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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 recommendation, personal 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 your program?

No.

7. What does your admission committee look for?

A) Exposure to economics at a high level. We look for students who have taken upper-level courses that exposed them to active areas of research in the field. Students who have written senior or MA theses, or worked as researchers or research assistants have an advantage.

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, probability theory and/or statistics.

C) A good grade record. This is not precise, as standards vary widely among schools.

D) Informative letters of recommendation. We are particularly interested in letters from scholars who understand the research environment at a top Ph.D. program, that is, 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 quantitative GRE 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:

http://www.brown.edu/Divisions/Graduate_School/admissions.html
http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Economics/graduate.php

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