Do you have a Master's Degree program?
Yes, we are accepting applications for our Master's program. Please see the Master's program website ( for more information.
How long does it take to complete the Ph.D.?

The program is designed to be completed in five years. It is not uncommon, however, for students to complete the program in six years. To learn about the goals and structure of the Economics Graduate Program visit our Program Overview web page.

What kind of jobs do your students pursue upon graduation?

Our graduates pursue research careers at colleges or universities and work for government agencies or private firms after graduation. You can find more detailed information on our placement web page.

What is the cultural makeup of your current student body?

There are students in the program from around the world. Our domestic students are from all areas in the US.

What is the deadline for admissions and for funding?

The application fee, math prep form, writing sample, and statement of purpose must be received by December 5 to be considered for funding. We will start processing applications after the December 5th due date, so admissions materials need to be in order to guarantee consideration for funding.  Transcripts and letters of recommendation must be submitted by December 31. Detailed information regarding deadlines can be found here. If you are interested in admissions without funding, the final admissions deadline is February 1.

How is funding awarded?

Funding is awarded to applicants on a competitive basis. Please see our funding page for additional information.

How do I apply for funding?

If your application is paid and necessary materials received by December 5th, you will automatically be considered for funding for the first year of study. Please see our funding page for more detailed information and the funding packets you would be automatically considered for if you apply on time.

There are other sources of funding such as loans through the Office of Student Financial Aid, as well as sources that are external to the university (e.g. grants, fellowships). However the application process for those financial sources is not related to the process of admission to the Department of Economics. For more information visit the Graduate Student Funding Resource page and the Office of Fellowships & Funding Resources (OFFR). Those pages will contain basic information detailing the funding resources available at UW-Madison, as well as contact information for initiating a search for other sources of funding.

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

No. If you are recommended for admission by the Economics Department, the Graduate School will ask you to submit financial documentation. Information on financial documentation can be found on the Graduate School website

After international applicants are recommended for admission by the department, the Graduate School will request financial documentation through OASIS (online application information system). It is very important that you save and refer to the original e-mail message you will receive from the Graduate School after you submit your application so you can access OASIS communication portal and respond to the request for financial documentation.

Is there a page limit on the writing sample?

No, there is no page limit and the topic is not restricted to economics. However, the average submission runs from 2 to 7 pages.

Can I apply if I have not met the math requirements? How can I know whether my courses are equal to the required courses?

Students entering the graduate program are required to have taken at least a three-course sequence in calculus, a course in linear algebra, and a course in mathematical statistics. You can apply if you have not met all the math requirements. However, all math prerequisites must be completed by the time you plan to start the program. The admissions committee will be able to evaluate your math ability more thoroughly if you have completed your math requirements at the time of application.  Please remember that graduate work in economics demands mathematical sophistication of a higher order than the requirements of most U.S. undergraduate economics programs would suggest. The prerequisites above are a bare minimum, and additional background in mathematics and in graduate-level economics courses can ease the transition into the program.
For the reason above, undergraduate students at UW Madison who want to pursue graduate studies in economics are encouraged to follow one of two sets of mathematics’ courses. One would be the path that includes Math 221, Math 222, Math 234, Math 340, Math 320, and Math 421. The other one would be the path that includes Math 275, Math 276, Math 375 and Math 376. In both paths, the courses recommended for mathematical statistics are 309 and 310. In any case, it is highly recommended to take at least one course in mathematical analysis that has three semesters of calculus as a prerequisite. An example of such a course is Math 521. You can see the description of all the courses at the Department of Mathematics’ Undergraduate Course Description page so you can compare them with your own courses.

While most of the material in those courses is useful for graduate work in economics, it is not always clear which topics covered in these courses are most important to review before graduate coursework begins. The Math Requirements for Incoming Graduate Students page, list some key topics and some useful references.
During the first semester of study, students are required to take Mathematical Economics I. Students with exceptional mathematics backgrounds may request an exemption from this course.

Do I need to have a Bachelor's Degree in Economics to apply to the program?

A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a comparable degree from an international institution is one of the requirements to apply to the graduate program in Economics. You do not need to have a Bachelor's Degree in Economics to apply to the program. Applicants have Bachelor's Degrees in Mathematics, Statistics, and other disciplines. For specific information on what is consider a comparable degree from an international institution please refer to the Graduate School Admission Requirements page

Can I send paper copies of my GRE or TOEFL scores rather than having ETS send the official scores directly to UW-Madison? What is UW-Madison's 4 digit ETS code?

Students must have official scores sent by ETS before admission is finalized. You may upload unofficial PDF copies of your GRE or TOEFL results on your application portal. The UW-Madison Institutional code is 1846 for both the institution and the department..

How do I check my application status?

After you complete and submit your online application with the Graduate School, you will automatically receive an email from the Graduate School with your ID. Each applicant has his/her own personalized web address in OASIS (online application information system). Please save that e-mail message for future reference.

To check your application status you can always log back into your application and you will see a link to OASIS from there. You can log into My UW to access OASIS 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 DoIT (Division of Information Technology) Help Desk at (608) 264-4357.

How many applications do you receive each year?

The Department receives more than 500 applications for the Ph.D. program each year.

How many admissions are going to be offered this year?

It is not possible for us to tell you how many recommendations of admission are going to be offered this year. We have an Admissions and Aid Committee that makes all admissions and funding decisions.  In January, the committee will evaluate the applications. Once the applications have been reviewed, the Committee will decide on the number of students recommended for admission. In the past, the committee planed on an entering class of 30 students. To achieve this class size, 120-150 students were admitted. It is important to mention that for the next academic year, a smaller class is expected.

What is the profile of the average admitted applicant?

The average Quantitative GRE score for applicants admitted to the program has been 90th percentile (780-790)on the exam. The average Writing Analysis score has been 4.5. The average GPA has been 3.75.

From all the components of my admission file, are there any elements that are more important than others? Are there some elements on my application which will set me back in the eyes of the Admission Committee? Is there anything I can do to help improve my chances? 

All aspects of your application are reviewed by one or two faculty members. Academic preparation is important; the committee likes to see good grades in hard courses (especially math courses or advanced economics courses). Reference letters are very important; ideally they should be written by people who know you well, and who know what it takes to succeed in a good PhD program.

The Statement of Purpose (SOP) is one of the components of your application packet.   Among other things, the SOP can highlight the aspect of your application which is strong and, if you feel it is important, you can explain the reason for any weakness in the application. 

When will I know if I have been admitted?

The Economics program's admission and aid committee will inform you of its decision in March.

I received an admissions packet from the department indicating that I have been recommended for admission by the Economics Department. What does recommended for admission mean? Have I been admitted to UW-Madison?

The admission to the graduate program in economics is a shared process at UW-Madison between the department and the Graduate School. When applicants receive an admission packet from the Economics Department indicating that they have been recommended for admission, this recommendation does NOT mean that they have been fully admitted. The applicant will have to finish the last steps of the admission process with the Graduate School. The Economics Department sends admissions recommendations to the Graduate School with supporting materials. The Graduate School reviews the application and materials to ensure that the Graduate School minimum requirements are met (including financial support requirements for International Students).

It is important for applicants to continue monitoring their admission progress. Each applicant has his/her own personalized web address in OASIS (online application information system) so the applicant can submit whatever the Graduate School may request. 

Do you have a Visit Day?

Yes, we invite all students who have been recommended for admission to visit the department in late March or early April. If you have been recommended for admission, please contact us at if you would like to arrange for a visit at a different time.

I have been admitted to the PhD program at UW. Can I defer my admissions for one year?

It is not possible for students to defer admission.  You will need to apply again.  We'll keep your files and the fact that you were admitted the previous year may be considered.

What is the reapplication process?

To reapply, you must follow the current process of admission.

You will need to submit a new statement of purpose, an updated transcript if you have taken additional courses since your last application, and new letters of recommendation.

If you are required to submit a TOEFL score, please be sure the score has not expired. Scores are accepted if they are within two years of the start of the admission term for which you are applying. GRE scores are accepted up to 5 years after the test date.

Can I consult with faculty so I can get further input as to how I could strengthen my application?  What are my chances of being admitted and funded?

Every year the Department receives more than 500 applications for the Ph.D. program. Admission and funding is competitive and it depends on a number of variables including all aspects of your application and the applicant pool.  In January, the Admissions and Aid Committee will decide on the number of students recommended for admission. Given the volume of applications, it is not possible to respond to inquiries about the chances of admission, or to provide information about strengths and weaknesses in individual applications.

Who do I contact if I cannot find an answer to my question on the webpage?

If you cannot find the answer to your question above, you can read the Graduate School frequently asked questions (FAQs) for more information. You can also contact us at

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