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).  Students who receive a Ph.D. from Penn State and whose doctoral research is excellent have been recruited and sought after by leading academic and research institutions: our Ph.D. students have obtained tenure-track positions at Chicago, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Northwestern, NYU, UPenn and many more. Our recent placements of students at different universities may be found here

There are several reasons Penn State has excellent placement, and is a special place to do graduate school. Graduate student training and placement are priorities for the department, and therefore, our faculty members across fields are widely accessible to graduate students. In addition to many elective classes, there are reading groups within each field, with active involvement from students and faculty. The Department takes very seriously its mission to train the excellent students admitted to our PhD program.

Penn State is located in a pleasant college town 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 five separate workshops. In addition, the department hosts conferences across several fields. There is a twice yearly joint Penn State-Cornell conference at which graduate students make about half the presentations. The Department also encourages students to present their work at external conferences, and our students present at Meetings of the Econometric Society and other conferences.

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