Frequently Asked Questions - Graduate Programs
Graduate programs begin Fall semester only. In order to guarantee your application is reviewed for admission, the complete application (including all supplemental materials) needs to be submitted to Iowa State no later than January 31 prior to the fall semester of planned enrollment.
Please note that it may take several weeks for transcripts and test scores to be processed. Therefore, we strongly recommend you request all materials no later than December 15 in order to guarantee we have received them by the January 31 deadline. Early submission of applications is especially important for international applicants.
There is no single, sufficient condition for admission with financial aid. We look at a portfolio of items that include (not in any order): GRE scores (especially the Quantitative); transcripts; grades in math and economics courses; letters of recommendation; and the written statement of purpose. Each year, out of about 300 applicants, we offer admission with funding to approximately 35 Ph.D. applicants and 0-5 M.S. applicants.
The program's economics courses are very quantitative. Students who do well typically have a strong background in math (calculus, including multi-variate calculus, and linear algebra) and statistics, as well as intermediate microeconomic and macroeconomic theory courses. Math courses that emphasize logic and proofs (e.g. real analysis, abstract algebra, topology) are especially recommended for Ph.D. applicants.
The GRE test is required for admission to the Department of Economics. To avoid problems, applicants should take the GRE as early as possible. Information on the GRE can be obtained by visiting their website. The Institution Code for Iowa State University is R6306. The Major Field Code is 0101 for agricultural economics and 1801 for economics.
The TOEFL (or IELTS) test is required for all students whose native language is not English. The requirement will be waived if you already have a U.S. college degree. The test scores expire after two years. If the University receives the official scores before they expire, they will accept them regardless of the actual enrollment date. (For example, if a student's TOEFL score expires in May 2013 and he or she submits an application in December 2012, the university will accept the score even though it will be expired when the student starts classes in August 2013.)
A 1/2 time graduate assistantship allows out-of-state students to be assessed Iowa-resident tuition charges. Students receive health insurance coverage and a monthly stipend. In addition, Ph.D. students with 1/2 time appointment will receive a 100% tuition scholarship, completely offsetting the cost of tuition. M.S. students receive a 50% tuition scholarship. Tuition scholarships are only given to those students who have a 3.0 or higher GPA. More information can be found on the Registrar's Web site.
Each year we make funded offers of admission to about 35 Ph.D. applicants and 0-5 M.S. applicants, with the goal of enrolling 16-18 new Ph.D. students and about 5 new M.S. students (some of whom may enroll without funding).
In Fall 2012, there were 84 graduate students in Economics: 65% male, 35% female; 15 countries represented; 13 M.S. students, 71 Ph.D students. 29% of the students are from the USA, 36% of the students are from People's Republic of China, and 35% of the students are from other countries.
Both teaching and research assistantships are available although it is much more common for first-year students to be assigned to teaching assistantships.
The department occasionally offers fellowship grants or scholarships between $2000 and $5000 per year to supplement assistantship offers to the most qualified applicants.
The website you are viewing contains extensive information about the graduate program and the department's faculty and their research. We strongly encourage prospective students who are able to make a trip to Ames to visit with faculty and current graduate students. Contact the Graduate Program Coordinator, Amy Bainum Emmett, for details and to make arrangements.
The fee for international students is $90 and U.S. citizens pay a fee of $40.
All complete applications are considered for assistantships. No separate form is needed.
What led you to choose economics or agricultural economics as a field of study? How has your background prepared you for graduate study in economics? What are your career plans? For Ph.D. applicants: What are your choices of fields of specialization? Agricultural Economics, Applied Econometrics, Environmental and Resource Economics, Financial Economics, Human Resources, Industrial Organization, International Economics, Macroeconomics.
Yes, applications are considered for both programs.