Frequently Asked Questions About Brown's Ph.D. Program in Economics
1. Does the Department of Economics offer an MA program?
The Department of Economics offers an MA program that consists of the first year of the PhD course sequences. The students that are admitted to this program are generally selected from the students that have applied to the PhD program and are placed on the waiting list for admission to the PhD program based on a ranking of applicants. The MA students do not receive financial support from Brown University or the department and have to pay tuition. Upon successful completion of the first-year courses and the PhD core exam, they are guaranteed admission into the second year of the PhD program with a fellowship and a tuition waiver. In addition, students in the PhD program can earn the MA on the way to the PhD or can receive the MA if they choose not to complete the PhD program. To receive the MA degree in economics at Brown University, students are required to obtain a passing grade in the following eight first-year courses: EC2010, EC2020, EC2030, EC2040, EC2050, EC2060, EC2070, and EC2080. Substitutions for these courses are possible with permission from a Faculty Advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.
2. What are the requirements for admission to the Ph.D. program?
Applicants to the program should submit the application, 3 letters of
statement, transcripts, and GRE General Aptitude Test scores. We do not
look at the GRE
subject test score. The TOEFL test is required for foreign applicants,
except those who hold (or
will receive) a degree from an institution where the language of instruction
is English. The TSE
test is not required.
3. What is the Department's financial aid policy?
The department awards financial aid sufficient to cover both tuition and
living expenses to all first year students and to all students in
good standing in years 2-5 of the program who are not funded through other
sources. Students in the first year receive aid in the form of a fellowship (requiring no work on their part). In years 2-4 of the program, students will generally work as a teaching or research assistant. However some students in years 2-4 will receive fellowships. In years 4-5, some students receive Merit Dissertation Fellowships, if they are making exceptional progress in their research. Typically, about half of students in their 4-5 year will receive dissertation fellowships, with the rest working as teaching assistants.
4. How many students are accepted into the program each year?
Target size of the incoming class in the combined MA/PhD program is twelve of whom nine result from the PhD program and three from the MA program. The admission process is highly selective: in the last years, we have received over 600 applications.
5. How long does it take to complete the program?
The average time of completion is five years, although some students finish
in four years. The
department does not fund students beyond the fifth year, except in rare
cases, for example when
a student spends time away from campus doing primary data collection.
6. Can someone tell me in advance whether I am likely to be admitted to
7. What does your admission committee look for?
A) Exposure to economics at a high level. We look for students who have
courses that exposed them to active areas of research in the field. Students
written senior or MA theses, or worked as researchers or research assistants
B) Adequate preparation in mathematics. Applications should have at least
2 or 3 semesters
of calculus. We also look for coursework in linear algebra, real analysis,
theory and/or statistics.
C) A good grade record. This is not precise, as standards vary widely
D) Informative letters of recommendation. We are particularly interested
in letters from
scholars who understand the research environment at a top Ph.D. program,
scholars who themselves are actively engaged in research and publication
and those who
have Ph.D.s from research-oriented institutions. We look for letters that
make it clear
the applicant knows what doing a Ph.D. is like and which describe how
the applicant has
been exposed to the research process.
E) Of the GRE scores, we focus mainly on the quantitative score. There
is no firm
minimum for admission, however it is rare that we admit a student with
lower than 760.
8. When will I learn whether I have been admitted?
Decisions regarding admission and financial aid are made by mid-March.
Applicants must make
enrollment decisions by mid-April.
9. What is your University code?
Our University code is 3094. The department code for economics is 1801.
10. Can the application fee be waived in cases of financial hardship?
No, our application fee cannot be waived.
11. Where can I get an application?
The Department of Economics does not have the applications. You can apply
on line or request a
paper application at the following address:
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