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PhD Application FAQs

Must applicants submit a GRE score report?

Starting with the 2022-2023 Admission season, the GRE will no longer be accepted and therefore does not need to be submitted.

What happens if my official test scores or letters of recommendation arrive after the December 1 deadline?

All items for your application must be received by 11:59pm EST on December 1 through the CollegeNet/ApplyWeb system including all letters of recommendation. Test scores (TOEFL, IELTS) must be at the Rackham Graduate School on file for you by December 1. Application review begins soon after. 

Must international applicants submit a TOEFL score report?

The TOEFL is valid for two years; Rackham Graduate School waives the TOEFL requirement for any applicant who is a non‐native English speaker who has earned a degree or will have earned a degree from an English‐speaking institution before entering our doctoral program. The official requirements are listed on the Rackham Graduate School's website for test scores. Minimum acceptable scores are listed, however competitive applicants have a TOEFL iBT score of 100 or higher overall. Do not send a paper copy of your score report; any received will be discarded.

Do applicants need to submit a self‐calculated GPA?

It is not necessary for students who have attended a post‐secondary institution that does not include a school‐calculated GPA to include such a calculation. However, it is helpful to submit a class rank if that documentation is provided by the institution.

Do applicants need to send a transcript from every school attended?

The Admissions Committee will review uploaded transcripts with university logs through ApplyWeb/CollegeNET for each bachelor’s, master’s, professional, or doctoral degree earned or in progress.  If you receive a recommendation for admissions, and official transcript must be sent directory from the Registrar’s Office to the Rackham Graduate School 

More information about transcripts here.

Should I submit a transcript if I'm enrolled for the fall term?

If you are currently enrolled, you do NOT need to submit the fall term transcript with your grade(s) posted on it. If a transcript is requested, you will be contacted personally by email by the department. Please do not send updated transcripts with fall term grades without our specific request.

Can I submit more than 3 letters of recommendation?

Our requirement is three letters of recommendation for each application. We ask that all applicants keep their applications to only three letters of recommendation to allow for a smooth, fair review of all applications. Please have these letters submitted via your Rackham Graduate School application only. Each letter must be officially received through ApplyWeb/CollegeNet by 11:59pm EST on December 1. Please communicate this requirement to your letter writers. The department will not be reminding recommenders of this deadline.

Can I submit letters of recommendation letters from employers instead of faculty?

The strongest letters of recommendation are written by people who have earned a PhD in economics and are thus familiar with the rigors of the doctoral program. The letter writer should provide their judgment of your ability to be successful in a doctoral program.  Employers who satisfy these criteria can often provide unique and valuable references.

How can I verify whether supporting documents have arrived?

You can check Wolverine Access for information on whether supporting documents have been received. Please check your Wolverine Access Friend Account under "New and Prospective Student Business" to view which items have been received for your application. Please do not email the department regarding which items sent to the Rackham Graduate School have been received. Check your Wolverine Access Friend Account or email If you need help setting up your Friend Account, Rackham has a helpful resource here.

What is the likelihood of receiving first‐year financial support?

There is no separate application process for financial aid. All applicants are reviewed simultaneously for both admission and aid. We currently have the resources to fund all students we admit through a combination of fellowships (first year) and graduate student instructor positions (subsequent years) for up to 5 years.

How much is the application fee?

Information about the application fee is available at the Rackham Graduate School Website. The Department of Economics has a procedure for applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents who may need an application Fee Waiver. If you are in this category and would like to request a fee waiver, please email

Who do I contact if I'm locked out of my U-M Friend Account?

Contact the Rackham Graduate School Office of Admissions at 734-764-8129 (option 4), or email

Do international applicants need to complete financial certification?

International students who are nominated for admission will be contacted by Rackham Graduate School to submit financial certification in order for the University of Michigan to prepare your I‐20 or DS-2019. If you have been awarded financial aid by the University, the department will verify that information with Rackham Graduate School.

If I send you a snapshot of my academic credentials can you predict whether I am admissible?

There is no one aspect of your application that either guarantees or denies admission. The committee evaluates the entire academic record. It is not possible to judge the likelihood of any one applicant being offered admission without reviewing all applications in the pool for any given year. The review process is very competitive. We receive about 700 applications a year with an entering class of roughly 20 students. Applicants do not need to have majored in economics or completed a Master's degree prior to application. Indeed, in the recent past we have admitted students with undergraduate degrees in mathematics, physics, history and other disciplines.  However, applicants must have completed at least two terms of calculus and a term of linear algebra.  We also strongly recommend coursework in statistics. Most applicants have stronger mathematical preparation than the minimum standard. Applicants should also have completed at least an intermediate‐level micro‐ and macroeconomics course.

Can I meet with faculty during the application process?

We do not offer the opportunity for applicants to meet with individual faculty prior to being offered admission. We do not recruit students to work in particular fields so strongly discourage applicants from emailing faculty requesting to work with them on current research projects.

Do you accept transfer students?

Applicants who are currently enrolled in another PhD program go through the same review process as all other new, first-year applicants. It is not possible to transfer any courses. If you are offered admission, it is possible to take equivalency exams in our first‐year mathematics and econometrics sequence.

Can you apply to more than one program simultaneously?

Students can apply to multiple programs at the University of Michigan but must submit a separate application, application fee, and complete set of supporting documents for each application.

Can you apply to both the PhD program in Economics and the Master's of Applied Economics simultaneously?

The Economics department offers two separate and distinct graduate programs. One is the doctoral program which is theoretical in nature and prepares students to become economics faculty at research‐oriented universities. The other is the Master's in Applied Economics program. This is a policy‐oriented program of study that is completed after 33 credit hours of study. Review your career goals and make a decision as to whether the Ph.D. program or the MAE program offer you the best options for meeting those goals. The MAE program does not accept applications from students who applied to the PhD program but were not offered admission. The MAE program is NOT an intermediate step towards the PhD.

Do you have a preview day?

Yes, we hold our preview day in mid March by invitation only.

Can admitted students be deferred?

Admitted students who may need to defer their admission for one year must demonstrate significant need to do so. To request a deferral, please email the The Director of Admissions will closely review deferral requests on a case by case basis.

What's the process for re‐applying?

If you are denied admission, you are welcome to re‐apply. However, you must complete a new online application and submit the application fee again. 

Can I enroll in the PhD program on a less than full‐time status?

The PhD program in economics is not available as a distance‐learning, part‐time, or evening program.

For questions regarding admissions please send an email to