Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Ph.D. Admission Information

Ph.D. Admission Information

Admission To Graduate Study

With leading researchers in economic theory, econometrics, international economics, and macroeconomics, the Economics Department at Penn State is an outstanding department (faculty areas of interest may be found here). A consequence is that students who receive a Ph.D. from Penn State and whose doctoral research is excellent have access to positions at leading academic and research institutions. Our recent placement record confirms this.  In the past decade, some of our Ph.D. students have obtained tenure track positions at Harvard, MIT, NYU, Cornell, in business schools at Chicago, Carnegie Mellon, and Toronto. Our recent placements may be found here.

Although most highly ranked departments have good placement records, there are some special reasons you should consider Penn State. The faculty is very accessible to graduate students and placement of graduate students is a priority for the department. 

Penn State is located in a pleasant rural setting in the geographic center of Pennsylvania.  Although it is in a small town, it is not isolated intellectually. There is an active program of visiting speakers in 5 separate workshops. In addition, the department hosts conferences. There is a twice yearly joint Penn State-Cornell conference at which graduate students make about half the presentations. In recent years, Penn State has hosted the Midwest Math Econ and International Trade Conference, and several conferences on special topics.

Grad School Policy Statement

  1. Applicants may apply for admission to only one program at a time.
  2. For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution or (2) a postsecondary degree that is equivalent to a U.S. baccalaureate degree earned from an officially recognized degree-granting international institution.
  3. Ordinarily, an entering student must have completed in a satisfactory manner a minimum of course work in designated areas, the specific courses and amount of work depending upon the intended field of advanced study.
  4. Admission is granted jointly by the Graduate School and the graduate program in which the student plans to study. The establishment of standards by which applicants are admitted is the responsibility of the graduate program. Individual program requirements for admission are included in the Graduate Bulletin.
  5. Although the Graduate School has no fixed minimum grade-point requirement for admission, an applicant is generally expected to maintain a junior-senior grade-point average of at least 2.50 on Penn State’s grading scale of A (4.00) to D (1.00). Individual graduate programs often establish higher grade-point average requirements and use other criteria to judge candidates for admission.
  6. In exceptional cases, graduate programs may also approve admission by reason of special backgrounds, abilities, and interests.


Applicants should obtain application deadlines by contacting the individual graduate program. Because the admission process is time consuming, applications should be submitted as early as possible.

Further Information

GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students