FAQ's

Q. If I do not have the required pre-requisites, can I be admitted anyway and complete them as part of my program?
A. No, all prerequisites must be satisfied prior to admission.

Q. Do I have to take the GRE? 
A. No, if your previous undergraduate or graduate work is a 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale the GRE is not required. However, if your undergraduate GPA is less than 3.0, you must take the GRE and submit your scores.

Q. What are the important academic criteria for admission to the master's program?
A. The most important criterion is previous academic performance and the strength of background in economics (particularly, performance in intermediate level economics courses). In addition, we require that all students should have completed at least one Calculus course (with a grade of C or above).

Q. Do I have to submit the video portion of the online application?
A. No, this is not a requirement for master's applicants in our department.

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. Does the department offer financial aid to master's students?
A. No. We have no resources to offer assistantship or any other form of financial aid to master's students. For financial information including the cost of study, please visit the Bursar’s website at www.smu.edu/bursar

Q. What is the review process for applications?
A. The graduate office sends batches of completed application files to the department. All applications are reviewed by the Director of Graduate Studies of the Economics department in consultation with the Graduate Studies Committee of the department. The application reviewers base their decisions on all the information in an applicant’s file. The review process for Fall admission takes place continuously from mid February till May; the first set of admission decisions are sent out by mid to late March.

Q. Can I get a waiver of the admission fee?
A. No, the application fee is paid directly to the university and not to the department. For this reason the department cannot waive the payment of the fee. The Office of Research and Graduate Studies will not process your application or send it to the Department of Economics for admissions consideration until the application fee is received.

Q. Does master's coursework transfer to the Ph.D. program?
A. No, the curriculum is completely different at the master's and Ph.D. levels.

Q. Do I have to start in the fall term?
A. No. Master's students may begin their course of study in the fall, spring or summer terms.

Q. Do you offer distance learning?
A. No

Q. Can I complete the master's program on a part time basis?
A. Yes. Many master's students work full time, so most courses are scheduled in the evenings. All course work must be completed within 5 years. Full time students can complete the program in about 1 ½ years.

Q. I've been out of school for a long time and can't find any of my professors to write my letters of recommendation. Can I ask my boss for a letter?
A. While letters of recommendation from those who are familiar with your academic performance are preferable, letters from other referees can be accepted. The purpose of the letters of recommendation, as is the case with all required application materials, is to make the best case you possibly can for your admission to graduate studies in Economics. Academic referees obviously will help that cause more than other types because they will address your scholastic abilities.

Q. I am an undergraduate student at SMU. Is it possible to work towards the M.A. degree as part of undergraduate studies? Is there a joint (B.A./B.S. + M.A.) degree program in economics?
A. You can enter the M.A. program only after you have graduated from the Bachelors program. There is no joint (B.A./B.S. + M.A.) degree program in economics. Provided you meet the prerequisites you are welcome to take graduate courses in economics as part of your undergraduate studies at SMU. If you are admitted to the M.A. program, you can apply to the Director of Graduate Studies for credit for some of these courses (towards your M.A. degree). However, we cannot give you credit for any course that has been counted towards meeting the minimum requirements for your undergraduate degree(s) at SMU (i.e., no double counting!). One exception to this “no double counting” rule relates to the following courses: ECO 5350, ECO 6381, ECO 6382 and ECO 5375. Students who have taken one or more of these courses can petition for no more than 2 of them (6 hours) to count towards their Master's degree

Q. Is there a joint graduate program in economics and any other discipline?
A. The only joint masters program we have is with the law school ; the M.A. in Law and Economics program. There is no other joint program with any other department or school at SMU (including the business school and the engineering school). If you are interested in a masters or other program in any school (other than the law school), you will have to enter and meet their requirements independently of your masters program in economics. Typically, you will not be allowed to apply courses taken as part of some other program towards the M.A. degree in economics. However, if these are rigorous graduate courses in a field related to economics, then you can apply to the Director of Graduate Studies to be allowed to count them towards your M.A. degree in economics; the application should include a detailed syllabus for the course(s) and a decision will be made on a case by case basis. No more than six credit hours of courses taken outside the department can be applied towards the M.A. degree in economics.

Q. Can I take some courses outside the economics department and apply them towards my M.A. degree in economics?
A. Yes, as long as these are rigorous graduate courses in a field related to economics. You need to apply to the Director of Graduate Studies in Economics to be allowed to be given credit for such courses towards your M.A. degree in economics; the application should include a detailed syllabus for the course(s) and decision will be made on a case by case basis. No more than six credit hours of courses taken outside the department can be applied towards the M.A. degree in economics.

Q. Do you have a track or specialization in Financial Economics, Finance (or other Business discipline) as part of one of the M.A. programs in economics?
A. No.

Q. Who should I contact to get more information about SMU's graduate programs?
A. Please contact the graduate advisor, Stephanie Hall at Stephanie@smu.edu or 214-768-2694.