a minimum score of 7.0 on the IELTS test. Information on exemptions from these tests can be found under the graduate school minimum English proficiency requirements.

What math preparation is necessary for the master's program?

For the master’s program in economics at UW-Madison, applicants are expected to have taken a total of three semesters of calculus and linear algebra.

Can I apply for both the master's and Ph.D. programs simultaneously?

Yes, you can apply to both the Economics Ph.D. and the Master’s programs (Graduate Foundation and/or Finacial Economics) if you apply for fall term admission. The Ph.D program offers fall term admission only.  The graduate school electronic application allows you to list up to three programs per application. To apply to both Ph.D. and M.S., please list the Economics Ph.D. program and any of the Master’s programs on your application. You may upload the same material for both the Ph.D. and M.S. supplemental applications. Please note you will need to meet the earlier application deadline (Ph.D.) and will first be considered for the Ph.D. program.

I am an international student. Do I need to send financial documentation with my application?

You do not need to send financial documentation at the time you apply to the economics master’s program. If you are recommended for admission by the Department of Economics, the International Student Service Office will follow up.

How important are GRE scores in the admissions decision process?

GRE scores are optional. All aspects of your application are reviewed by faculty members of the admissions team. GRE scores are one component of your application and are reviewed in the context of the rest of your application.

What is the test profile of average admitted applicant?

The average Quantitative GRE score for applicants admitted to the program has been 92nd percentile on the exam. The average Writing Analysis score has been 3.85, and the average Verbal GRE score has been 66th percentile on the exam.

May I consult with faculty on how to strengthen my application?

The Department of Economics receives hundreds of applications for our graduate programs each year. Regrettably, it is not possible to respond individually to inquiries about the chances of admission nor to counsel applicants on the strengths and weaknesses of their applications. You are welcome, though, to contact the Master’s Program Advisor (MPA) to inquire about the application process.

Can I get financial aid to attend the master's program?

Financial aid is not available for students enrolled in the economics master’s program.

Can I make changes to my application after I hit the final submit button?

Yes, you can reenter the graduate school electronic application to make changes.

I am having trouble filling out the math preparation form (PDF document). What should I do?

You can use the Word version of the math preparation form to input your information. However, you will need to save the Word document as a PDF file before uploading it to the supplemental application. (In Word, select “Save as” and choose “PDF” as the file type.) The supplemental application for the economics master’s program is available through the Graduate School application site. If you continue to have problems, please contact the Master’s Program Advisor (MPA).

How do I check my application status?

To check your application status you can log back into your UW-Madison Graduate School Electronic Application and you will see a link to your Graduate Application Status Webpage from there.

You can log into My UW and click on the Graduate Application Status link to access this page as well. You will need to activate your NetID and password using My UW-Madison portal at To activate your NetID, click on the ACTIVATE NETID button located on the “My UW Madison” login screen. Enter your 10 digit student ID number and birth date. The NetID you create and password you enter are keys to your access to the MyUW portal. Make a record of it and keep it private. Follow the instructions at

If you are unsure about your NetID and password, contact the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) Help Desk at (608) 264-4357.

Can I attend the master's program as a part-time student?

The Economics Master’s Program is considered a full-time program. It is expected that Master’s students will enroll full-time every semester. Please see the Master’s Program Coursework webpage for more information on the course list and sequence for the Master’s program.

Can I continue in the PhD program after completing the master's program?

Students interested in the PhD program would need to apply for the PhD and be considered within the context of the rest of the applicant pool. The application process is very competitive and all funding and admission decisions are made by the PhD Admissions and Aid Committee. Admission to the PhD program upon completion of the master’s program is not guaranteed.

Is the MS in Economics a STEM designated program?

Yes, the MS program in Economics is a STEM designated program.

Are there other Master programs offered by the Economics Department?

The Department of Economics also offers a joint program, the Master in Finacial Economics. The Master in Finacial Economics program is a joint program that is shared by the Department of Economics and the Department of Finance. Please see the website here for more information: