Admissions Information to the Ph.D. Program in Economics

Students may enter the Ph.D. program only in the fall. Applicants must present evidence of a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent, or show that they can expect such a degree by the time they begin graduate work. The University requires that applicants utilize the CollegeNet on-line application system. Applicants must upload a personal statement and their transcript (unofficial or official) from each university attended. If an applicant is accepted into our program then they must provide an official transcript mailed directly to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Three letters of recommendation are also required, usually from professors who can judge the student's potential for high-quality academic work. Results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must also be submitted. This test should be taken as early as possible to ensure that the results are received in time to be considered by the admissions committee. Our GRE institution-department code is 2926-1801. International students must submit a TOEFL score unless they have or will receive an undergraduate degree from a college/university in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, or Ireland or they have completed, at the time of application, four semesters of graduate study at an institution in the above mentioned countries.

The program's goal is to admit 16 students a year. Applicants should be aware that the admissions committee reviews a large number of applications (over 600 last year). Our decisions on admission and financial aid are facilitated when application materials are clearly presented, well written, and concise. The committee tries to form an image of the intellectual and personal qualities of applicants, and then admits those who seem most likely to do high quality work. All applicants are encouraged to provide a personal statement (see below) and any additional information that might help the admissions committee in their task. For example, students might wish to submit research papers that they have written or a description of some major job experience related to economic analysis. 

Mathematics prerequisites

Proficiency in mathematics is crucial for successful completion of the first year of study, in the Department of Economics, at the University of Pennsylvania.

A minimal level of preparation consists of two years of mathematics courses in college, including courses in:

  • multivariable calculus
  • probability theory and statistics
  • linear algebra

An excellent level of preparation consists of additional courses in:

  • real analysis
  • point-set topology
  • measure-theoretic probability theory

We strongly suggest you obtain an excellent level of preparation, for your application to be competitive.

Requirement for Personal Statement:

In the personal statement, all Ph.D. applications within the Graduate Division of Arts & Sciences should address the following: Please describe how your background and academic experiences have influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree and led you to apply to Penn. Your essay should detail your specific research interests and intellectual goals within your chosen field. Please provide information about your educational trajectory, intellectual curiosity and academic ambitions. If you have overcome adversity and/or experienced limited access to resources or opportunities in your field of study, please feel free to share how that has affected the course of your education. We are interested in your lived experiences and how your particular perspective might contribute to the inclusive and dynamic learning community that Penn values and strives to create.

In the Economics Graduate Group, we also ask that applicants discuss their relevant research experience, if any, that make Penn Economics a good fit for what you would like to accomplish in your PhD. Your statement can include specific fields of interests and specific faculty members that you think could be potential advisors. 

Deadline for admission:

All applications must be completed and submitted by 11:59pm eastern US standard time on December 15th. The admissions committee then examines completed applications which have been received. Notification of its decision is sent by April 15th.

Follow this link to apply on-line: CollegeNet