Q. Does my undergraduate or prior graduate work have to be in Economics in order to apply?
A. No. Graduate level economic analysis unlike undergraduate coursework, is highly mathematical and requires frequent use of the tools learned in calculus, differential equations, real analysis, and linear algebra. If you don’t have graded coursework in these specific areas, we urge you to take additional mathematics classes before applying.
Q. May I send you my qualifications and be pre-assessed for admission?
A. We are unable to determine in advance if an applicant will be admitted to the PhD Program as there are too many variables involved. If you wish to be considered for admission you must apply. It will not give you an advantage to e-mail your education history and other credentials to the department, as they will not be reviewed unless you apply for admission.
Q. Will you inform me when you receive my application and if it is incomplete?
A. No. Because of the large number of applications we receive, we are unable to notify students when we receive applications and if they are incomplete. After files are initially delivered to the Graduate Office, they are not sent to the department until they are complete. You will have to contact the Graduate Office to check on the completeness of your file.
Q. Can I submit more than three letters of recommendation?
A. You can submit more than three letters of recommendation, if you like. What matters most is not the number of letters submitted, but their quality. Your letter writers should be in a position to understand both your abilities as a student and the rigor of doctoral study in economics. Professors of economics are a good choice for letter writers, although they are certainly not the only choice.
Q. Do I have to take the GRE?
A. Yes. All PhD applicants must submit GRE scores. A Minimum of 1200 is required in order to be considered for financial aid, however scores above 1350 are preferred, with a quantitative score between 750-800. If your scores are more than five years old, you must retake the test. When registering for the test, you must request that your scores be sent to Southern Methodist University, Office of Research and Graduate Studies (institution code 6660, no department code is required). Allow several weeks for test scores to reach the University. To ensure timely receipt of GRE scores, applicants are urged to take the paper exam in October, or the computer-based test no later than early December. An application is considered incomplete without these scores.
Q. Do I need to take the TOEFL or IELTS? What is the waiver policy for the TOEFL/IELTS?
A. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required of international applicants whose native language is not English. The English language requirement may be waived if, within the last five years prior to the deadline for this application, the applicant completed a degree or was enrolled in a degree-seeking program for at least one year of full-time, non-ESL study in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or English medium universities in Canada or South Africa.
Q. Is an interview part of the admission process?
A. No. We do not have a formal interview process.
Q. Do you need my official test scores or may I send a copy of my GRE/TOEFL score record?
A. Official scores are now submitted to us electronically by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which sponsors both exams. You may send a copy to the department for informational purposes to better assist the admissions committee with the evaluation of your application; however, if you are offered admission, official scores from ETS must be on record in our student administration database.
Q. How do I check my application status?
A. The Graduate School will notify you when a decision has been made. The department will not release any information over the phone or by email. Please do not inquire.
Q. Does the department offer financial aid to PhD students?
A. Yes. The department is able to offer financial aid to a limited number of incoming students each year. Approximately 5-6 incoming students will receive financial aid each year. To the extent of its resources, the department seeks to provide financial assistance to PhD students in the form of stipends, fellowships, tuition and fee remission, and/or research and teaching assistantships for the first four years of study.
Q. Can I start in the spring term?
A. No. All PhD students must start the program in the fall semester.
Q. When is the qualifying exam?
A. The qualifying exam is taken at the end of the first year of study. It consists of 2 parts taken over 2 days, covering Micro and Macro Theory. If either portion of the exam is not passed, a retake opportunity will be offered. Students must pass both sections of the exam on either the first or second attempt in order to continue in the program.
Q. Do you have a part-time PhD program?
A. No. The program is a full-time program and takes about five years to complete:
First year - Students take a full schedule of courses (4 courses in fall, 3 in spring).
Second year - Students take a full schedule of courses (3 courses in fall, 3 in spring).
Third year - Students take only a partial schedule of courses (3 courses in fall) and begin their dissertation proposal in the spring. Third year papers are due at the end of the spring term.
Fourth year - Students make substantial progress on their dissertation proposal. Often they propose their dissertation.
Fifth year - Students devote full time to writing a dissertation and propose (if they haven't already) and defend their dissertation.
Q. I already have a Master's Degree. Will this reduce my time to the PhD Degree?
A. No. Prior coursework at the graduate level will not reduce your time to degree. There is very little overlap between MA and PhD level coursework.
Q. How many applications do you receive and how many students do you admit?
A. Approximately 5 new PhD students matriculate each autumn, selected from around 80 applicants. All applications are reviewed at the same time and in comparison with each other following the submission deadline of February 1. The application reviewers base their decisions on all the information in an applicant’s file including the statement of purpose, academic background and performance, research interest and potential, prior exposure to academic research, strength of the recommendations, and scores on the GRE. We expect to receive about 75-80 applications within a given year. Of that about 15 will be admitted and perhaps 7 will matriculate. Of these, approximately 5 will receive financial aid. The review process takes place in mid to late February, with admission decisions sent out by mid to late March. The ultimate number of students who receive funding is subject to budgetary considerations
Q. How many of your graduate students are U.S. Citizens/International students?
A. Currently about 20% of our students are U.S. Citizens. The great majority, 80%, are non-U.S. citizens from countries all over the world.
Q. Does the Economics department fund all graduate students?
A. No, the department does not have sufficient financial resources to fund all admitted graduate students. We admit some qualified applicants without providing them with funding. We hope that students in this situation are able to find other funding sources, but recognize that unfortunately this will sometimes not happen.